What is m-commerce?

Business transactions that are made using mobile devices. M-commerce may include shopping, paying bills, or other commercial activities conducted via smartphone or tablets. M-commerce is a growing retail sale segment due to the convenience, reach, and flexibility it offers to both businesses and consumers.

M-commerce (mobile commerce) is a subcategory of e-commerce and refers to commercial transactions conducted via apps and mobile sites. M-commerce is a rapidly growing landscape. Retail m-commerce sales are growing quickly — by 2023, they’re projected to account for over 43% of total sales. By 2025, they’ll account for 44%. The boom of m-commerce is a result of rising online storefronts and payment options, leading to users who are increasingly comfortable making purchases on their mobile devices.

Apps and m-commerce

In addition to the rise of mobile and the development of m-commerce, apps are rapidly changing the m-commerce landscape, making them an important element of the mobile experience. To effectively and efficiently enter the m-commerce space, companies need to ensure their consumers are able to move seamlessly through mobile experiences — including mobile web and apps.

M-commerce vs. e-commerce

While e-commerce (electronic commerce) includes all commercial transactions that take place digitally, m-commerce strictly relates to commercial transactions that take place on mobile platforms (i.e., smartphones and tablets). With the rise of m-commerce, e-commerce is more often used to specify transactions that take place on a desktop computer.

Due to the fact that e-commerce now typically refers to desktop-related transactions, some key differences between the two result in m-commerce providing more flexibility and opportunities for unique user experiences. These include:

  • Mobility: M-commerce provides far more mobility because it is conducted through handheld devices that users can take with them anywhere. On the other hand, e-commerce is better for users on desktops and laptops — devices with larger screens.
  • Location tracking: M-commerce apps provide the ability to push location-specific content and more personalized recommendations through the use of Wi-Fi and GPS-based location tracking.
  • Security: M-commerce allows companies to close gaps related to credit card misuse and fraud, making it a safer alternative to e-commerce. These additional security measures include: authorization, encryption, secure payment gateways, and fraud detection and prevention.