Over the last few decades, commerce has been greatly dictated by the advancements of technology. As mobile devices - such as smartphones, tablets, smart speakers, and wearables - weave more into consumers’ daily lives, the actions consumers are carrying out on these devices have shifted.
In 2013, the time consumers spent interacting with retailers via a mobile device surpassed the number of consumers using desktops for the same purpose, with 55% of all time spent on online retail occurring on mobile devices. Fast-forward to 2019 and there are clear signs that this habit is growing exponentially. Further research found that the proportion of eCommerce sales coming from mobile devices had more than doubled since 2015.
These habits, however, are not just a relic of the past. As more mobile payment options - like PayPal, Apple Pay, and Amazon Pay - are presented to consumers, and the pathways to accessing mCommerce diversify, the growth rate of mobile purchases is, as a consequence, projected to reach 26.93% over the next four years.
The convenience of mobile payment paves the way for mCommerce to flourish.
This has led to brands paying closer attention to their mCommerce strategies to maximize the potential drawn from this lucrative market.
What is mCommerce and how is it beneficial?
M-commerce is the delivery of eCommerce capabilities to a mobile device. This ultimately means that consumers can shop for products and services from the palm of their hand, wherever they are, whenever they like.
There are a variety of avenues that connect consumers with brands through mCommerce. This includes:
- Mobile websites
- Native mobile apps and progressive web apps (PWAs)
- Social commerce
M-commerce presents benefits to both the consumer and businesses. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of mCommerce to see why it is a vital component to consider.
Mobility and Reachability
Mobile commerce, as the name suggests, provides consumers with on-the-go use - it gives eCommerce mobility. This is an excellent feature for consumers as it releases restrictions on their ability to shop, whilst also widening the reach brands have with customers.
As mentioned previously, reachability is increased as there are multiple ways that brands can connect with their customers on mobile devices.
Mobile websites differ from desktop sites as they are optimized for mobile use. This means that the layout and content of the site are altered for improved mobile performance. Mobile-optimized websites benefit the mobile consumer as the user experience is vastly improved, plus, they load faster than traditional websites that are accessed on mobile.
Native apps provide an additional outlet that comes with advantages that seem to trump mobile websites. Firstly, native apps perform much more efficiently than mobile websites as they are native to the platform. This means that they do not require an internet connection to load content, the content exists within the app and is stored once the app is downloaded. Therefore, the mobility of mCommerce is furthered as accessibility is improved.
Reachability is also improved through the introduction of shopping features on social media apps. Brands can now tag their products in social posts, which allow consumers to purchase products without ever leaving the social media app. Considering that there are 4.08 billion active mobile social media users worldwide, and an average of 145 minutes spent per day globally, the potential reach social commerce provides to brands is humongous.
Another great benefit of mCommerce to consumers is the variety of payment methods accessible to them.
When it comes to eCommerce, there is typically only one way to make a payment for products or services - with a credit or debit card. Whilst credit and debit card usage is high in the western world - accounting for around $6 trillion of US purchases of goods and services in 2019 - as well as being a popular payment method globally, it is also important to consider that 2 billion adults worldwide are unbanked, the majority of these people being in emerging markets. People in these markets often turn to mobile wallets or mobile payments. In Africa, for example, M-Pesa dominates the mobile payments market with 40 million users across the continent and 1 billion transactions processed every month.
Electronic wallets are also gaining popularity globally, with the value of this market reaching $1,043.1 billion in 2019. In southeast Asia, 49% of consumers use e-wallets, driven by the huge success platforms such as Alipay and WeChat. Apple Pay is another favored method of mobile payments with over 383 million users worldwide. In the US, more than 25% of Apple Pay users perform transactions daily via the platform.
M-commerce perfectly matches this shift towards alternative payment options. With mCommerce consumers can complete purchases with their mobile wallet or mobile banking in addition to credit/debit cards.
Consumers long for personalized shopping experiences, so much so that 80% of shoppers are more likely to buy from a company that provides personalized shopping experiences. Consumers are also more likely to become repeat buyers and recommend a brand after a personalized shopping experience. This demonstrates the value of providing highly personalized experiences to your customers.
