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Unlocking Growth: The Power of Mobile Commerce for Online Businesses

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By Miva | June 5, 2024

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According to Statista, in the first quarter of 2024, smartphones accounted for over three-quarters of retail site visits in the United States and generated roughly two-thirds of online shopping orders. People are turning to their phones to find new products, research information, and ultimately buy products.

Equally as important is the news that Google is cracking down on websites that aren't mobile-friendly. Many of you know this, as Google launched its mobile-first indexing initiative a few years ago. According to Search Engine Land, Google won't index—or rank—sites that don't work on mobile devices by July 2024.

As an online seller, what does this surge in mobile shopping and search mean for you? The best time to have a mobile commerce strategy was yesterday, but the second best time is now. To capture the attention of shoppers in the current commercial landscape, your brand needs to be able to meet your customers where they are.

In this article, we discuss what mobile commerce is, what it provides for the customer experience, and how you can leverage it for your business. 

What is Mobile Commerce?

Mobile commerce (also known as m commerce or m-commerce) is the use of any mobile device to conduct commercial transactions via the Internet. In other words, mobile commerce is any transaction completed on a mobile device—paying bills, transferring money, signing up for a subscription, and the purchase and sale of goods and services.

What’s the difference between ecommerce and m commerce?

To fully explain m commerce, we need to look at ecommerce as a whole. A subset of ecommerce, mobile commerce makes it even easier for online shoppers to buy things online at their convenience and for businesses to reach new shoppers to sell to customers no matter which device they’re on. 

Types of Mobile Commerce 

 The different types of mobile commerce transactions include:

  1. Mobile banking: Mobile banking apps make it easy for consumers to conduct financial transactions like depositing a check or transferring money.
  2. Mobile payments: This includes online payments for utilities, phone bills, and even paying for dinner at a restaurant.
  3. Mobile shopping: Mobile shopping has now become the standard in ecommerce across many industries. Customers can purchase clothing, health and beauty items, books, groceries, music, art, gifts, and even travel.
a mobile website on a smartphone

Mobile Commerce Growth

eMarketer predicts that mobile commerce sales in the US will reach $558.29 billion by 2024. Further, m commerce is estimated to make up 44.6% of total US retail ecommerce sales in 2024. As more shoppers use their phones to buy online, the complex customer becomes more multifaceted and shaped by multiple channels and devices. To stay competitive in the current commercial landscape, your business needs to capitalize on this growth. 

Do You Need a Mobile Commerce Strategy?

A solid mobile commerce strategy is key to thriving in modern ecommerce. Today’s shoppers seek convenience. As a business owner, you want your products to be available to your customers anytime, anywhere. A mobile commerce strategy can help you engage with shoppers on a touchpoint that is easy and accessible for them, putting you in a better position to attract your ideal customers, make their lives easier, and encourage customer loyalty. 

What Are the Benefits of M Commerce?

M commerce benefits both consumers and online businesses. Shoppers can purchase just about anything from their mobile devices, while online businesses have greater reach and visibility when selling their merchandise online.  

Advantages of mobile commerce for consumers

Mobile commerce provides flexibility, comfort, and spontaneity. Shoppers can order groceries online, pay utility bills, and shop for new sneakers—all on their mobile devices. Many shoppers carry their phones wherever they go, making on-the-go shopping and browsing even easier than before. M commerce offers consumers the convenience of being able to purchase what they need when they need it. 

Advantages of mobile commerce for online sellers

M commerce provides another channel for online sellers to engage their customers and drive sales for their business. Mobile commerce is convenient, adaptable, and accessible, providing opportunities to create an even better customer experience.

Here are some additional advantages of m commerce:

  • Rapid purchase process. Consumers don’t have to stand in line at a store to pay for an item or wait until they can access a computer. They can browse for items they are interested in and make purchases using their mobile device. A strong mobile experience can help increase conversions on your site.
  • Enhanced customer experience. As a business owner, you want your customers to have the best shopping experience. If your mobile commerce app or mobile-ready store is designed to attract your target customers and provide them with a unique online shopping experience, they will return again and again.
  • Direct communication. With m commerce, you can take advantage of mobile features like targeted push notifications to reactivate your customers and bring them back for re-engagement.
  • Personalized shopping. If you have a mobile app or website, you can obtain important customer data. You can see your customers’ buying patterns, shopping history, behavior, and demographics. This information can help you create a personal shopping experience for each customer, provide relevant offers and recommendations that increase their customer lifetime value.
  • Bridge between online and offline shopping. The growth of click and collect services like buy online, pick up in store is making mobile shopping even more seamless for shoppers. Shoppers are browsing products on their phones before, during, and after visiting a physical store. Mobile commerce opens up additional opportunities for sales.  
  • Omnichannel commerce. Omnichannel is all about meeting your customers where they are and making it easier for them to buy. With mobile devices, you can further enhance your omnichannel strategy since customers have their phones on them at all times. 
  • Diverse payment methods. To simplify the buying process, you can take advantage of mobile payment technology and mobile wallets to move shoppers quicker through checkout.
Mobile-App-vs-Website_header

What Are the Challenges of M Commerce? 

