Everything You Need To Know About M-Commerce – How To Stay Ahead Online
Facebook, through their analysis service Insights, have released a report on the future of m-commerce. The report, titled The Thumb is in Charge, details the ongoing growth of the sector, focusing on who shops using their mobile and how smartphones affect the buying process. But who wants to read a big long report? We’ve streamlined the info and analysed the data, explaining how your business can benefit from m-commerce integration.
How fast is m-commerce growing?
Pretty quickly. In the first half of 2015, mobile purchases in the United States grew by 35%. That growth is set to continue, with Facebook Insights predicting a 30% increase in Q4. This data at first seems odd, to see a big growth years after smartphones took off. The first iPhone was released in 2007, ecommerce was already in full flow, why has it taken 8 years for the two to embrace one another? During that period, smartphones have become mainstream. Even your grandparents have them. The problem is, the public always worry about new technology. For smartphones, the fear was security. Is it safe to enter your credit card details on a phone? Calming that fear takes a long time.
We’ve also seen an improvement in mobile integration. Companies now provide m-sites and apps, easing the online mobile experience. Never underestimate the importance of simplicity online. Customers can jump ship with a couple of clicks; ecommerce businesses now appreciate the Internet’s short attention span. Amazon have 1 Click Ordering, social media sites are incorporating Click to Buy buttons. Making the purchase process as simple as possible works wonders. Businesses are starting to apply this idea to mobiles, aware of the increase in mobile internet traffic.
Who is driving the growth?
As ever, it’s the Millennials’ fault. However you define their age ranges, the bulk of the generation is at the right age for online shopping. Millennials lead the way, embracing new technology and popularising services. We’ve seen this with social media, Millennials joined Facebook and Twitter early on, paving the way for Gen Xers and eventually Baby Boomers. It’s happening right now with Instagram, the image sharing service is filling with older generations, totally accepted into the mainstream. M-commerce is no different. 80% of Millennials say their mobile is always with them and 83% research products on their phone before making a purchase. It’s easy to see why Facebook Insight has projected this level of growth, Millennials spark trends.
The report also names Mothers as a key driving force behind the growth of M-commerce. It makes sense, a simple mobile purchasing service makes your day much easier, saving you from trips round the supermarket with kids in tow. Mobiles can be an ordering service for parents, with apps to keep track of nap schedules, find nearby toilets or store medical information.
I don’t think it is too much conjecture to say that the reason Mothers have taken so quickly to M-commerce is proof of Millennial influence. Useful products can spread very quickly in parenting circles. “This is the first year that more Millennials are parents than not. Millennials are transitioning into marriage and parenthood and bringing their tech-savvy with them to help in their decision making.” Gen-X parents are seeing how useful m-commerce can be and are following suit. We’ll see this with a variety of other social circles, M-commerce will spread through word of mouth, from younger generations up.
Should I build an App or Mobile site?
Now we’re getting to the big questions. M-site or app? Apps have their benefits, as do mobile sites. Let’s solve it early on, rather than create a big debate. Apps work for long term, loyal customers. They’re somewhat inconvenient for one off purchases because they need to be downloaded. Once downloaded and details are added, they’re great. If your business sells small amounts on a frequent basis, build an app. You’ll make it much easier for loyal customers to purchase your products. In a nice moment of symmetry, m-sites are the opposite. They work for one off purchases, allowing a simple way to log in, buy, leave. No downloaded app to clog up your phone, no saved details.
One stat featured in the report: 58% of mobile purchases are on m-sites, 42% on apps. Don’t let this data trick you into thinking m-sites are always better. They suit large, one off purchases. Get someone on the site, guide them towards that big buy. Apps can prove far more lucrative for companies with returning customers. Think of your weekly shop. An app can store your shopping list, with a click that frequent chore is crossed off the list.
