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What is Mobile Commerce (mCommerce) [Explained]

Ian Blair

Mobile commerce is now emerging, from big brands to startups. In fact, almost everyone around the globe is embracing it.

The reason is simple:

It allows potential customers to search for products, compare prices, and make payments effortlessly. The truth is: the more you make valuable information your target customers need to make buying decisions, the more they move faster towards making a purchase.

A recent study has shown that mobile devices account for about 19% of all US retail ecommerce sales and it’s predicted to increase to about 27% in 2018.

However, while mobile commerce can help you increase sales, it can also serve as a customer retention strategy and will, of course, increase your customer’s lifetime value and profitability.

According to a research by Bain & Company, along with Earl Sasser of the Harvard Business School, a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 95% increase in profitability.

That’s what mobile devices can help you do—get your business closer to your target customers.

However, improving your customers’ experiences on mobile devices is something you most likely want to spend more time doing as it’s an important metric every business owner must watch—as poor mobile experience can harm your overall bottom line.

Because of the rapidly increasing usage of mobile devices for online activities, it’s become an essential tool for marketing your business.

In the rest of this article, you’ll learn more about mobile commerce—important key performance indicators, the benefits of mCommerce, how to integrate it into your existing marketing strategy, and an overview of the tools that can help you seamlessly make it happen.

But first, let’s begin with the basics.

 

What is mCommerce?

According to Investopedia, “It is the use of wireless handheld devices such as cellular phones and tablets to conduct commercial transactions online.”

People are increasingly doing this because it makes life easy, you don’t need to carry laptops everywhere you go. You can pay for just about anything on-the-go.

With mCommerce customers can pay you from anywhere with their smartphones or even by sending messages to some short-codes. Amazing stuff.

 

mCommerce Statistics And Trends

mCommerce is a big part of the current day marketing for both B2B and B2C businesses. It doesn’t matter whether you sell physical products or digital courses, it’d work for you.

In fact, mCommerce is now balanced enough to take over the shopping mainstream. And one of the reasons is the ease and convenience associated with the use of mobile phones.

According to comScore, customers spend more on mCommerce when compared to the time they spend on E-commerce and Total Discretionary Retail, combined.

With that out of the way, let’s consider a few mCommerce statistics and trends that’ll interest you:

 

i) The introduction of Mobile Image Recognition (MIR) technology has made the purchasing of products with mobile devices more easier and fun. The existence of this technology has closed the gap between the virtual and the real world, all in a snap.

This technology is like the common storefront shopping in the real world. To use it, take a shot of the product with your mobile phone while on-the-go, either on the street, at an event, or anywhere you find yourself.

The MIR-driven app captures the image and generates a list of retailers that has the product with their prices. This enables you to compare prices, read reviews, and make payment all in one touch.

 

ii) Robust mobile applications. There’s been an increase in mobile apps with improved certainty which most retailers are now integrating into their business, to enhance mobile shopper’s interaction and better experience with their products and services.

In fact, some marketers like Lenskart and Ink Hunter have already started using it. This technology allows consumers to try their products on their mobile screens, compare and even take pictures before purchasing them. How cool?

Buying experience has never been this fun, and 2017 is likely to witness a great increase in interactive apps.

 

iii) It has also given rise to the immense increase in customer experience in marketing as a whole. It’s now clearer that mCommerce is the feature of good customer experience.

With the availability of in-store app, delivering more personalized services to the customer is just a click away. And this will definitely enhance customer’s experience to a greater level.

With mCommerce, customers are just a block away from your store with their mobile phones. Since customers can locate stores with an in-store map or marketer locator guides on their devices, shopping is now a lot quicker, fun, and easier.

 

iv) Peer-to-Peer sharing. Truly, mCommerce is really making a great impact on business with the introduction of Near Field Communication (NFC-enabled payment) technology that allows easy peer-to-peer sharing of files, and transfer of mobile payments.

You can achieve this by simply waving an already synchronized mobile phone with bank cards on the payment terminal, to checkout without delay.

Even online shoppers can make use of it, by tapping their NFC-enabled bank card when directed to the checkout page. This, in short, makes payment faster, easy and rewarding.

 

v) mCommerce is likely to become a major channel for shopping, and will greatly influence consumer shopping habits. Though, most marketers have reported that screen size is a limiting factor to it.

That is, consumers prefer to view products on the laptop due to its large resolution.

But a recent study revealed that there’s been an increase in the purchase made on tablets which will amount to 62% of total mCommerce sales this year.

It’s also predicted that smartphones will dominate mCommerce, accounting for 52% of its transaction.

This is as a result of the recent improvement of mobile phone screens by manufacturers. And the fact that mobile phones allow its users to make their purchase on-the-go.

 

vi) Though the mobile shopping experience isn’t yet awesome as expected, but it still has a promising feature. Most retailers have started to upgrade their mode of transaction to improve their mCommerce experience.

Even a recent report by Internet Advertising Bureau shows that 64% of the top UK retailers have created a transactional mobile site, while 32% has a transactional app.

Good stuff. With this, mCommerce is becoming more in trendy than eCommerce.

 

vii) Market penetration. Another case study report by emarketer also showed that US mobile sales saw a major breakthrough in 2016 which exceeded more than the double figure in 2014.

This is as a result of the great number of mobile phone penetration globally.

