Do you own a mobile phone? Oh, wait! That’s a silly question. Because you are reading this article, I’m taking the liberty to assume that you do own a cell phone, even though you might be reading this from your laptop. So, you use your phone for WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and pretty much all other apps and services, don’t you? Now, let’s switch to a more technological topic. I’m posting this article to talk about “M-commerce”. You know what M-commerce is, right? For those of you who don’t know what it means, M-commerce is the commercial transaction that’s conducted via mobile phones. There, that’s an easy definition. Now, allow me to take you to a more in-depth insight of this cool thing.

 

The History of M-commerce:

  • M-commerce made its first appearance back in 1997 in Helsinki, Finland, with a Coca-Cola vending machine that could be operated by mobile phones. Followed by that, Merita bank launched a mobile-based service that let users make payments via text messages

A Coke Vending Machine that Accepted Payments via SMS

(Slide Share)

 

  • 1998 was the year when the first digital media could officially be downloaded on cell phones, including those funky ringtones we had in our childhood
  • About 9 million people in the US in 2008 used their cell phones to pay or purchase services and products, amounting to 3.6% of the total number of mobile users in the US
  • By 2011, the use of M-commerce had gone up to 173% more as compared to previous years

 

Growth Trends of M-commerce throughout the years

(Slide Share)

 

Features of M-commerce:

M-commerce has been in the market since quite a few years now; it has evolved a lot all these years, bringing with it some fascinating features.

 

Mobility:

Given that the word “M-commerce” has “mobile” in it, it’s evident that one of its key features. With the onset of the Internet era, everyone is connected to the net most of the time. And since most people use cell phones, M-commerce is very approachable and mobile. This does not just increase the sales of business, but also boosts the credibility on the customers’ side, since neither of the two is confined to a static place in this way.

(BBC)

 

Spontaneity:

You have your cell phone in your pocket or your purse, you take it out, you make a payment or purchase something. That’s the beauty of M-commerce. It is spontaneous. Unlike laptops, you don’t actually have to wait for making a transaction on a mobile phone. It is convenient because you always have your phone with you. So you can make a transaction anytime, anywhere.

M-commerce is more spontaneous than other transactional media

(Slide Share)

 

High Processing Speed:

Isn’t it irritating when you’re making a payment online, but the gateway is slow? Well, the good thing about M-commerce is that its processing speed is faster than other transaction methods. In this fast-paced world, no one prefers slow technology anyway.

 

 

Advantages of M-commerce:

Along with the easy-to-use features, M-commerce has some other really brilliant advantages.

 

No Geographical Restrictions:

With M-commerce, you don’t need to go to a store. You can just check out your requirements from the phone. Also, there’s no restriction on time and place, since you can access the website of a store from anywhere you want to, at any time of the day. This way, you save a lot of time and effort.

Access Any Store Anywhere, Anytime

(Happy Netty)

 

User-friendly:

Since people spend most of their time on their phones, M-commerce is a very potential medium not only to provide perfect user experience but also to attract hordes of new customers, which is a real boost for any business. Also, M-commerce tends to influence people’s buying trends in a very positive way.

Growth of M-commerce Users

(Quora)

 

Easy Payment:

Like E-commerce, the payment method on M-commerce is hassle-free. There are a number of E-wallets and banking options online, which prevent the trouble of cash transactions. So, even if there’s a cash shortage, you still have your online account that you can use to purchase something on the Internet. Smooth, right?

 

 

Disadvantages of M-commerce:

Everything, no matter how big, small or widely used, has its set of cons, and so does M-commerce. Let’s have a look at them.

 

Dependent on Connectivity:

One of the greatest disadvantages of M-commerce is that it is highly reliant on connectivity. You need to have an active, steady internet connection, be it WiFi or your mobile data. The speed, if not high, should at least be at a decent level to carry out your work.

 

Device Limitation:

With changing times, technology is evolving as well. Although the first M-commerce started out in black and white phones, with pretty limited features, M-commerce today needs mostly needs smartphones with net connectivity for proper operation.

 

Basic Things for M-commerce

(ACMA)

 

Security Concern:

Even though M-commerce is a growing platform and has a lot to offer, the VPNs on cell phone networks and browsers are pretty feeble as compared to a regular desktop/laptop browser. If not used carefully, you could be easily swindled.

Security Threats Involved in M-commerce

(Accounting Degree)

Where is M-commerce Used:

Being a technology so developed and widely used, M-commerce is highly applicable in many areas currently.

Banking:

M-commerce has been a crucial part of online banking and financial services. With its easy accessibility and smooth usability, you make transactions, transfers and payments quite easily.

M-commerce Wallet Usage

(Telecoms Market Research)

 

Marketing:

Many companies and organizations send promotional texts to their target audience’s cell phones. This has a high chance of increasing the number of customers, which in turn increases sales.

Mobile Marketing Trends

(Reply)

 

Couponing:

As already discussed, M-commerce is an excellent advertising platform. So many businesses use it to their advantage by sharing offer coupons, loyalty cards and other discount information with existing and new customers. This increases not only sales but also the credibility.

 

Locational Services:

While many people look for general offers or services, many opt for locational services like offers or discounts, or look for general information about a particular place. M-commerce is a great way to know about the location-based information.

 

So this was a short guideline to M-commerce, which is an ever-growing platform in the current market. To understand more, check out this beautifully simple video by TechKnowledge FS.