What Is The Difference Between E-Commerce And Mobile Commerce?



Both retailers and consumers are familiar with the term e-commerce but are intrigued when the word m-commerce is emerging in the industry. While both e-commerce and m-commerce revolve around online purchasing, there are considerable differences between the two models.


Businesses, particularly those in the B2C sector, have been trying to make their presence felt online. With 4.54 billion, or 59% of the global population on the internet, it’s not affordable to be left behind. Online retailers like Amazon have flourished, thanks to the convenience of ordering products from a digital shopping cart. 


With the maturing of smartphones and high-speed mobile connectivity, consumers are experiencing yet another shift in online shopping. The changes in the digital retail landscape are led by the introduction of apps that allow online shopping on-the-go. This phenomenon leads to building more apps.


How does m-commerce compare to e-commerce? Continue reading to find out if you ought to be m-commerce ready. 







What Is E-Commerce? 


E-commerce or electronic commerce refers to the process of buying and selling on the internet. The birth of e-commerce is believed to occur in 1994, with the first purchase made over the internet in Philadelphia. Generally, e-commerce points to online buying activities that happen over a computer or laptop. 


While names like Amazon pops up when e-commerce is mentioned, the commodities sold online are not limited to physical products. E-commerce also applies to digital products, memberships, or services that are transacted over the internet. In recent years, online shopping on computers has been declining as users are switching over to mobile phones. 


What Is M-Commerce?  


M-commerce refers to online transactions that happen over a mobile device. The advancement of mobile connectivity, security, and apps development has spurred retailers to offer their services and products over the smartphone. The m-commerce trend is also spurred by the increasing population that own smartphones.


Online spending driven by m-commerce in the US has been increasing steadily for the past few years. In 2022, the total revenue driven by transaction over the mobile is expected to hit $423.24 million. The positive trend will see more retailers jostling for a space in the consumer’s mobile phones. 


Top Differences Between M-Commerce And E-Commerce


If you’re running an online business, you ought to know how m-commerce differs from e-commerce. Understanding the differences help you stay in the game and have better access to your target demographics. You don’t want to stay status quo in a market that is declining as technology shifts. 


1. Mobility

E-commerce is performed over computers and laptops with internet connections. Such technologies were relatively famous, but with users turning to mobile phones, computers become severely lacking in mobility.


It is tedious to flip open your laptop just to order a pair of sneakers online. However, shoppers can easily whip up their mobile phone and start browsing for the right products on an m-commerce app. 


The difference between the ability to make purchases easily on the spot or by logging into an e-commerce website is quite huge for most consumers in terms of ease of use . Impulsive shoppers are also better targeted by means of instant access to the shopping cart. 


With the introduction of mobile payment wallets like Apple Pay and Android Pay, mobile users are driven to make instantaneous transactions on the spot. 



2. Push Notification

Another obvious advantage m-commerce has over e-commerce is the use of push notification on mobile phones. Compared to blasting promotional letters to the email list, push notifications are perceived to be less intrusive. 

From a retailer point of view, push notifications are deemed to be more effective. Promotion emails risk being delivered to the spam folder or ignored by users. Push notification, on the other hand, is delivered instantly to the user’s mobile.


Today, push notifications can also include beautifully-rendered images of the products, which leads the users to the m-commerce app with a single touch. With an average opt-in rate of 67.5%, the chances of getting the attention of users with push notification are high.  


3. Location Tracking

The only metric used to track e-commerce shoppers on computers is the IP address. The IP of computers gives an indication of the whereabouts of shoppers and is limited in terms of locational advertising strategies. 

On the other hand, m-commerce has a leverage on the various positional tracking technologies on the mobile phones of users, such as GPS, WiFi, and cellular connections. The accuracy of the location can be used by retailers to alert users of promotions within their whereabouts. 


For example, a retail outlet that is having an on-going sales can send notifications to users within a 5-miles radius. A fitness gym could target consumers in its area with yearly membership signups by accessing it on a navigational app.  




4. Security

According to Shift Processing, credit card frauds increased by 18.5% in 2018 and resulted in a loss of a whopping $24.26 billion. The e-commerce platform, which is mostly transacted over credit cards, puts the financial safety of users at stake.


Even without massive breaches of credit card data, the accounts of e-commerce shoppers aren’t exactly safe. The security provided by a username and password isn’t the best protection against modern-day hackers.


M-commerce, where transactions are conducted over a mobile phone, has the potential to incorporate better security. The use of phone identification as a second layer of security removes the possibility of a fraud committed remotely.  For additional security measures, existing biometrics technologies such as facial recognition or iris-scanning can be introduced as an option in the m-commerce app. 



Benefits For Business With M-Commerce


For business owners who are used to the traditional e-commerce platforms, making a shift towards m-commerce can be daunting. However, there are a lot of proven benefits that will make the shift worthy in every business sense.




1. Gain Better Customer Insights

Understanding the behavior of shoppers is a necessity for retailers to remain competitive in their respective niche. Mobile apps, which are a crucial component of m-commerce, allows retailers to collect crucial information of the users. Consumer-oriented data such as browsing behavior, shopping interests, and time spent on the app are helpful analytics. 


With the rise of big data and AI, retailers can send better-targeted promotions that are more likely to engage and convert. The historical data collected also helps retailers to strengthen their branding efforts by prioritizing elements that resonate with their shoppers. 


2. Increase Revenue

All the numbers point to the potential of revenue increase when m-commerce is put to proper- use. According to Oberlo, global m-commerce revenue has hit $2.91 trillion in 2020, which is a remarkable 25.4% increase than the previous year.

Internet users are spending more of their time on mobile phones, and shopping for products is a few touches away. Besides that, push notifications with tailor-made promotions draw users’ attention and lead to better conversion.


M-commerce also encourages purchases. The checkout process is more straightforward, where users can complete checkout with a few touches on the screen. Naturally, this would lead to more sales and less discarded shopping carts. 



3. Enhance Customer Experience

The secret to a thriving business is to keep its customers continuously engaged. In other words, your customers need to perceive that they are given the best experience ever. This goes beyond the ability to browse and shop at any place or time. 


M-commerce enhances the customer experience by increasing the availability of support to customers. A responsive live-chat on the app or the ease of refunds and exchange could strengthen brand loyalty amongst customers. Also, personalization, whether in the form of product listings or promotions, gives off the perception of a caring brand. This is made possible with the combination of the mobile app, analytics, and locational information on an m-commerce app. 

4. Reduce Cost

Spendings on ads placements, whether physically or digitally, is also reduced with m-commerce. With direct reach to customers, the latest offerings and messages can be delivered through the mobile app or push notification. 


The cost of app-development has decreased as there are development tools that help simplify the process. With the reduction of ads-budget, businesses can achieve a lower cost of acquisition and retainment of customers. 




Why Mobile Commerce Is Growing So Fast


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 m-commerce 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 2022 or 72.9% of total e-commerce transactions.


Business owners need to pivot on the unstoppable growth of m-commerce or they would 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.



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. 







Making the shift from e-commerce to m-commerce is inevitable. Businesses that refuse to jump on the wagon will find themselves on the losing end. M-commerce offers better connectedness, engagement, and personalization. For businesses, it means higher revenues, stronger brands, and rewarding experiences for customers.


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