M-Commerce (Mobile Commerce)

Doug Hughes
by Doug Hughes 20 Mar, 2023

Definition of m-commerce

M-commerce is a subset of e-commerce that specifically refers to the buying and selling of goods and services using wireless handheld devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. M-commerce can take place through mobile apps, mobile-optimized websites, or text messages, and it provides a convenient and accessible way for consumers to make purchases on-the-go. M-commerce allows businesses to reach customers who may not have access to a desktop computer or who prefer to use their mobile devices for all their online activities.


Differences between m-commerce and e-commerce

The main difference between m-commerce and e-commerce is the device used to conduct transactions. Some additional differences include:

  • Screen size: Mobile devices have smaller screens than desktop computers, which can make it more challenging to display product information and other details.
  • Processing power: Mobile devices generally have less processing power than desktop computers, which can limit the types of activities that can be performed through m-commerce.
  • User behavior: Consumers may have different behaviors when using mobile devices versus desktop computers, which can affect their preferences for certain types of transactions.

Despite these differences, m-commerce and e-commerce are closely related, and many businesses use both to reach customers through different channels.


Institutions and businesses using m-commerce

A wide range of institutions and businesses use m-commerce to provide products and services to consumers. Some examples include:

  • Retail stores: Retail stores can use mobile commerce to offer promotions, loyalty programs, and mobile coupons to customers. Mobile apps can also provide customers with a personalized shopping experience, such as recommendations based on past purchases or browsing history.
  • Online retailers: Online retailers can use mobile apps to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience, including one-click purchases and personalized recommendations. Mobile-optimized websites can also provide a convenient way for customers to make purchases through their mobile devices.
  • Banks: Banks can use mobile banking apps to allow customers to check account balances, transfer money, and pay bills. Mobile banking can also provide a convenient way for customers to manage their finances on-the-go.
  • Restaurants: Restaurants can use mobile ordering and payment apps to allow customers to place orders and pay for meals through their mobile devices. Mobile ordering can also provide a convenient way for customers to skip the line or place orders in advance.
  • Travel companies: Travel companies can use mobile apps to allow customers to book flights, hotels, and other travel arrangements through their mobile devices. Mobile apps can also provide travel information and alerts to customers while they are on-the-go.

How mobile commerce works

Mobile commerce works by using mobile apps, mobile-optimized websites, or text messages to facilitate transactions. Here are the steps typically involved in a mobile commerce transaction:

  • Customer browses products or services on their mobile device.
  • Customer adds products or services to their cart and enters payment and shipping information.
  • Payment is processed through a secure payment gateway.
  • Once the transaction is complete, the customer receives a confirmation message and the product is shipped to their designated address.

Mobile commerce can also include location-based services, such as allowing customers to search for nearby stores or receive alerts for nearby deals and promotions. Mobile commerce can provide a seamless and convenient way for consumers to make purchases while on-the-go.


Advantages and disadvantages of m-commerce

Advantages of m-commerce include its convenience and accessibility, as well as its ability to provide a personalized shopping experience. Here are some additional advantages of m-commerce:

  • Portability: Mobile devices are more portable than desktop computers, allowing consumers to make purchases from virtually anywhere.
  • Speed: Mobile commerce can be faster than traditional e-commerce, allowing consumers to make purchases quickly and easily.
  • Improved user experience: Mobile apps can provide a more intuitive and personalized user experience. 
  • Personalization: Mobile devices provide a wealth of data about user behavior, such as browsing history, location data, and social media activity. This data can be used to provide personalized recommendations and offers, which can increase customer loyalty and satisfaction.
  • Accessibility: Mobile commerce can be more accessible than traditional e-commerce, particularly for consumers with disabilities or limited mobility.
  • Lower costs: Setting up a mobile commerce platform can be less expensive than building a traditional e-commerce website, particularly for smaller businesses or startups.
  • Increased engagement: Mobile apps and push notifications can help businesses stay top-of-mind with customers, leading to increased engagement and repeat purchases.

Mobile commerce (m-commerce) is an evolving field, with new applications and technologies being introduced regularly. Here are some of the most exciting and innovative mobile commerce applications available today:


Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented Reality is a technology that overlays digital images and information onto real-world objects, creating an interactive and immersive experience. AR can be used in m-commerce to help customers visualize products in their environment before purchasing. For example, a furniture retailer can use AR to allow customers to see how a piece of furniture would look in their home. AR can also be used for virtual try-ons, such as trying on clothes or makeup.


Mobile Retargeting

Mobile retargeting involves serving ads to consumers based on their previous interactions with a website or mobile app. For example, if a consumer adds a product to their cart but does not complete the purchase, the retailer can use mobile retargeting to show ads for that product to the consumer on other websites or apps they visit. Mobile retargeting can be an effective way to encourage consumers to complete purchases they may have abandoned.


Mobile SEO

Mobile SEO refers to the practice of optimizing websites and mobile apps for search engines. With the rise of mobile devices as the primary way people access the internet, mobile SEO has become increasingly important for businesses. Mobile SEO includes factors such as mobile site speed, responsive design, and local search optimization. By optimizing for mobile search, businesses can improve their visibility to consumers and drive more traffic to their websites and apps.


Mobile Ticketing

Mobile ticketing allows consumers to purchase and store tickets for events, travel, and other activities on their mobile devices. Mobile ticketing can offer several advantages over traditional paper tickets, including convenience, security, and the ability to transfer tickets easily. Mobile ticketing can also help reduce the risk of fraud and counterfeiting.


AI Chatbot and Shopping Assistants

AI chatbots and shopping assistants are computer programs that can interact with consumers and provide assistance with shopping-related tasks. For example, a chatbot could help a customer find a specific product, answer questions about a product's features, or assist with checkout. AI chatbots and shopping assistants can help improve the customer experience by providing personalized recommendations and assistance.


Mobile Banking

Mobile banking allows consumers to perform financial transactions on their mobile devices, including checking account balances, transferring money, and paying bills. Mobile banking can offer several advantages over traditional banking, including convenience, security, and the ability to access account information from anywhere. Mobile banking can also help reduce the risk of fraud and identity theft.


In summary, mobile commerce applications such as augmented reality, mobile retargeting, mobile SEO, mobile ticketing, AI chatbot and shopping assistants, and mobile banking are just a few of the many ways that businesses are leveraging the power of mobile technology to provide a better shopping experience for customers. As mobile devices continue to play an increasingly important role in people's lives, we can expect to see even more innovation in the field of mobile commerce in the years to come.