Technologies never stay the same. Nowadays, the pace of technological progress moves faster and faster and what was a positive trend last year may hurt your business this year. That is why it is so important to keep up with trends and stay on top of the wave. It is the only way to successfully grow your business. Ignoring the impact of technologies and remaining faithful to old-school ways of doing business may be fatal for your company. I’m talking about investing in eCommerce while ignoring mobile commerce. Now people have smartphones, and they have the power to search for products and purchase them much faster. And they can do it ANYWHERE. As an entrepreneur, think about how amazing it is that a user can engage with your business to buy your products or order services 24/7 from anywhere around the world? This is mCommerce, baby!
Evolution of mCommerce
There was a time when the internet was only available to a tiny percentage of people. But it grew like crazy, and soon every person could easily connect to it. Now we live in an era when the Internet has become a bottomless pit of information and an integral part of our lives. You can get information about a technological breakthrough that just happened a few hours ago, watch your favorite show from your childhood, and learn about the latest trends and methodologies in your niche. All that with only a couple of clicks. This is when the digital competition among businesses started. Even though there was not much knowledge about how to create a website the right way, marketing guys still did their best to make websites easy to find, comfortable to use, and interesting to view, to make people buy from them again and again.
Everything was great about the Internet: information, multimedia, social networks. Information about products and where to get them was easy to find. But there was one big thing missing that the majority of people didn’t believe could become a reality – shopping online and getting delivery without any movements. There were guys who broke this wall. The story begins somewhere between 1994 and 1995 when Amazon and eBay came around. Yeah, we can call them the founders of eCommerce. Just think about it, you didn’t have to spend the entire weekend going from store to store anymore. You simply went to a search website, entered the name of whatever you wanted to buy and you got flooded with websites where you could buy it. This started the second stage of the digital competition – eCommerce websites. On that level, companies did their best to make shopping experience via desktop as good as it could be – convenient ways to search for products, filters, favorites, easy sign-up and purchase, bonus systems, etc. It looked like it couldn’t be topped. But the era of mobile commerce was coming.
Yes, smartphones have been around for a while, but most websites were not mobile optimized, and it was torture viewing them via smartphone, not to mention attempting to buy something. Problems were also connected to low mobile Internet coverage and speed. But only a couple of years ago, the situation changed – the number of users reached colossal levels and Internet coverage expanded, providing connection to the Internet via your smartphone from almost any place. It gave mobile commerce a push and changed the rules of the game. Companies rushed to create mobile-optimized websites and web applications to make the mobile shopping experience much better. But the winners are those who created a mobile app for business, iOS or Android, which is ten steps ahead of any website or web app.
mCommerce vs eCommerce?
There was a time when only rich people owned a computer. Then with time, a computer was in every house. The same story happened with laptops. Now we live in an era when people barely use a computer at home – noticed that? While there is a computer at work, Smart TVs and Netflix let you watch any show or movie without a laptop, and for all other needs people have smartphones and tablets. So, we came to the point where we realized that it’s much more convenient for people to search for products via smartphone on the couch than taking out a laptop or turning on the PC which probably was updated couple years ago and its speed is turtle-like compared to the smartphone.
Here comes the fatality from mobile commerce. Think about the last time when you ordered food or a taxi using your home computer? EXACTLY! Nowadays you can order pizza, Chinese, Indian or any other food in a couple of minutes, and if we are talking about a taxi, it will take you less than a minute. That’s why food delivery and taxi apps are successful – websites have no chance against them.
But what prevents mCommerce from growing faster? Not all business fields are concerned with making it comfortable to make purchases via smartphone. The mobile shopping experience on a majority of websites is a nightmare. We don’t have to tell you about this. For some reason, a significant part of the retail market doesn’t like to spend extra money, and the best they do is create a web app, which is just a few points better than a website. Well, you see awful retail ecommerce websites all the time.
- Retail payments through mobile commerce will reach $707 billion this year
- 534 million consumers will purchase something on mobile this year
- Expected mobile sales will reach $626 billion in 2018
- 28% of users bought a product on a phone after seeing it in store
- 67% of users said that mobile app experience made them buy the product
- 53% of smartphone and tablet owners will shop on company-specific apps downloaded from an app store
- 95% of mobile internet users look up local information on their phones for the purpose of calling or visiting a business.
- Over two billion mobile phone or tablet users engaged in some form of mobile commerce globally by the end of 2017. This number will grow this year
- 71% of mobile sales in the United States happen through an app.
*Statistics by Statista
Mobile Commerce Industry Advantages and Disadvantages
To be honest, mobile commerce advantages are pretty close to those of eCommerce, with a difference in users having access to the Internet almost everywhere. We will go ahead and say that there are nearly no disadvantages but let’s take a look. Advantages first of course.
Mobile commerce advantages
- Time is money. Now there’s no need for customers to go to a physical store to make a choice and purchase the item they need. It allows customers to save time and money. It is similar to the eCommerce advantage with one little difference: they can do it ON THE GO!
- Mobile payments. Your customers can pay for their purchases right there in the app with “in-app payments.” It means that payments are hosted by the platform and don’t require third-party services. Another good thing is the existence of mobile wallet where customers can register a pre-paid account from where money can be debited with each purchase.
- Accessibility. Users are not obligated to carry a modem around with them to have an internet connection. A network signal is enough for a user to run the app and perform transactions. Conclusion: it’s a huge range where you can reach the customer.
