While we tend to think of m-commerce as 'buying stuff online', it's become so much more than that. Of course, at its core is online transactions completed over a mobile device, but have you thought of the many ways that can be achieved? Did you know that there are at least 6 different types of m-commerce services and applications? As businesses fight to compete in the m-commerce industry - and develop crucial strategies around mobile success - we're taking a look at 6 types of m-commerce services everyone should be aware of. Because while m-commerce has become an everyday part of consumers' lives, we might not realise how many types of m-commerce we're familiar with...
What are the types of m-commerce?
1). Mobile banking
Making payments over your phone has become user-friendly and pretty commonplace for most consumers. Banks have had to up their game in terms of providing convenient and efficient mobile banking apps. But m-commerce mobile banking doesn't only refer to your FNB app. It's being able to check out on apps like Takealot, using anything from a debit card to Payfast, SnapScan or your eBucks. And, with a payment app like Google Pay or Apple Pay, your smartphone becomes your wallet.
Informative tech and media company TechFunnel suggests businesses with a physical presence make sure customers can check out via an m-commerce app. And online businesses should offer clients an m-commerce option to check their account. Either way, m-commerce finance and payments should be a priority.
2). Retail and catalogue
This is also a familiar type of m-commerce. Most consumers got used to the idea of shopping online last year, and shopping on your mobile takes this to a new level of convenience. M-commerce is changing the way retail and wholesale businesses run their operations. A simple catalogue m-commerce app allows consumers to brows items online, then either go in store to purchase or complete the order online.
The next step in the m-commerce retail evolution is providing customers with a 'try before you buy' option. With developments in augmented reality, you can superimpose anything from furniture to spectacles to see how it looks in real life. IKEA is already on-board with this idea, as their latest mobile app allows you to design entire rooms from home, with your phone. This improves customer experience, and reduces the number of returns businesses see.
You wouldn't necessarily think of using an m-commerce platform to boost brand awareness and marketing, but it can be an efficient and unobtrusive solution. With location-based services, you can contact potential customers whenever they're in your vicinity. If you own a coffee shop or grocery store, this could be a way to get people in the doors when they didn't know they needed that 2pm caffeine pick-me-up. And, with push notifications, your m-commerce app can be used to alert customers to flash sales, new stock or discount coupons. This type of m-commerce service works for you, too.
4). Ticket and boarding services
We've probably used this type of m-commerce service many times, but you might not have realised this was the industry you were participating in. Companies have been using m-commerce solutions to make anything from boarding a flight to verifying concert tickets more convenient. When was the last time you needed a printed boarding pass? With these services, phones become keys to the world. Not only is it less hassle for your customers, but the environmentally-friendly factor could be the boost your company needs.
5). Games and entertainment
With an augmented-reality landscape in mobile apps, gamers can be part of universes they've come to love. Think of the popular Pokémon Go and Harry Potter games. And you can make money with this type of m-commerce by creating in-app purchases or by selling advertising space and time. In terms of entertainment, m-commerce gives you access to everything from the latest pop releases on Spotify to movie trailers and live sport. And, according to marketingdive.com, entertainment brands use m-commerce 2x more than other verticals. So there's money to be made here, for sure.
An exciting type of m-commerce service is starting to revolutionise the healthcare and wellness industry. There are so many opportunities in healthcare m-commerce apps, from pharmacy-specific solutions to virtual consultations and booking calendars. As a result of the pandemic, the Lancet Labs Mobile app saw a significant number of downloads, as users were eager to get test results. We've also seen updates to the Dis-Chem app that allows users to book appointments, shop online and update prescriptions. And Hello Doctor aims to give you instant access to doctors anytime, anywhere. While some of these apps have experienced glitches, the ideas and technology is there. And, hopefully, developments in this area of m-commerce make medical care more accessible to more people.
No matter what type of m-commerce fits your business, the focus should be on making it easy for customers to do research and complete transactions online. These two factors promise business growth and increased revenue. Even companies that conduct most business in store should make mobile payment options available. To remain competitive, you need to offer customers a unique mobile experience. As TechFunnel says, finding your m-commerce niche is an important way to stay connected to customers. And happier customers lead to new business and more revenue.