M-commerce provides businesses with rich customer data, which can be used to drive the customer experience through increased personalization. Mobile eCommerce apps provide businesses with data about a user’s location, shopping history, viewed items, and social media profiles.
All of this information can be used to give the consumer a more personalized shopping experience. This could be through product recommendations, personalized promotions, and discounts, or notifications based on the user’s location. The habits and intent of consumers can be better understood through mCommerce, as the analytics track the customer from the moment of product discovery to purchase.
This increased personalization will translate into higher conversion rates and customer loyalty as personalization provides more value to the consumer.
Tips to Optimize mCommerce Performance for SMBs
Now that you can see the value of mCommerce, we are sure that you are wondering how to get the most out of your own mCommerce venture. We have compiled some practical tips for SMBs to optimize their mCommerce performance.
Optimize sites for mobile
To ensure that your site works well on mobile, you will need to make sure that the site is optimized for mobile devices.
Mobile devices, like tablets and smartphones, have much smaller screen size and lower processing capabilities. This means that a desktop site is not naturally going to perform well or look good on a mobile device, so a mobile-friendly site needs to be created.
When creating a mobile-friendly site, you should consider the following to make sure the site is fully optimized for mobile devices:
Domino’s chose to present their mobile customers with a concise number of choices to quickly direct them to the page that allows them to complete the intended action. You can also see that standard website text is incredibly difficult to read on a smartphone. Large buttons and text are instead used, which improves readability and eases navigation.
2. Navigation - considering how to best optimize mobile site navigation will go a long way in improving user experience. Again, as the screen size is smaller, the navigation menu should be responsive to this. Menu items should drop down and be collapsable to avoid consumers accidentally clicking on a menu item whilst scrolling through menu options. Since most mobile devices are touchscreen, it is useful to ensure that tappable areas are large enough to avoid incorrect actions being made, which causes major frustration. You should clearly demonstrate where links are by displaying them as buttons.
WWF condensed their desktop website menu (shown below) to display the two most valuable actions for their mobile visitors upon arrival; Donate and Adopt. Users can easily view links to other pages of their website by pressing the collapsable hamburger icon in the top-right corner.
Incorporate Social Commerce
Shoppable social media pages are a great tool in enhancing mCommerce, and it has proven to be popular among consumers. In 2020, the number of social commerce users in the US grew by over 25% and is expected to grow a further 12.9% in 2021. In addition, 43% of internet users turn to social media to research products, so it would therefore be handy to allow these users to buy the products they are searching for without ever leaving the social media app.
Apps such as Shopify Facebook Store and Beetailer – Social Commerce Platform give Shopify merchants the ability to sell their products and run promotions on social media platforms in an instant for free.
Provide multiple payment options
As discussed previously, consumers are changing how they pay for goods and services, shifting from card to mobile-based payments. To get the best out of your mCommerce store and increase the likelihood of securing a purchase, it is key to provide your customers with multiple payment options associated with mobile. Payment gateway apps, such as Stripe, give Shopify merchants the ability to accept payments from popular mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Alipay and WeChat Pay.
Build a mobile app with smart push notifications
Committed consumers enjoy mobile shopping apps. In fact, half of shopping apps installed on users’ smartphones are used at least weekly. Additionally, 63% of smartphone users are more likely to purchase from a company’s mobile app if it provides relevant recommendations, so a mobile app which presents this information through push notifications could come in handy.
Push notifications that alert customers of the restock of an item they were interested in, or new arrivals in the user’s most viewed product category, can work wonders in driving customers back into the app to make a purchase because they are personal and they are based on customer data. Personalization can be taken a step further by addressing the customer’s personal information, such as name or birthday, within the push notification.
The number one motivator for a consumer to download an app is access to discounts and offers. This means that an effective way to ensure repeat visits and frequent purchases on your mobile app is to make customers aware of promotions through push notifications.
Google findings show that almost half of all respondents downloaded a shopping app because they wanted access to deals and offers.
M-commerce is popular for both consumers and brands. It improves the accessibility of your commerce, addresses important shifts in consumer behavior, and results in an improved customer experience.
Ensuring your mobile site works optimally on mobile devices, taking advantage of the wealth of customer data mCommerce provides and incorporating strategies that are in direct response to changing shopping habits will all work towards you building the perfect mCommerce store.