How Mobile Ecommerce is Being Used in Today’s Marketplace

by Aeyne Schriber on April 18, 2012 in Mobile

The increased use of mobile devices is rapidly changing the face of how consumers prefer to interact in the global marketplace.  Everywhere you look mobile devices and smartphones are all around you so, it only stands to reasons that mobile devices are changing the ecommerce industry and how consumers prefer to conduct trade. Mobile devices offer convenient portability and have become commonplace with most consumers.  As a result, many merchants have had to rethink the way they interact with their customers.

If you are not familiar with mobile ecommerce you are not alone.  Despite the fact that many people carry around mobile devices mobile ecommerce is still in its infancy.  The information in this article will provide you with a general understanding of what mobile ecommerce is and some of the ways consumers are currently using mobile ecommerce in the marketplace.

What is Mobile Ecommerce?

Mobile ecommerce is basically ecommerce that is conducted through the use of a mobile device such as a smartphone, tablet PC, netbook, or other type of portable device.  Mobile ecommerce is also referred to as mcommerce and is conducted via a broad range of technologies which allow you to interact with merchants both in the online and offline marketplace.

Mobile ecommerce involves reaching the consumer via their mobile device as opposed to the typical ecommerce environment where you logon to the Internet, browse the Internet, and make purchases.  By using mobile ecommerce merchants can reach the consumer using a different set of marketing and retailing methods.

Regardless of the size of a business, mobile ecommerce offers retail apps which allow merchants to reach their customer base in a more customized and personalized manner.  For example, by communicating with through customer loyalty programs it makes it easier for merchants to build customer profiles that enable businesses to issue special offers which are personalized to the preferences of each individual customer.  Mobile ecommerce applications also allow merchants to accept payments via a mobile device regardless if the customer is making a purchase online or in a local retail outlet.

If you are the consumer, mobile ecommerce allows you to turn your conventional wallet into a digital wallet for making purchases, conducting banking transactions, accessing product reviews before you make a purchase, using coupons, and paying for purchases at the checkout in your local retail store.

Using a Digital Wallet

Although mobile ecommerce is still fairly new, many consumers have already opted to discard their conventional wallet in exchange for carrying a digital wallet.  People who have become very attached to their mobile device view using a digital wallet as more secure since the chances are much less of parting with your mobile device than they are for losing your traditional wallet.  Additionally, there are a lot more security measures in place when you use a digital wallet since your information is stored with an online service or an encrypted mobile device.  When you make purchases you never are required to reveal your credit card or bank account number.

When you use a digital wallet you have basically two options: 1) You can store your payment information, identification, and other important on your cell phone or, 2) You can opt to use an online payment source such as Google Wallet, Google Checkout or PayPal.  If you choose to store your information on your smartphone your device typically provides ways to secure your information from unauthorized access. Payments are processed through what is commonly known as NFC or Near Field Communications technology through the use of an NFC chip located inside your smartphone which provides a short range wireless connection.

When you purchase an item from the retailer your payment information is transmitted directly to the terminal provided by the merchant and via an NFC wireless connection.   If you opt  to use an online payment source the service provider is responsible for keeping your information secure.  With an online payment source your payment information is stored with one of these services for use with making mobile payments.

Mobile Ecommerce and Security

Mobile technology deploys what is commonly referred to as encryption in order to keep your personal identity and financial information safe.  Encryption is a method that is used to password protect your information both during storage and also during transmission.  When your information is stored on your mobile device or with an online payment system it is protected by a password.  When you choose to make a purchase encryption allows your information to be securely transmitted through the use of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology which prevents the information from being intercepted during transmission.

In the event of unauthorized access or the loss of your mobile device your information is actually easier to recover than if you lost your conventional wallet.  When you are storing your information digitally you can tell immediately if there has been unauthorized access to your accounts when you login with your password which allows you to take action right away.

If you lose your conventional wallet the process for cancelling your cards and recovering your identity is a lengthier and more time consuming. The recovery process could end up costing you money to recover your identity and could make it impossible to recover any money that you lost as a result of unauthorized access to your accounts.

From the merchant’s perspective, mobile ecommerce applications relieve the retailer of a number of liabilities.  Since you do not have to reveal your financial information to make a purchase this protects the retailer from information breaches and fraudulent transactions.  Your financial data is either stored within your mobile device or with an online payment system which saves retailers costs they would otherwise pay due to information security breaches.

Mobile Ecommerce Progress

Search engine giants such as Google and PayPal which is a subsidiary of eBay are taking key initiatives toward making mobile ecommerce a global reality.  Both of these online companies have already started leading the online marketplace by providing different options for making purchases in a secure environment without having to reveal your financial information.  Apple has also been making great strides toward getting involved in the mobile ecommerce revolution and has several solutions underway for competing in the mobile ecommerce industry.

In terms of offline retailers several companies are already implementing mobile payment systems.  Retailers such as Starbucks are already deploying Near Field Communications technology to allow customers to checkout faster and more conveniently than in the past by simply tapping their mobile phone on the payment terminal.  Although these types of payment terminals are not yet available in every location they certainly are an indication of where mobile ecommerce is headed within the next few years.

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