In this article

How many times a day do you check your smartphone? 

Research shows Americans spend four hours and 25 minutes each day on their smartphones, and more than half admit they are addicted. From texting to checking notifications to scrolling through apps, smartphones play an integral role in many people's daily lives.

This isn't shocking given the convenience and flexibility that smartphones and other mobile devices provide. Smartphone and tablet users can text, call, email, browse, stream, shop, transact and play from anywhere, underscoring the need for organizations to get their mobile experience right. 

With mobile commerce sales expected to reach $710 billion by 2025, it's a no-brainer for organizations to prioritize "m-commerce" as part of their customer experience (CX) strategy to drive growth and customer engagement. 

In this article, we'll explore the concept of m-commerce, its benefits and the key trends shaping m-commerce experiences today. 

What is mobile commerce?

Mobile commerce, also known as m-commerce, involves any online transaction on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. According to Forbes, 91 percent of people use their smartphones to make online purchases. 

The most common types of m-commerce include: 

  • Website-based purchases
  • In-app purchases
  • Mobile banking
  • Digital payments and mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet and Samsung Pay
  • Mobile ticketing

M-commerce, which falls under the umbrella of e-commerce, is one component of a holistic unified commerce strategy. It is a crucial engagement channel for many organizations because it allows customers to interact with brands from anywhere and make instant purchases.

Benefits of m-commerce

Mobile commerce allows customers to transact with ease while also equipping an organization's employees with more data and opportunities to drive conversion. Here are a few reasons to prioritize the m-commerce experience at your organization:  

  • Enable borderless business: M-commerce allows organizations to break down geographical barriers across their customer base and expand their market reach into untapped audiences. No longer do customers need to be located near a brick-and-mortar location to place an order, book a reservation or request services. Everything is available at their fingertips.
  • Leverage mobile analytics for operational intelligence: Mobile commerce is a great engagement channel for e-commerce and CX leaders to collect, track and monitor customer data and identify insights into behaviors and patterns. These insights can be used to optimize marketing campaigns, personalize experiences and offers, and make informed business decisions.
  • Drive customer loyalty: With more customer insights and mobile data on hand, organizations can build meaningful customer relationships through hyper-personalized experiences, targeted promotions and rewards programs.
  • Capitalize on impulse purchases: Mobile commerce provides customers with instant access to products and services so they can make purchases wherever and whenever they want. Organizations that have optimized their m-commerce experience can deliver personalized push notifications, seamless checkout processes and social commerce integrations to drive sales and customer conversions.

Like any digital channel, m-commerce experiences are constantly evolving to better meet customers' expectations and needs. E-commerce and CX leaders should consider the following m-commerce trends to provide a more seamless experience to their customers.

Mobile-first design 

One size does not fit all when it comes to mobile commerce versus desktop commerce experiences. Smartphone screens are much smaller than laptop and desktop screens, so it's imperative that organizations adapt mobile experiences accordingly. 

According to Retail Dive, 23 percent of American shoppers don't make smartphone purchases because their screens are too small for shopping. Another survey by Dynamic Yield revealed a major obstacle to mobile conversions is pages and links too small to click on. 

E-commerce and CX leaders can overcome these m-commerce hurdles by ensuring their mobile websites and apps are easy to navigate and designed with an intuitive interface. This means implementing smart search functionality so the right results populate the first time a customer searches, easy-to-click buttons, image zoom capabilities, and adequate text size for relaxed reading and browsing. 

One-touch payments

When customers must re-enter their shipping and billing information during checkout, it can be cumbersome and frustrating. In fact, a primary reason for cart abandonment is lengthy, complicated checkout processes. 

To ensure a speedy transaction process, many organizations are implementing one-touch payments for m-commerce. This could mean allowing customers to securely store their payment information within an organization's mobile app or integrating with their smartphone's digital wallet so they can make purchases without manually typing in their information. Other solutions to reduce cart abandonment include guest checkout options and auto-fill forms for shipping information. 

Real-time intelligence and personalization

M-commerce can give organizations a wealth of valuable customer data and insights into buying patterns. These data insights can be used to deliver personalized offers, promotions and push notifications in the moments that matter. 

For example, we helped Schnucks, one of the largest Midwestern grocery chains, create more personalized shopping experiences for their customers by delivering relevant content, products and savings based on buying behavior and history via its mobile app. The app also allows customers to scan QR codes in-store to search for additional promotions and light up the electronic shelf label (ESL) of the item they are shopping for.

Another example involved a popular internet radio platform. We helped the client transform its legacy streaming platform into a robust, data-centric technology platform that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to deliver rich, hyper-personalized experiences for listeners.

By leveraging m-commerce data, organizations can create tailored m-commerce experiences that set their brand apart from the rest. 

Augmented reality to enhance m-commerce

Augmented reality (AR) has gained traction in many areas of the CX and employee experience, from immersive training to virtual meetings and gaming. AR is also a powerful tool for elevating m-commerce experiences and eliminating barriers to purchase by showing customers what a product will look like in real life without having to visit a storefront. 

IKEA is a great example of leveraging AR in mobile commerce. Using IKEA's mobile app, users can virtually place 3-D renderings of furniture and other products in their spaces before purchasing. This allows them to see the size, color and style of an item to confirm it meets their needs. Another example of a brand delivering an excellent AR experience in m-commerce is Warby Parker. The online glasses retailer leverages AR in its mobile app to allow customers to virtually try on glasses so they can see how certain frames, textures and colors will look on their faces.  

These are just a few examples of how AR can optimize the m-commerce experience. There are many other ways leaders can apply this technology to create fresh, innovative experiences for their customers. 

Order tracking

Transparency and visibility are key to a great CX. Organizations can incorporate these principles into their m-commerce experience by implementing features like order tracking. Once an order is placed, customers can view the expected shipping and arrival date or time of their order, know where their order is currently located in the process, and be alerted of potential delays.

Companies like Amazon, UPS and FedEx have offered order-tracking capabilities in their m-commerce experiences for years, allowing customers to track their packages from start to finish. However, the concept of order tracking can also be applied to organizations, like quick-serve restaurants (QSR), delivering "non-traditional" packages.

For example, we helped Little Caesars transform their kitchens and CX by implementing a pizza tracker in their mobile app that allows customers to track their orders from store to door.

Get started with mobile commerce

By 2024, there will be more than 187 million active U.S. mobile shoppers (roughly two-thirds of the American population). Organizations across industries — retail, banking, healthcare, travel, hospitality and more — have a massive opportunity to drive customer growth and revenue through seamless m-commerce experiences.

Whether you are adding m-commerce as part of your e-commerce environment or struggling to optimize your existing experience, we can help. From strategy through execution, our team is skilled in delivering CX strategies that include m-commerce as a key pillar for success. Reach out today to learn more or explore the related resources below.