While the phrase m-commerce (Mobile Commerce) has been in use since 1997, its adoption has only been growing in recent years—and the global pandemic has shifted mobile shopping into overdrive. While m-commerce provides new opportunities for small businesses to increase sales and revenue, customer experience is crucial. Ensuring that the process is easy, convenient, and secure by incorporating the latest technologies is essential.
All integrated marketers should either be on the m-commerce bandwagon or readying their business to join because m-commerce is not the future—it's here now. And apps, AI/ automation, voice control, and custom ads will separate the successful m-commerce endeavors from those that will fail.
App Annie reported that during the pandemic smartphone users spent 20% more time in apps, creating plenty of new chances for visitors to shop. More sales are completed on mobile because apps are fully optimized for smartphone use and load faster, with smaller fonts and simpler designs than traditional e-commerce. They can also have geo-location technology integrated into the application, allowing businesses to easily target customers near their physical store locations, delivering targeted ads, and pushing real-time notifications.
Additionally, apps retain customer data, eliminating the need to regularly log in and fill out a form each time they want to check out. Storing their information, including name, address, and payment details, allows fields to be automatically filled and expedites the purchasing process.
There are a wide variety of advertising options available for integrated marketers to reach m-commerce consumers. The primary advantage of m-commerce over e-commerce and brick & mortar shopping is that advertising gets to consumers quickly and directly because most of us have our smartphones with us at all times. Whether pursuing native ads, social media ads, search engine ads, overlays, pop-ups, in-app ads, or SMS, mobile advertising allows SMBs to deliver their targeted messages to users at the right time and place.
The purpose of the various advertising options is to allow SMBs to interact with their target audiences using custom campaigns, real-time engagement, tailored messages to match circumstances (weather, proximity to a physical store, location, etc. The more localized data is, the more personalized to the user, the more likely that consumers will want to engage with businesses.
AI/Voice Control & Search/AR
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is another way to expedite the sales process and enhance the customer experience. Self-learning algorithms take in all the data users create when on their phones—location, who and what they like, which social media channels they frequent, where consumers shop and what they shop for—and use that information to provide personalized product recommendations or to send tailored messages. AI is effective on smartphones because they come equipped with GPS, a camera, Bluetooth, and WIFI connectivity in ways that other devices cannot.
Some SMBs take the technology even further and offer Augmented Reality (AR) for virtually seeing furniture in a home, trying on makeup, or other similar applications. The data gathered can be used to run voice-controlled chatbots or virtual assistants to search for goods and services when the user’s hands are full or occupied. Voice control allows for a 24/7 customer service option that manages customer needs when a business is closed or busy.
The future of retail lies with innovative technologies, and with m-commerce growing faster than ever before, there are a host of new business prospects on the horizon. Many customers who have found convenience and delight with the m-commerce solution will continue to demand even more technological advancements, continually making their experiences easy and secure, even when shopping returns to normal.