- Instant contact. This one is great for retailers if done and controlled properly. Nowadays, it’s beyond easy for customers to reach businesses and solve problems concerning purchases: calling with one click, live chats inside the app, 24-hour billing & sales, etc.
- Customization. Your business’ mobile app can give priceless data about every user’s action. With this information, you can offer your customers amazing experiences by actively suggesting products according to their needs. It is a win-win for both sides.
- User experience. Mobile apps are so much more comfortable to use on a smartphone than a website, even an optimized one. Better user experience means better mobile user engagement which leads to bigger loyalty.
Mobile commerce disadvantages
- A sense of security. Nowadays people have less trust in the security of entering payment information on a smartphone, compared to desktop or a laptop
- Smartphones’ small screen size. This leads to the problems with viewing products and reading information, especially if the website is not mobile optimized. But most web apps are also inconvenient to use if the retail company has a wide range of products. But this problem goes away with a properly made mobile app.
- Inconvenient to make big purchases. Often when you have to compare many options or do research before buying a car, house, boat. In these situations, a desktop is more convenient to use.
Impact of mCommerce on Business
Is the impact of mobile commerce on business big? No… It’s tremendous! Maybe ten years ago you could create a decent website, do some SEO, and wait for the customers to come. And they did come. Lots of them! The competition was nothing compared to today’s situation. Now, every entrepreneur has to work hard 24/7 just to keep the level of customers consistent. To keep the business growth they have to implement trending technologies in their business, such as creating a mobile app for business. There are tens and hundreds of competitors that can provide a similar product with similar quality.
We are not saying you have to throw all your budget on hiring mobile app development company and creating a mobile app for business and supporting it. Websites, especially mobile optimized, are still a strong tool to implement marketing strategy, playing a huge role in business. We want to explain why. Even though mobile devices are very comfortable to use, when it comes to surfing many websites in search for the product that meets all your need, comparing the characteristics and reviews of items on laptop or PC is more convenient. Desktops are also very convenient if you are planning to buy something big like household appliances, tools, a car, etc. We can’t argue with that. But for smaller goods, apps for business and services like food delivery, mobile commerce wins big!
Now, every little thing directly influences the number of customers and the chance of them coming back for more purchases. But if you create a mobile app for your business, you will take huge steps ahead of competitors. Because it takes the shopping experience to another level, Moreover, it is a great alternative to shopping on a website. New technologies in mobile app development arise very often and make mCommerce more and more amazing both for businesses and users. So, take out your budget and add a line with mobile app development expenses.
mCommerce Trends in 2018
Presence of high-quality customer support that can answer all questions and help customers is an important thing for your business. It lets you stay connected with clients and gain their trust which leads to more purchases. We are all human, you can’t provide 24/7 instant support since it can drown your business because it’s a huge investment. This is where chatbots come to the spotlight! Aside from providing 24/7 customer support, chatbots create an opportunity to learn the behavior of customers and bring them an amazing personalized shopping experience. With the current level of AI technology, chatbots can go as far as predicting what users can buy next or what can they ask for next. This is a whole new level of personalization!
Even though Augmented Reality technology was in its infancy in 2016-2017, it shows the potential for a breakthrough in 2018. Yes, the number of brands using AR in the previous year was very limited, but it still made many users of Mobile Commerce apps turn towards AR technology with delight. Here are some stats:
- 40% of people reported that they would purchase the product if they could have an AR experience with it first
- 61% of people would rather choose to buy from a company that has the AR technology implemented in their app
- 71% of people reported a greater sense of loyalty to mobile commerce apps with AR features
Single Click Payments
Do you know one of the factors of Amazon’s rapid growth? Negating the need to fill in the infinite forms with personal details before every purchase. A fantastic number of people abandon baskets because of this. Single Click Payment saves precious time and nerves for the customers. Besides, the fewer barriers between you and your potentials clients, the more orders you can expect. Single Click Payment has been a trend for a few years, and in 2018 it’s become even more prevalent.
We can’t talk about mCommerce trends without mentioning Beacons. An amazing number of Beacons are expected to be installed in 2018 – over $3,5 billion worth. More and more retailers are thinking about implementing beacons in their work. The predicted investment is more than $2,5 billion. Why have they become so popular? With proper use, Beacons provide a path to gather data about the buying behavior of mCommerce app users.
Mobile image recognition
Here comes the revolution – phone cameras are not only for selfies anymore! This technology is pretty young but you should keep it in mind for 2018. Mobile image recognition technology is definitely part of the future – it will give you an opportunity to take a photo of the object and be taken directly to the website where you can buy it.
Why it is important to create a mobile app for your business
You see hundreds of people every day, did you notice how many of them have a smartphone in their hand? THE MAJORITY! If you don’t have a mobile app or at least mobile-optimized website, you lose at least half of your potential consumers. You can go on with your mobile optimized website or even a web app, but the moment your competitors release a mobile application, even the most loyal customers can turn their backs on you. Then you will be six months or so behind your competitors. It’s time to think about what features your mobile commerce app will have, develop the design, find an app development company, explain your idea to the group, and then beings the app development process… Can you imagine the loss you can suffer if you wait? Much higher MVP development expenses for your business.
As a smart entrepreneur, you must realize that it is very important to be the first in using all new technologies in order to grow your business. The existence of a mobile app for your business is the biggest current trend, and there’s no more time to delay its creation. Everything you could want to learn about creating a successful app, you can read in articles on our blog.
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