E-Commerce VS M-Commerce: What's The Difference?

For years, we've been hearing about and participating in the boom of e-commerce. To the extent that few people still go from store to store in a shopping mall to buy the various things they need. Shopping online has provided unmatched convenience to purchasing anything from groceries and clothing to appliances. And, in the wake of COVID-19, e-commerce has only grown. Now, however, there seems to be a new(ish) kid on the block that we must get used to. The retail tech trend known as m-commerce has absolutely taken off. If you want to know more about this convenient way of completing transactions, we've got a few insights that might help. First up, understanding the difference between e-commerce and m-commerce...



E-commerce vs m-commerce


What is m-commerce?

In unpacking the definition of m-commerce, you should first understand the basics of e-commerce. And it's a simple enough concept to explain. E-commerce is the action of purchasing products electronically over the Internet, or on online services. M-commerce - or mobile commerce - is a complementary action where this electronic transaction takes place via a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet. The term was originally coined back in 1997 by Kevin Duffey, who explained m-commerce as "a retail outlet in your best customer's pocket."



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The similarities

Of course, there will be similarities between e-commerce and m-commerce, as the one is essentially a subset of the other. Both refer to online transactions, with m-commerce functioning as a specific type of e-commerce with the transaction taking place on a mobile device. And both offer an effortless shopping experience. But, while people tend to think of m-commerce as 'buying stuff on mobile, it's become so much more than that. M-commerce has given rise to new industries such as ticket and boarding services, information services, mobile banking and in-app services. But it wouldn't be nearly as successful without the support of e-commerce.



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The differences

When talking about e-commerce vs m-commerce, the differences provide a bit more to dig into. Most e-commerce transactions are completed on a computer or laptop, while m-commerce relies on handheld devices like smartphones. And, more specifically, the apps on those smartphones. While e-commerce has limited reachability - the user has to be seated in front of a laptop - m-commerce can reach a wide range of users even when they're on the go. Push notifications alert them to anything from flash sales to new updates. All you need is an Internet connection.



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Mobile commerce offers users an even more convenient way to shop and complete transactions than traditional e-commerce. With mobile apps, user experience is a crucial element and can be optimized for as few taps-on-screen as possible. This kind of detail is harder to navigate on a website platform. You also have increased security when shopping on a mobile app, because you're protected by the web security as well as built-in mobile security features. And, while some desktop or e-commerce stores only provide credit card payment options, mobile apps can be built to include various payment gateways from mobile banking to PayPal and in-app credits.



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Why the future is mobile

This industry doesn't seem to be slowing down. If anything, the mobile-first approach is set to transform the way we do things both personally and in business. Recent research predicts that m-commerce will account for over 70% of all e-commerce sales in the year 2021. With mobile payments becoming the second most popular payment method after debit cards.

It was only natural for m-commerce to emerge as a progression of e-commerce. And, while it may take a few years to develop - techwise - there's nothing stopping m-commerce from becoming the most popular and convenient way to shop and complete transactions. The future is mobile.


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If you want to bring your business into the m-commerce game, we have some ideas that might help. Contact us to find out about our custom m-commerce app development services. Because whether you want a mobile app for your start-up or streamlined m-commerce app for a big business, we have a solution to suit you.

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