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M-commerce isn’t the next big thing. It is a phenomenon that’s already happening. Startups and business owners should understand what m-commerce is and the implications of not hopping on the bus.
In 2019, m-commerce made up 67.2% of e-commerce sales globally, which amounts to $2.32 trillion. The figure is expected to hit $3.56 trillion in 2021 or 72.9% of total e-commerce transactions.
Business owners would want to pivot on the unstoppable growth of m-commerce or risk being swallowed by obsolescence. Big brands have found themselves out-rivaled by newer companies as they failed to respond to a major shift in retail trends.
This article serves as an introduction to m-commerce and how business owners could fuel their growth with it.
What is M-commerce
The term m-commerce is a popular term of mobile commerce and sometimes referred to as mcommerce. Mobile commerce indicates commercial transactions that are performed over a mobile device.
M-commerce isn’t exactly a new technology or trend. Instead, it is an extension of e-commerce that has been around for more than a decade. Mobile commerce reflects the natural progression of technology as users are spending more of their time on mobile devices instead of computers.
Types of mobile commerce
Generally, mobile commerce is classified into these categories:
1. Mobile Shopping
Mobile shopping is about enabling shopping experiences on mobile devices. Whether it’s shopping from one of the many Shopify stores or subscribing to Netflix on mobile, that’s m-commerce in action.
2. Mobile Banking
Gone are the days where the public needed to queue up at banks or ATMs to make financial transactions. Top banks offer mobile phone banking worldwide, where users can pay bills, transfer money, and other transactions with a few clicks.
3. Mobile Payments and Digital Wallets
QR code, NFC, and evolving mobile security have made it possible for users to replace physical cash with mobile payments. Google Pay and Apple Pay lead the charge of digital wallets in Western countries, while apps like AliPay and WeChat dominate mobile payments in China.
Why M-commerce is growing so fast
The growth of mobile commerce is directly connected to how users are accessing the internet. As smartphones become accessible and high-speed internet is no longer a premium infrastructure in many countries, users have ditched PCs in favor of the smaller gadgets for internet browsing.
Naturally, brands need to be where the users are, and it means embracing mobile commerce on top of the existing e-commerce platforms. Retailers started launching shopping apps and furnishing it with easy-to-browse catalogues and hassle-free checkout process.
The fact that consumers are inseparable with their mobile phones doesn’t go unnoticed to bankers and payment providers. Banks started introducing banking apps that allow transactions to be made on the mobile screen.
The emergence of mobile commerce also changes how brick-and-mortar business operates, particularly in adopting cashless payment. Technological giants rushed to the fore with their versions of digital-payments.
In the US, Amazon Pay and Paypal seem to be the favorite, with Apple Pay jumping into the fray in 2014. Still, digital payment is not widely-adopted as in regions like Europe or Asia.
In Europe, the top contenders are Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay, which compete with providers that are dominant in their respective countries.
The growth of mobile payment in China has been mercurial, with popular payment providers like AliPay, WeChat, LinePAY, and a few other players dominating the scene.
Mobile commerce 2020 stats (2019-2020, over time)
It’s important to note that mobile commerce isn’t a fad. Past statistics and predictive projections paint a good picture of how mobile commerce will continue to grow.
According to Business Insiders, mobile commerce’s growth shows no signs of stopping in the US, with mobile transactions hitting an estimated $284 billion or45% of e-commerce at the end of 2020.
Adobe, which is known for its PDF and creative apps, reported a 31% increase of Black Friday Sales in 2019 that are generated through mobile devices.
Expect the mobile payment market to hit $4,574 billion by 2023, which is a 33.8% GAGR growth compared to 2017. The figure indicates that the mobile payment market is at its maturity state and an uptick in smartphone usage.
With all eyes on smartphones, it isn’t surprising that global mobile digital ads spending is poised to hit $240 billion by 2022.
The likelihood of individuals making purchases on their smartphones is also huge. According to OuterBox, 79% of smartphone users purchased something on mobile in the past 6 months.
Benefits and restrictions of M-commerce
Like any technology, mobile commerce has its pros and cons.
1. Wide audience
By 2021, 3.9 billion individuals around the world are expected to have a smartphone. The sheer number of mobile phone users should motivate businesses to embrace m-commerce and start making their products/services available on apps or mobile-optimized web stores.
2. Enhanced user experience
User experience is a crucial factor that leads to conversion on mobile. Thankfully, various technologies exist to enhance user experience on the mobile device.
Ikea’s augmented-reality powered shopping app is a textbook example of making the best of the mobile platform. It allows users to check how the furniture will look by superimposing them on the actual living space.
3. Customer support availability
With the aid of chatbot and messenger apps, business owners can be assured that their customers have access to support within or outside business hours. Customer support bots have grown in intelligence and intuitiveness, making the bots efficient in dealing with common queries.
4. Variety of payment methods
Customers are spoilt with options when it comes to payment methods on m-commerce. Whether it’s the conventional credit card, Paypal, Skrill, or cryptocurrency, they can be integrated into the mobile store.
Building an m-commerce app requires a considerable investment. It involves the fundamentals of the app, security modules, database, store designs, payment gateway, and other functions, which can be quite costly.
2. Geo-locational preference of payment gateways
It will be overwhelming to provide payment gateways that are popular in every country around the world. This will limit the target audience when the app launches and expanding to different regions isn’t easy.
Tech stack and costs for M-commerce
Here’s a cost breakdown for building a typical m-commerce online shop with common features.
M-commerce apps may differ in complexity, and here’s a general comparison.
There are two ways to go about building an m-commerce store:
1. Using e-commerce builders
The easiest way to set up an m-commerce store is to use builders like Shopify and Woocommerce. These platforms allow business owners to build online stores from scratch with the available tools, themes, and plug-ins.
It’s a DIY approach that’s less costly but lacks the sophistication of a custom app. The features of the store are limited to what’s possible with the builders. Generally, it’ll take 1-2 months to create a mobile commerce store with this approach.
2. Build a fully custom applications
Custom applications allow flexibility in design and functionalities. The development makes use of a wider range of languages and technologies such as Ruby and Node.JS. Custom mobile commerce apps can be developed as a native app for iOS or Android, or both by using the ReactNative.
Building a custom mobile commerce app is more expensive and takes 2-5 months for an MVP to be ready.
Uptech’s experience in M-commerce
Our team is equipped with relevant skills and experience in building m-commerce apps. Some of our best works are Aspiration and Dollar Shave Club.
We’re honored to work with Aspiration, a unicorn online financial firm offering retail banking and investment services to the public. Aspiration offers a financial product app that allows users to deposit, manage, and transact their savings digitally.
It features an Aspiration Impact Measurement score that allows users to check out how they are positively influencing the community when they’re spending with the app. Aspiration has secured $200 million over 6 rounds of funding.
Find out more about Aspiration here.
Businesses could no longer afford the shift towards m-commerce, not with more than half the world populations owning a mobile phone. The pros of embracing mobile commerce far outweighs the disadvantages. As for the cost of building an m-commerce store, the cost varies according to features, customization, and complexities.
Talk to our team to learn more of setting up a mobile commerce store for your business.