Even a few years ago, mobile apps used to be an option only for e-commerce giants like Amazon. But the situation has changed dramatically in the last few years. The cost of developing mobile apps has dropped down, and companies began to realize the advantages of m-commerce. The market is now filled with all kinds of mobile services – including retail apps, business apps, and e-commerce apps.
Shopping with a mobile device has become a solid customer trend, which is only going to expand in the future. That’s why so many people believe that mobile commerce is the next generation of e-commerce.
Experts predict that by 2021, mobile commerce sales will account for over half of total e-commerce sales. Whether large or small, any e-commerce company can benefit from mobile commerce apps as a useful tool for acquiring new customers and reaching new audiences. More than half of retailers already have a mobile app, and over 50% of the rest are going to build one soon.
If you’re a business owner wondering whether investing in a m-commerce application is the right move for your company in 2020, this article is for you.
Read on to find out about the critical advantages of m-commerce and the unique challenges it presents to app owners.
What is m-commerce?
Mobile commerce is basically any transaction that takes place on a mobile device. It can be a smartphone, tablet, or even a wearable device.
Mobile commerce allows customers to purchase products or services online but with the comfort of doing that from anywhere and at any time thanks to their mobile devices.
m-commerce is more than eCommerce turned mobile. Mobile commerce is a powerful consumer trend that caused the rise of new industries and services such as mobile banking, mobile tickets and boarding passes, sophisticated location-based services, and mobile marketing.
Consumers are today used to these features as part of their experience, but let’s not forget that all of that wouldn’t be possible if not for the rise of m-commerce.
Types of mobile commerce apps
Mobile commerce products come in many shapes and sizes, but here are the three most common m-commerce models that are currently being developed by businesses today.
• Mobile banking – mobile banking applications are similar to online banking applications. However, some of the transaction types may be limited or restricted on mobile devices. Most of the time, mobile banking takes on the form of a dedicated application that brings customers an excellent experience and high security. Some financial services institutions are now experimenting with innovations like chatbots and messaging apps.
• Mobile shopping – this variant of m-commerce works like a mobile counterpart of e-commerce. It basically refers to online stores accessible through mobile devices. Businesses that want to enter the mobile scene develop mobile-optimized websites, invest in dedicated apps, or take their sales to social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram.
• Mobile payments – this type of m-commerce implementations focus on the wide range of mobile payment options available to consumers.
9 Advantages of m-commerce apps for business owners
Now that you know what m-commerce is all about, so let’s take a look at the most important and mission-critical benefits mobile commerce applications bring to companies.
Mobile applications are 1.5 times faster when loading data and search results on mobile devices. As a result, they allow customers to browse and purchase products faster on their smartphones or tablets.
The accelerated buyer’s journey is a massive benefit to companies that want to provide their customers with the best possible experience and streamline the purchasing process as much as possible.
1. Wider reach and accessibility
Mobile commerce allows companies to enter new markets that they could never reach before. By 2021, the number of people who own a smartphone will rise to 3.8 billion. This is roughly half of the current world population.
Every person with a mobile device is a potential customer, and such a large user base offers a lot of opportunities for generating and nurturing sales leads. Accessing your offer will be much easier for users if all it takes is downloading your app from an app store.
Just compare it to purchasing products in the traditional way – at brick-and-mortar stores. A customer has to drive, walk, or take public transportation, browse items in the store, stand in a line to pay, and then make their way back home. An m-commerce app allows customers to browse your offers from anywhere, even on the go.
1. Reaching customers at the right time
Another key element among the advantages of m-commerce for businesses across different industries is that it allows for targeted timing. Mobile commerce applications help brands to reach their customers with the right message at the right time.
For example, you can send a push notification to app users who are browsing for an item and let them know that a new version of the product will be available in a few days. If you notice that someone is shopping at your online mobile store during a lunch break, you can help them complete the purchase by sending a personalized promotion.
By taking advantage of geo-tracking and programmatic advertising, you can connect with consumers during specific moments in their day. If you do it right, you significantly increase the likelihood that they complete the purchase.
1. New marketing opportunities
Let’s turn now to the wealth of marketing advantages of m-commerce. The first one is the inherent scalability mobile commerce applications offer to businesses. By carefully monitoring and analyzing the traffic in your app, you can increase your mobile app marketing when consumer interest spikes. You can then downscale your activities to optimize your resource use when consumers are less likely to buy your products (for example, during the holiday season).
All in all, m-commerce will help to reduce your marketing costs and make marketing campaigns more effective thanks to access to detailed customer data (more about that in the next point).
1. Valuable customer data
In a traditional retail setting, a customer will walk into a store, make a purchase, and leave. We have no idea why they made the purchase or chose a specific product. Did they compare their purchases with other options? What factors influenced their choice? Was it the product’s price or unique features?
With mobile commerce, you can get answers to these and more questions. That’s because mobile analytics allow tracking consumer data from the moment of product discovery all the way to purchase. All the while, you can gain valuable knowledge about signals of purchase intent and learn more about the habits and preferences of your target audience.
Knowing your customers is critical to the success of your offer. Companies are doing everything they can to reach their customers with the right messages at the right time. To know your customers, you need basic demographic information, but also their shopping history and location to forecast trends and understand customer shopping patterns. And that’s something a mobile app can easily provide.
The sophistication of mobile analytics will depend on your business strategy and the resources you can allocate to mobile app development. Adding such analytics features opens the door to increasing sales by reaching your customers proactively with personalized offers.
1. Better customer experience
Companies are fighting for the attention of customers. The increased competition means that delivering unique and personalized customer experience is more important than ever. The increasing importance of experiences is one of the most important trends in mobile app development.
1. Direct communication
Businesses can communicate with their audiences in many different ways – for example, email newsletters or social media. But there’s nothing more direct than push notifications. While ignoring an email is easy, the same isn’t true for push notification. The ability to establish such a direct line of communication with customers is a major reason why so many companies are now choosing to create e-commerce applications.
Push notification comes with higher open rates (even 90%!) and is a perfect channel of communication for letting your customers know about new products or seasonal sales.
1. Personalized content
Consumers respond positively to personalized content because they feel that the brand keeping an eye on their preferences. And wants them to experience more with their products. The more specific and personal your offers, the better. They help to expand your reach and increase engagement with your brand, ultimately driving customer loyalty and improving the conversion rate.
And this is another one of the advantages of m-commerce. By analyzing the behavior patterns and individual preferences of app users, you can deliver personalized content easily. This can be, for instance, special promotions or offer based on the user’s shopping history.
Mobile e-commerce apps allow companies to gather data about user location, interests, shopping history, items viewed, and social media profiles. When you put all of this information together, delivering the right messages to your customers will be easy. Some apps are designed to track user behaviors and offer product recommendations in real-time. This translates into higher conversion rates and increases customer loyalty.
Mobile commerce apps offer so many advantages because they’re part of mobile devices that come with their own set of helpful features. Modern mobile devices are equipped with a camera that enables scanning barcodes. A positioning system for location, and many other built-in features you can use for commercial purposes.
Mobile commerce solutions can navigate users to the nearest stores thanks to GPS or innovative computing devices like beacons. In one of our previous articles about m-commerce, we discussed the app developed by Starbucks, which offers this feature to its customers. App users can easily find the nearest coffee shop, and then order and pay for their drink on the go.