Although mobile commerce has a lot to offer, there are some challenges for your business to consider. Here is how to overcome some of these:

  • Wide variety of screens: Depending on the user’s phone, your mobile experience can vary widely between devices.
  • Solution: Implement a responsive website design that automatically adjusts layout and content to fit the screen size and resolution of any device (phone, tablet, etc.). This ensures a seamless user experience across all devices. Pro Tip: Test your mobile website on popular phone and tablet models to identify and fix any display issues. Utilize browser developer tools to simulate different screen sizes and resolutions during testing.
  • Payment troubles: If a shopper cannot make a payment on their mobile device, they are less likely to return to your business.
  • Solution: Integrate a variety of popular payment gateways, such as credit cards, debit cards, digital wallets (Apple Pay, Google Pay), and BNPL (Buy Now, Pay Later) options like Klarna or Afterpay. This will cater to different customer preferences and minimize friction during checkout.
  • Price comparison: A simplified mobile shopping experience makes it easier for customers to quickly compare prices across different stores on their phones, potentially leading them to your competitors.
  • Solution: Design a mobile-friendly website with a clear and intuitive navigation structure. This allows users to find products quickly and avoid the temptation to visit competitor sites for price comparisons. Be sure to clearly communicate your brand's value proposition and USPs. Showcase what makes your products or services stand out from competitors, encouraging customers to choose YOU.
  • Security and privacy: Customers care about their privacy online, and many may be hesitant to shop on their phones for this reason.
  • Solution: Make sure your ecommerce platform provides top-notch security and data encryption to protect both consumer data and your reputation. Pro Tip: Clearly display security badges and certifications to build trust with mobile shoppers.
  • Constant maintenance and development: Since mobile devices are constantly updated, you need to properly maintain and optimize any mobile apps your store has alongside these phone updates. 
  • Solution: Responsive Website vs. Mobile App: Carefully consider your needs and resources before choosing between a mobile app and a responsive website.
  • Mobile App: If your business requires frequent updates, complex functionalities, or push notifications, a mobile app might be necessary. However, maintaining an app requires ongoing development and resources.
  • Responsive Website: A responsive website can be a more cost-effective option for many businesses. It automatically adapts to different devices and requires less ongoing maintenance compared to an app. Depending on your needs, a mobile-responsive website might be the better solution for your business.

Mobile Commerce Trends

The definition of mobile commerce is expanding. And, as shoppers continue to use features that are unique to mobile devices, mobile commerce will become faster, more seamless, and more focused on delivering a customer-centric experience. Developers and ecommerce solutions will implement new technology to entice mobile shoppers throughout the whole buyer journey.

Here are some mobile commerce opportunities and trends to watch for:

  • Social commerce: With shoppable posts on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, social commerce allows the end-to-end shopping experience to happen in one spot. Shoppers can find products, read reviews, and check out on social media apps on their phones.
  • Voice shopping: Voice commerce is set to grow by a whopping $55.68 billion from 2021 to 2026. With voice ecommerce sales growing exponentially, businesses will incorporate chat apps and AI technology to make it easier to engage with shoppers.
  • Mobile chatbots: Chatbots will make it even easier for shoppers to access 24/7 customer service from their phones.
  • Mobile payments and wearable payments: Digital wallets are becoming a preferred payment option for consumers. We will continue to see mobile payment options extended to other wearable devices like smartwatches, health sensors, and fitness trackers.
  • Augmented Reality (AR) Shopping: When we talk bricks to clicks, AR is changing the game for how consumers research and shop for products. Brands can integrate AR technology to allow customers to visualize products in their own environment.
  • Omnichannel shopping: Today’s shoppers obtain information from a wide variety of sources (like a mobile website, within an app, an online store, and a physical store) and move between different channels. Merchants will need to engage with their customers and provide a smooth and personalized experience no matter which device they’re on.

When considering mobile commerce applications of these trends, remember to keep a pulse on your customers. Where are they spending their time? How do they experience your m commerce website? Are there mobile commerce examples you can follow and apply? Let real market research on your customer base guide your mobile optimization and marketing strategies!

Social commerce infographic

How Online Sellers Can Harness Mobile Commerce

What comes next? As you continue to scale and differentiate your online business, you need to have a mobile strategy that aligns with both your business and your customers.

Every shopper who owns a mobile device is a potential customer. By providing what shoppers need to explore your brand and purchase your products, you'll be able to turn them into loyal customers. A mobile strategy enables you to deliver that speed and convenience that reaches customers where they are and helps them complete their journey in the shortest time possible. 

To enhance your online store for mobile customers, consider having a mobile-ready website, a mobile app, push notifications, SMS marketing, mobile-friendly content, and customer engagement strategies. To learn more, download our guide to enhancing your online store for mobile shoppers.

Get Guide: 5 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Online Store for Mobile Shoppers

This article was updated on June 5, 2024, to keep up with ongoing SEO, technology, and marketing trends.

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Author's Bio

Miva

Miva offers a flexible and adaptable ecommerce platform that evolves with businesses and allows them to drive sales, maximize average order value, cut overhead costs, and increase revenue. Miva has been helping businesses realize their ecommerce potential for over 20 years and empowering retail, wholesale, and direct-to-consumer sellers across all industries to transform their business through ecommerce.