[Guest] Mobile Commerce: Power on the Move

It is a connected world. Every person you meet on the street walks around with a swanky Smartphone and every moment is journaled on Instagram and ‘checked-in’ to on Facebook and Foursquare. With this being the norm of the day, it isn’t surprising to see that people are turning towards mobile devices to even do their shopping!

From then to now
Mobile Commerce raised its head in 1997 with pay-through-SMS facility. With greater investment and technology going into this field in the following years, everything – from downloading ringtones to booking airline tickets – became a possibility. Today, WAP browsers and pocket device friendly user interface have come into vogue. Internet has invasively taken a hold of all our communication,
transactions and time!

M Commerce: The rising trend

Although there are many who aren’t too thrilled about technology overruling our lives, e-tailers are rejoicing this new trend. Markets and Markets, a global market research and consulting company, in its recent report ‘M Commerce Market – Worldwide Forecasts & Analysis (2014 – 2019)’ forecasts that the market is expected to grow from $116.1 billion in 2014 to $467.3 billion in 2019. This tremendous progress is especially due to the revenue to be generated by the biggest market players – North America and Europe, while Asia-Pacific (APAC) and Middle East and Africa are predicted to experience increased market traction.

Banking, Shopping, Entertainment, Marketing and Information services are the prime areas that mobile commerce services impact on. Forrester, in its recent prediction estimates that Tablets are expected to drive $219 billion of purchases, and Smartphones $74 billion in the coming years. With this phenomenal advancement to look forward to, M commerce is coming up with newer strategies to keep the momentum going.

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With technology taking giant leaps and making 3G networks and now, even 4G networks, accessible and affordable to the average consumer, internet on the move is indeed a superpower. The once arduous tasks of booking tickets, paying bills, shopping have all shifted online and been made easy and seamless an operation, thanks to internet on tablets and mobiles. Transport access, building access, digital rights management are other areas where M-Commerce lets you operate securely.

People are looking towards mobile internet to execute all their work as it saves time, does not require physical presence and is convenient. In fact, the internet penetration is escalating so much, that in a survey by Mobify, it was found that India closely followed the heels of China with about 40% customers purchasing online using their tablets.

Mobile devices and their reach
Apart from purely commercial value, mobile data is also helping a lot of research that goes into developing commercial opportunities. Mobify’s Global Mobile Commerce report (conducted across the 200 million shoppers on commercial websites powered by Mobify Cloud) also suggests that almost an average of 27% of site traffic comes from mobiles.

Social media statistics, number of hits on the WAP site etc, further reveal youth lifestyle trends. Many researchers indulge in viral marketing in the form of ‘mobisodes’ or mobile based commercials to gauge the reaction and get the pulse of the audience before launching M-commerce facilities for their clients.

Mobile sites are truly the way ahead in e-commerce as present day youth in many developing
nations, especially India, have been introduced to the internet directly through their Smartphones unlike the desktop generation. Considering how cheap, easy and efficient the mobile internet services are, to install, this hassle-free option seems to only get popular by the day. Every top ecommerce company is now seeing that it is better to put the buck in developing user friendly mobile platforms and sites to interact with the customer so they can shop on the fly. Recent trends suggest that the life time value of every customer acquired through the mobile traffic is longer and the yield on return on investment higher, making this a favourable route to take from advertisers and investors point of view.

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In a study presented by Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, Byers and conducted by StatCounter Global Stats, it was discovered that the inflection point between desktop and mobile traffic is soon being bridged, with mobiles amounting to 15% of global internet traffic as of May 2013. That amounts to meaning just one thing – “not having a mobile website is like closing your website one day a week!”

The future of M Commerce

This surge in mobile traffic and transactions is seeding more avenues and the future of M Commerce looks real bright. Mobile money services for the unbanked through mobile ATM, enhanced mobile content purchase and delivery (for music, wallpapers and games), location based services (local discounts, weather , news etc), advanced mobile banking facilities, stock market services through mobile brokerage, mobile auctions, mobile marketing and advertising, etc are some trends that are seeing a peak.

Gauging that 16 to 24 year olds use the mobile platform to access the internet (PayPoint report on ‘The rise of new e-commerce channels’), even Mobile Media is proving to be a great avenue to explore. Movies made for the mobile platform, music apps and other media tailored to fit the mobile screen size are slowly being looked at as profitable investments.

Flipside
The one problem with making this midget sized device so powerful is that identity threat and
security breaches become a scary reality. Higher and more personalized ways of encryption are the need of the hour and more and more work is being put in this regard. Anyone can find your location, bank data, personal information etc making this a double edged sword – the technology that feeds progression also finds a way to invade into your private life. Finding a balance and ensuring levels of data security is therefore, extremely important.

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Science and technology are sure to advance every aspect of mobile commerce to scale newer vistas that we probably can’t even envisage at the moment. With better ways to keep this technology safe to use and penetrate sections of society to solve basic issues, we could very well be on the precipice of a change with this power on the move revolutionizing the world, our own selves and the way we live.

About the authorSandip Shah is the Co-Founder & Managing Director of Shop Your World. He has over 20 years of experience and has been instrumental in setting up the logistics of major e-commerce companies across India, before he co -founded shopyourworld.com. As the Managing Director of the company, he oversees and manages day-to-day business activity with a focus on logistics, operations, marketing, technology and customer service.

To contact the author, email at editor@iamwire.com

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