Solving the problems of m-commerce
Two issues hold back technological trends. Common worries and competition. When it comes to m-commerce, we’ve got a very common worry to solve and one major competition. Let’s solve the worry first. Online fraud is holding m-commerce back. Having your card details stolen is scary, at worst you lose hard earned money, at best you go through a huge hassle with a bank or payment service. It runs alongside a general fear of viruses. Anti-virus software like Norton are well known and popular, they put shoppers’ worries to rest when buying from a computer. Even though antivirus programmes also cover smartphones, the general consumer opinion is that buying online with a phone is less safe.
The ecommerce industry faced this same issue when online shopping first burst onto the scene. Two factors solved this worry. The first was that online shopping was just so good. It’s so easy to find the product you want, it’s often cheaper, the service was so valuable that shoppers stopped caring about their security fears. M-commerce has this sorted, it’s a more convenient version of ecommerce. Word will spread that mobile shopping is simpler and available whenever and wherever you need it. Click & Collect will become central to our day to day lives, it’s too useful for consumers to ignore.
It was also facilitated by an increase in awareness. Online consumers became aware of antivirus software, they began to trust major sites such as Amazon and eBay and they learned how to stay safe online. M-commerce providers can aid this cause by pointing out how safe the service actually is, mentioning the regulations their site or app follows and the antivirus precautions that can be taken.
Onto the second issue. Competition. The common question is, why spend money on m-commerce when everyone has a computer? Convenience is the answer. Shopping on your laptop is simple and quick, but it doesn’t fit in your pocket. Smartphones are always on hand, they’ve become a necessity. We’re more and more interested in applications that provide services round the clock. M-commerce fits the trend. If anything, it’s a little late.
What’s next for m-commerce and my business?
Based on the practicality of M-commerce, and the current level of growth, Facebook Insights are projecting that “In 5–10 years, everyone is going to be a mobile shopper.” This takes into account the next generation, even more comfortable with mobile and smart devices.
Take note of each of the three factors measured by this graph. M-commerce is more than buying on something, it’s a purchasing process. Consumers are increasingly looking to their mobile when searching for that perfect product, let your M-site or app reflect this. Introduce review comparisons, showing that your product or service is the best available. Provide suggestion sections, just as your standard site would.
As of 2014, more people access the internet on their mobile than their computer. In April 2015, Google confirmed that more searches are performed on smartphones than computers. Google also rolled out an update to their ranking system in April, mobile friendliness is now a search result ranking signal. Your business could be missing out on hundreds of potential customers by ignoring the growth of mobile internet use, mobile internet isn’t a gamble to take, it’s the mainstream!
It’s hard to argue with Facebook Insight’s data. It makes sense that m-commerce will grow as mobile internet access surges. So what should we expect next? Maybe the most interesting aspect of the report is who conducted it – are Facebook looking to build an m-commerce platform? Social Media sites are constantly looking for new ways to evolve. They’re terrified of going the way of Myspace.
We’ve already seen the growth of ecommerce integration through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Expect to see Click to Buy buttons more and more. Companies are backing this movement, joining Facebook to keep customers’ timelines full of the latest products and services they provide. There’s no reason that this practice should be limited to the top brands; whatever the size of your business, get it on Facebook. Integrated call to action buttons suit the growth of m-commerce, users overwhelmingly access social media sites through their mobile device, whatever your industry, the service allows a simple way for people to buy, hire and contact.
In the long term, could we see Facebook provide a similar service to Amazon? It wouldn’t be too surprising. The site are always looking for ways to be useful in every area of modern life. Currently, they seem interested in news, though expect those interests to diversify. As companies flock to Facebook, the networking site will be able to build up a portfolio of services that sell through their platform. Using data collected from their users, the site could build an accurate “if you like this, try this” system. We already see it through Facebook’s targeted advertising system. Building a Facebook following now could prove vital to success in a crowded market.
You can read the full report by clicking on this handy link. Staying ahead online is proving more important by the day. You can call Digital Media Team on 0800 808 9980 or email us on email@example.com. Working with us will keep your company on the cutting edge, adapting to and seizing the new opportunities that are always arising online. To get the latest updates on Social Media, SEO and PPC, sign up to our newsletter using our MailChimp form.