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What is M-Commerce? + How to Use M-Commerce for Your Brand

Today, we’re talking all things m-commerce. M-commerce (mobile commerce) is a subcategory of e-commerce (electronic commerce). Think of it as all the commercial transactions that take place on mobile websites and apps.


People make purchases on their phones more often than you think. According to Shopify, mobile commerce is expected to reach $620.97 billion by 2024. While shopping on one’s computer remains the most popular form of e-commerce, mobile keeps growing steadily. 77% of US adults currently own a smartphone and that number is only rising. Therefore, it’s critical for brands to optimize the mobile shopping experience, whether customers access their website by phone or download a separate app.


M-commerce boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic when brick-and-mortar stores were closed and people were quarantined in their homes. Since then, m-commerce has maintained its popularity due convenience and engagement. Conversion rates are still higher for desktop shopping than mobile (3% versus 2%, respectively) since people often browse shopping sites and apps while on public transportation, sitting in waiting rooms, or during breaks from work when they are passing the time and have less intention to buy.


Still, m-commerce remains incredibly important for brands since:

  • It is a direct connection to social media marketing

  • It fosters omnichannel commerce (the ability to shop from a brand in multiple ways—in store, online, via app, etc.)

  • It enables personalized customer service and strengthens the brand/customer relationship

Think about it … If a company doesn’t have an optimized mobile website (i.e. the desktop dimensions don’t adapt to the specs and usability on a mobile device, making it glitchy and difficult to navigate), customers will probably go elsewhere. In fact, 61% of users won’t return to a website that is not mobile-friendly and 40% head directly to a competitor’s website. In short, mobile website functionality is CRITICAL.


Like any shopping modality, m-commerce has its benefits as well its challenges. Understanding both can help you make the best plan for your brand:


Benefits of M-Commerce


Greater convenience

Americans check their phone an average of 344 times per day. READ. THAT. AGAIN. We are tied to our tiny mobile computers and to the “Amazon effect”—our need for instant gratification, especially when it comes to what we spend our money on (food, entertainment, shopping, transportation, etc.). Customers appreciate getting their products and services quickly and easily…That includes easy payment options. M-commerce allows customers to pay via credit card, Apple Pay, PayPal, and a host of other ways.


More personalization

While one might argue that mobile shopping is impersonal because you don’t have the face-to-face interaction with employees in a store, data collection affords brands the ability to personalize each customer’s experience and better understand their wants, needs, and spending habits. More data → more personalization → more engagement + sales →…even MORE data (and the cycle continues).


Increased customer retention

Retention rate is the percentage of users who return to your app, website, or store more than once. Because of its convenience and personalization, m-commerce is uniquely engaging and keeps customers coming back for more.


Challenges of M-Commerce


Continuous optimization

In some ways, technology is a double-edged sword. It keeps changing every day. So, for as useful as it is for brands, technology also means constantly learning and adapting. M-commerce requires continuous optimization to meet evolving technology and customer needs. You should always be asking, “How can we streamline this process to make it more convenient and enjoyable for our customers?” Some examples of these technological innovations and improvements include the ability to scan QR codes and to link products directly in social media posts.


Competition

M-commerce makes it easy for customers to do price comparisons and hop around from one site or app to another. You don’t have their full and undivided attention like you might in a store. That’s why it’s so important to have a fully functional and engaging website so users don’t feel compelled to click away.


Security concerns

We often hear stories about credit card fraud, compromised passwords, and other data breaches when it comes to all methods of e-commerce. Investing in secure software can be more expensive, but it’ll save your reputation and loyal customer-base.


How to Use M-Commerce to Increase Sales

Amidst those challenges, what are the best ways a company can increase their m-commerce sales? Media À La Carte breaks it down into 3 key components:


1. Optimization.

With m-commerce, it’s imperative that brands continually upgrade their mobile websites and apps to keep up with evolving technologies and customer needs. Utilize a responsive web design that adapts to the user’s screen size and features shorter loading time. Mobile optimization isn’t a one-and-done process. Your brand should continue improving upon its mobile experience. From text size and loading speed to search functionality and general design, here are 12 tips for optimizing a mobile website.


2. Integration.

Integrate m-commerce with social media to increase leads. Things like “link in bio,” swipe-up features in Instagram stories, and in-app purchasing options help to reduce the “work” (i.e. steps) a customer has to do in between learning about your product on social and making a purchase. The more hoops a customer has to jump through to shop, the more likely they’ll click out and forgo the purchase altogether. Our rule of thumb: design the least number of clicks between social and checkout to ensure a quick and seamless shopping experience.


3. Security.

Investing in adequate security should be a top priority to protect customer information. Data breaches and credit card fraud can lead to distrust in your company for not prioritizing mobile security measures. Here are 10 tips to protect your ecommerce.


Think of when you’ve been an m-commerce customer yourself recently….Perhaps you bought a Jitney ticket for an upcoming summer trip to the Hamptons, that Dior lip oil dupe from Amazon, or that perfect summer minidress from a recommended ad on Instagram. Reflect on what the buying experience was like—Were the steps easy to follow? How were you able to pay for your product? Did the brand follow up with you after the transaction? Taking a more analytical look at your own mobile experiences as a customer can give you insight into the user’s perspective as you figure out how you can optimize the UX of m-commerce for your own brand.