Joe’s Thoughts: The Rise of Mobile Commerce

by Gwen Carrington | Customer Satisfaction, eCommerce, eCommerce Fulfillment

Mobile commerce is an industry that has been around for years, but has only recently starting picking up momentum. In the last twenty years, the evolution of technology has created incredible new avenues through which businesses can market and sell their product. Just as eCommerce has exploded through the creation of more advanced computers and improvement of overall online technology, mobile commerce is growing due to the increasing sophistication of mobile phones. A study by Forester noted that mobile commerce is expected to make up more than 7% of eCommerce sales and to be worth more than $31 billion in 2016, growing at an average of 39% annually.

One factor to look at when considering the growth of the industry is the technology. Mobile technology has improved leaps and bounds ahead of what it was only a few years ago. It has improved so much, in fact, that the mobile phones of the past barely resemble those commonly used today. An old mobile phone could be used to call others and to send text messages. Compare that to an iPhone or an Android: more computer than phone, they can let you surf the web, check the weather, tell you how many calories are in what you’re about to eat, tell you where exactly in the world you are, and generally hold hundreds of different ways to entertain yourself. In short, today’s mobile phone is limited in function only by how many apps it can hold, and with every new function is a new way for companies to make money off of mobile users.

In the not-so-distant past, mobile commerce meant buying ringtones on your phone. Today, there are dozens of ways that customers use mobile phones to purchase merchandise. Besides the most common transactions, such as mobile users downloading apps or games, there are a myriad of new ways that mobile phones help companies sell their product. Some emphasize mobile transactions for the convenience. Online game companies, magazines, and other subscription services let you pay easily by phone without the hassle of entering credit card numbers and worrying about online security. A common method is the website sending a text with a passcode to your phone. You enter the code on the website, and you’re done, the transaction is simply charged on your next phone bill. Others design special discounts for mobile users, or create apps that make it easy to pay through your phone. Google recently introduced a system in which you can simply swipe your phone at a cash register at select stores, instead of taking out paying cash or credit card. In countries like Japan, they already use mobile phones as transportation cards, swiping them at train and bus terminals for quick and convenient access. This is not even counting the ability to access social commerce on your phone, or to browse online shopping sites. As the technology grows more sophisticated, so do our options.

How has mobile commerce changed how you shop?