M-Commerce: What Is It and Should You Care?

It would be an understatement to say that the way we work and conduct business online has changed drastically in the past decade. Today’s web caters less to traditional PC users and more to smartphone and tablet owners. This unfolding shift is having a major impact on e-commerce. As web users become increasingly mobile, the importance of so-called m-commerce to digital retailers likewise increases. If you’re not yet familiar with the latest tech buzzword du jour, it would behoove you to become well-acquainted with it in a hurry.

Defining M-Commerce
Basically, m-commerce is an umbrella term that refers to either e-commerce marketing or financial transactions conducted online using hand-held mobile devices. Hundreds of millions of people around the world engage in m-commerce every day when they buy something on Amazon or send money via PayPal using a tablet or smartphone. As such, m-commerce is merely the extension of e-commerce practices to a wider array of web-capable computing machines. As you’ll see shortly, it’s quickly becoming the preferred way to do business online for both buyers and sellers alike.

The Importance of M-Commerce
On the web, consumers follow the path of least resistance when it comes to finding and purchasing services or goods. Consequently, it’s important for merchants to not only be visible to mobile buyers but to make their purchases as hassle-free as possible. A mobile site optimized for m-commerce is therefor a must-have for SMBs as well as major companies. Fielding m-commerce sites that accept many different payment methods is critical to the mobile success of said businesses. In addition, promoting those sites to get in front of the right consumer demographics is equally crucial.

Why M-Commerce Will Dominate the Future Web
There’s no doubt that in a few years time, most commercial transactions online will be conducted from mobile machines. In 2012 alone, 31% of all web traffic in the United States was mobile. All told, that traffic resulted in nearly $25 billion in sales. The global m-commerce pie will be worth $120 billion by 2015 at a minimum according to the best estimates. As the developing world adopts smartphones, we’ll see even more rapid m-commerce growth. Even in rural Africa, the mobile-based M-Pesa is currently the preferred way to bank online.

Staying Ahead of the Curve
If you’re not already on board with M-commerce, you need to get up to speed with it quickly. Start by ensuring that potential customers can buy from you either on your m-commerce site or through an app. Then use location-aware social media to promote your mobile storefront. You shouldn’t be afraid of the challenges that m-commerce presents. Rather, you should get on the ball and incorporate it into your overall strategy. In all likelihood, your success with m-commerce will determine whether or not your business survives in the long run.