And with other features which include superior user experience available on the larger mobile screens, faster mobile search, and better context-based discovery, mCommerce is set to redefine how we buy and sell products in this digital age.

 

Mobile Commerce KPIs

Well, you’ve finally embraced mCommerce and like other retailers, you want to boost your customer engagement and generate income.

You’re solely focused on the number of visitors you get, but is it really enough to give you insight about your users and what keeps them engaged?

No, I guess.

As a retailer, you need to track metrics that will not only boost your customer acquisition but also your customer engagement and outcome.

Though the industry is filled up with lots of KPIs, but don’t get yourself overwhelmed with them. In fact, here are the most relevant mCommerce KPIs that are worth spending time on:

1) Mobile Add to Cart rate: This is an important metric you wouldn’t want to ignore. By monitoring your mATCR (mobile add to cart rate), you get to know if your customers are actually taking action.

For instance, if you notice that a certain group of customers from a particular geographical area tends to abandon your cart, then you need to check your add to cart process.

And sometimes, this can be as a result of difficulties in adding some products to the cart.

2) Average order value: This is an actionable and realistic metric you should take seriously. If you can track your average order value over a period of time, and compare the results with your conversion rate, then your sales volume won’t be a problem.

3) Tracking Total Mobile Traffic: There’s no way you can improve your mCommerce without knowing the actual number of mobile traffic that hits your site.

The aim is to help you make marketing decisions, since there’s been an increase in mCommerce traffic globally—therefore, monitoring yours is important.

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4) Mobile Cart Conversion Rate: Tracking your mCCR will most likely help you boost your marketing ROI. If you eventually discover poor mCCR, then you need to review your checkout process.

If the process is too long, then reducing it to save customers time will definitely increase your conversion rate.

5) SMS subscription reporting: Don’t ignore your SMS subscribers, because they’re most likely to purchase your product. So, it’s important to check and grow your SMS database since most of your visitors will likely opt-in to receive a special mobile alert.

6) Average page load time: This is a very important KPI you can’t ignore. Your mobile conversion rate depends greatly on your average page load time.

The slower your page’s load time, the greater number of churn you’re likely to experience.

 

Benefits of Mobile Commerce

The benefits of mobile commerce can’t be overemphasized. In fact, here are some benefits of mCommerce that will surprise you:

1) Seamless communication: Do you know that Mobile commerce allows for easy, cheap, and fast immediate communication?

Yes, it does, because it offers a wider reach than the internet.

2) Improved sales process: With mobile options, customers have a greater role in deciding how and when to interact—and that will help you sell without being salesy.

3) Automation: mCommerce helps to improve operational efficacy by automating your point of customer contact, sales, distribution, and service, which makes your marketing quick and successful.

 

How To Integrate Mobile Commerce Into Your Existing Markeitng Strategy

Now, the use of mobile is becoming vast among consumers and marketers. For this reason, most consumers expect to do business with a mobile-friendly brand.

Thus, integrating mCommerce into your existing marketing strategy will most likely improve your marketing results. To achieve this, below are some things you need to put in place:

a) Mobile Optimized Websites: This is the first and most important aspect of mCommerce which will allows your potential customers to find you online from their mobile devices. According to a study by Google, 74% of website users are more likely to return to a site if it’s mobile friendly.

74%? That’s really a significant figure. It’s important to optimize your website for mobile users—don’t ignore it.

b) SMS Marketing: The integration of SMS marketing will help you to reach out to your customers instantly with short messaging services, either as a personalized or bulk message. Though personalized messages convert better.

c) Mobile Digital Wallet Marketing: Integrating this will give your existing customers a good reason to continue doing business with you. And with such, they’re enticed and satisfied since they don’t have to queue up to make payments.

 

Mobile Commerce Tools

There are many tools for integrating mobile commerce into your marketing campaigns, however, below are my top 5:

i) Bango: This allows consumers to pay for purchased products from online stores like Amazon.

It also delivers Direct Carrier Billing, wallets and mobile money solutions.

ii) In2pay: This tool uses a microSD card which enables users to wave their phones over a Visa payWave terminal to purchase items from a retailer’s shop, transit stations, and other locations.

This tool can be really helpful as it seems to be one of the easiest means of payment—even though it’s proximity-based.

iii) mFoundry: It allows your customers to use a mobile phone as cash and credit card.

It’s a recently launched app by Starbucks at their target stores where customers can use their Starbucks cards directly from their iPhones with a bar code.

Starbucks made use of mFoundry to build this system that offers mobile wallet solutions and loyalty program tracking.

iv) iBeacons: iBeacons is a new technology that uses the BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) to detect users around a specific area and send them packets of information based on their interest.

It allows customers to get information about products and pay for them seamlessly. With this tool, your customers can have a happy shopping experience and can help you get the data you need to make smart decisions to move your business forward.

 

Conclusion

Everyone is going mobile, your business should. Meet your customers where they are. Don’t wait for them to come. It’s not their job.

With more than half of the world’s population already using mobile phones, it’s a clear indication that developing, adopting and creating a mobile commerce strategy is the way to go. Don’t be left behind.

Ian Blair

BuildFire Co-Founder. I'm a digital marketer by trade and an entrepreneur at heart. I'm here to help businesses go mobile and build apps more efficiently than before.

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