As we continue to transform to a more modern and mobile lifestyle, the companies who are enabling us to embrace this “mobility” are implementing cutting-edge technologies and trying to stay ahead of the dramatic changes to “mobile consumerism” that are currently underway.
Our mobile devices have now become an integral part of our everyday lives, from the alarm clock in the morning, to the daily calendar, email, banking, diet, health and exercise apps on a 24/7/365 basis. The day is coming when almost everything we do in the course of 24 hours will be accomplished on one of our mobile devices.
Since the first iPhone appeared in 2007, “mobile commerce” has moved further away from SMS systems and more in the direction of actual applications (apps). This evolving new normal is now widely known as “m-commerce.” The improvements in the power of smartphones and the emergence of larger screens has created an increasingly rapid and growing demand for consumer transactions and experiences with m-commerce technologies.
E-commerce is defined as “any business that sells products or services on the internet.” M-commerce is a subset of e-commerce, and specifically refers to transactions that take place on mobile devices.
There are several key differences between e-commerce and m-commerce. E-commerce is an older concept than m-commerce; e-commerce transactions can be completed using computers and laptops, whereas m-commerce utilizes smartphones, tablets, PDAs, etc. The connectivity of m-commerce is comparatively larger than e-commerce and m-commerce devices are also easier to transport anywhere because they are lightweight and fit in a pocket or purse.
M-commerce also enables users to access the internet without needing to plug in. Current speculation is that m-commerce will soon surpass e-commerce as the method of choice for digital commerce transactions as the delivery of content over wireless devices is becoming faster, more secure and scalable.
The distinction between e-commerce and m-commerce is important to online merchants and service providers who want to create a buyer-friendly experience on any device. Some of the industries that have been impacted by the insurgence of mobile commerce include: information services, including news, sports and traffic updates; service/retail, which enables consumers to place and pay for purchase orders on-the-run; and financial services, including mobile banking, stock purchases and bill payments.
According to an article in the Socialnomics blog published by Erik Qualman, there are several mobile commerce trends to watch in 2018, some of which are:
Personalized marketing — online and offline
Retailers are currently spending a significant amount of their financial resources to implement the use of analytical tools that track buyers’ online behaviors and purchase history. They are gathering influential data from websites and social media platforms and then utilizing this information to customize potential buying solutions and suggestions to individual consumers.
Technologies such as push notifications and geolocation marketing are contributing enormously in grabbing customers’ attention in the right location and in real time. Many brick and mortar locations have installed “beacons” to detect the users’ mobile devices from a distance, and then sends messages for potential sales and specials to the customer.
Artificial intelligence (AI) gets more “push”
AI has begun to have an enormous impact in the m-commerce industry. With the capability to analyze and forecast large amounts of consumer data, retailers are beginning to save time and money by utilizing the optimization of conversion rates and understanding what trends are impacting their businesses. Retailers are now embracing AI in order to double their sales and enhance personalized consumer experiences. The overwhelming importance of a good customer experience has become essential to retailers as loyalties to these brands continue to gain significance.
Marketing through automation and social media
Social media sites are currently seen as marketing platforms for many businesses, and more small businesses and startups will pay influencers and bloggers for promoting their brands. There has been significant increase in revenue generation and consumer satisfaction growth for e-retailers who are utilizing marketing automation in email campaigns, discount codes, customer reviews and loyalty points, for example. There have been new software developments recently that will emphasize the use of automation in order to reduce business complexities and enhance shopping experiences.
The realization of augmented reality
The dictionary defines “augmented reality” as “a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a users’ view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.” Practically speaking, augmented reality is a technology that allows your phone to mix real-world surroundings with what is being shown on the screen using the device’s camera. Time Magazine recently wrote an article about the ways in which we will be able to transform realty through our smart devices.
Time has named the following augmented reality apps as some of the ones to follow:
• JigSpace — This app includes a small library of animated 3D graphics with accompanying text that you can explore to learn how certain objects function.
• TapMeasure — This app enables the user to tap the button that appears on the screen to set a starting point and move the phone along the surface to be measured and then tap the button again with the endpoint, and the measurement is completed. This app can also be used with the iPhone camera to assist with other forms of measurements such as leveling picture frames and generating 3D scans of rooms.
• Fitness AR — This app creates a 3D map of running and biking paths that have been logged into the app that is viewable from multiple vantage points. You are also able to zoom in to get a closer look and scout potential courses using the Fitness AR’s route building option.
Other m-commerce functions that are dramatically changing the way we shop include:
• 1-Click — Amazon’s “1-click” purchase patent expired in September of 2017. More m-commerce companies are now offering one-click purchase options that enable them to minimize cart abandonments and boost their sales revenues.
• On-Demand Apps — Our daily lives have gotten busier and busier, so at-home services are making things more convenient and easier to live more comfortably. Utilizing these apps has become a “new normal” for many of us, including examples such as food delivery, at-home services such as cleaning and child care and healthcare and beauty services. These apps continue to become more popular because of their timely availability and easy payment options.
The abundance of new apps and technologies are transforming the world we live into a “mobile” environment whereby we are able to rely on our smartphone and tablet devices for almost every activity of our daily lives. We are truly living in a new time and place that was only part of the “Twilight Zone” we imagined a couple of decades ago.