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What is M-Commerce (Mobile Commerce)?

Updated on June 27, 2013

M-Commerce and E-Commerce not the same

M-commerce refers to the use of any mobile device as a platform to sell goods or services or to facilitate any other financial transaction. Although there is not yet a universally accepted definition of what m-commerce is, it implies immediacy of financial transactions, not restricted by location, wireless and instant connectivity.

M-commerce should not be confused with e-commerce which uses different platforms. Mobile devices such as mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), tablets and other handheld mobile devices are platforms to facilitate m-commerce transactions. Although company owners are increasingly adopting mobile platforms as an alternative way of conducting business, m-commerce is generally only perceived as an additional branding channel to complement other company branding efforts.

This article explores current uses as well as the future of m-commerce.


Current Uses of M-commerce

An m-commerce site is a mobile friendly version of the company website which can be accessed using any mobile device. Companies are gradually moving away from selling only ringtones, games, wallpapers or screen savers to also sell other products or services via a mobile platform to strengthen their brands. This includes air tickets, hotel reservations, rental cars, music, books and banking, to name but a few. Well-known companies which have successful mobile websites are Google and Amazon. In fact many marketers consider Amazon as a case study for mobile excellence and functionality.

Although some innovative companies are joining the mobile revolution,, a 2012 survey of 200 retail sites by Strangeloop Networks revealed that only 68% of retailers have a mobile site, meaning only one in three. A 2012 survey of the Fortune 500 companies by iMomentous revealed that only 10% of these companies invested in mobile sites, although many do have mobile applications which can be used on mobile platforms. This means that many companies still do not realise how important it is to have a mobile friendly site which remains an untapped market to many. In order to have a successful mobile site, companies need to know their target audience and which mobile devices they are using. A mobile site should enhance a user's experience and not impede it. It should be skillfully used to engage mobile users early enough to eventually facilitate that much wanted sale.

The Future of M-commerce

What is the future of m-commerce? Is there a future for m-commerce?

Irrespective of the worldwide adoption of smart phones and mobile applications, m-commerce is still in its infancy but is a lucrative, untapped market. Many mobile users are still wary of mobile technology to conduct business, but this will gradually become less of an obstacle as more secure mobile technology becomes available.

M-commerce is the future of online business and companies need to join this lucrative market to gain an early competitive edge in the market. It is an additional branding channel with much potential to companies if used skillfully.



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