What is M-Commerce? Uncovering Mobile Shopping

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In recent years, the concept of m-commerce has become more familiar to many people. Alongside the growth of E-commerce, m-commerce is an interesting and promising field for those who want to try their hand at business as it offers great potential right before your eyes. Let’s find out the answer to what is m-commerce? and explore mobile shopping to see if it’s indeed a wise investment.

Table of Contents


Let’s start by getting to know what exactly is m-commerce, and how is it different from the famous E-commerce industry.

Definition and explanation of m-commerce


What is m-commerce? M-commerce (mobile commerce) refers to any business transactions (buying/ selling) via mobile sites or apps. In other words, mobile commerce can be considered as a subcategory of e-commerce or its mobile version. The m-commerce sector is experiencing rapid growth, with the proportion of digital transactions occurring on mobile devices steadily rising each year. As the convenience of mobile shopping increases and smartphone and tablet access expands globally, the potential for mobile-based purchases continues to surge. In summary, m-commerce involves purchasing and selling products using mobile devices.

Types of m-commerce

To know more specifically what is m-commerce, you need to learn how many types it hass. Though m-commerce includes a broad spectrum of transactions, they can all be classified into one of three types:

Mobile shopping

This form of m-commerce lets you view products and services on your mobile device. You can apps or mobile websites that were designed to work well on your phone just like on a desktop. You can check out different items to buy, compare them, and order them right on your phone.

Mobile banking

With mobile banking, you can easily perform banking transactions anywhere, anytime via mobile devices, eliminating the need to turn on a big computer or go to the bank in person. Different banks offer different services, but usually, you can pay bills, send money, check balances and deposits, or move money between accounts.

Mobile payment

Mobile payment

Mobile payments allow you to pay using a mobile wallet. This means you don’t need cash or a credit card. You can also send money using a card connected to your phone.

Mobile person-to-person

This part of m-commerce is all about sending money to your friends. You can send cash straight to their phone number or bank account. It’s an easy way to move money around between friends.

E-commerce vs. m-commerce

E-commerce vs. M-commerce

E-commerce is a broad term for doing online business. It involves various aspects like sharing information, talking to customers, making deals, completing transactions, receiving payments, and managing deliveries.

Communication is super important in e-commerce. According to CNBC, by 2025, almost three-quarters of people who use the internet will do it mainly with their phones. So, communication now depends a lot on mobile devices.

People expect to use their phones to buy things. That’s why mobile commerce, or m-commerce, exists. It’s like a part of e-commerce that focuses on online shopping on mobile devices.

M-commerce is all about making sure people have a good shopping experience on their phones. It’s becoming more and more important, and some folks even call it “mobile e-commerce.” The key point is that m-commerce wants to make shopping on mobile devices to the next level so more people purchase online. If you run an online store, this trend is definitely an essential aspect.

Now that you get the idea let’s dig into m-commerce. How does it improve efficiency?

Key components of m-commerce

Exploring and purchasing

Users engage in mobile commerce by browsing mobile apps and navigating mobile websites to make purchases. This typically involves using dedicated shopping apps or even shopping through social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Convenient buys

M-commerce extends beyond traditional retail. It facilitates ordering food, groceries, or booking rides with ride-sharing services, enhancing overall convenience.

Using mobile apps and digital wallets

Mobile shopping often involves various payment methods, with digital wallets gaining popularity. Instead of repeatedly entering credit card information, users can utilize digital wallets for quick and secure transactions.

Getting digital stuff (buying and renting)

Many people use mobile devices for subscription services, such as music and video streaming on platforms like Netflix and Spotify. Users pay a subscription fee to access a vast library of digital content directly through mobile apps.

M-commerce Pros and Cons

Everything has two sides, and m-commerce is no exception. However, based on its specific pros and cons, we can assess whether this field is worth investing in, whether it meets our needs without significant drawbacks, or whether its negatives don’t affect our personal goals. Let’s find out!


Personalized customer experiences

M-commerce allows businesses to collect and analyze customer data via AI tools, enabling personalized experiences and targeted discounts. The collected data like purchase history and location, can all contribute to segmenting customers, helping the brands understand their clients more specifically and come up with better strategies to attract them.

Two-way convenience

Users can shop from anywhere using mobile devices, and businesses can engage with customers virtually, even outside of regular store hours.

Mobile wallets and credit card integration also offer customers more choices to pay for their purchases, making it more flexible and convenient.

Boosts customer retention

Customer attention

The potential of m-commerce to generate individualized client experiences and improve communication can assist businesses in retaining consumers. It usually costs more to retain a customer than to acquire a new one, so this method actually saves a lot of expenses for brands. Additionally, high customer retention also brings more revenue and sales cause loyal clients usually make more frequent purchases.

Enhanced customer communication

M-commerce offers an opportunity to enhance customer communication, either in tandem with or as a replacement for other communication channels like email. By leveraging mobile platforms that customers are already accustomed to, businesses can make their websites mobile-friendly and tap into popular social media platforms.

This enables brands to interact with their customers and send notifications about new products. Furthermore, customers can provide immediate feedback, providing valuable insights for businesses to enhance the customer experience.

Omnichannel experiences

Omnichannel, a term denoting transactions across various channels, is facilitated by m-commerce. Businesses can leverage multiple channels to connect with their customers, including physical stores and online platforms. For instance, customers who face geographical constraints or other limitations accessing physical stores can conveniently shop, order products, and make payments through mobile platforms.

Precision in targeted marketing

Targeted Marketing

M-commerce equips brands with the tools to craft precision-targeted marketing campaigns tailored to specific audiences and times. By harnessing consumer data and purchase history, businesses can create highly effective advertisements that motivate customers to make purchases. This personalized approach often results in increased sales revenue, as customers are more likely to respond positively to tailored advertisements.

Easy inventory management

M-commerce empowers businesses to streamline their inventory management processes. This capability allows stores to identify which products require replenishment and which items are slow-moving. Consequently, this information can inform strategic decision-making, enabling companies to invest in products that align with customer preferences.

Insightful customer data

Mobile commerce excels in collecting and analyzing consumer data, offering deeper insights into the customer journey. In contrast, traditional brick-and-mortar retail often captures limited details about customers, mainly when they make purchases.

With m-commerce, businesses engage with customers from the moment they start browsing products through their consideration phase to the final purchase. These interactions provide valuable signals, offering insights into purchase intent and order fulfillment.

Enhanced scalability and agility

M-commerce bestows upon businesses the capacity to scale their operations swiftly and efficiently across various facets, including marketing and inventory management. Businesses can leverage m-commerce to bolster automation and enhance customer support systems. This scalability and agility also empower companies to adapt swiftly to evolving market dynamics, ensuring they remain competitive.

Optimal timing

M-commerce enables businesses to engage with customers precisely when they are most likely to convert. Advanced advertising technology, considering factors like demographics and geographical location, empowers businesses to connect with customers at the opportune moment, increasing the likelihood of completing a purchase.

Fast browsing and transactions

People say that time is money, so providing customers with products and services that meet their interest and need is not enough, you need to pay attention to your business speed as well. Offering swift transactions is one of the biggest points to get your client happy, which is also a driving force to the m-commerce industry growth.

In the m-commerce realm, shopping app processing speeds are much faster than websites. In case you’re not able to build an app yet, consider using the PWA storefront tech to change your site into an app-like interface with great features such as

  • Simple installation
  • Push notifications
  • Add to the home screen
  • Full responsiveness
  • Self-updates
  • Offline work mode
  • Security
  • Faster speed leads


Intense competitive marketplace


In recent years, numerous enterprises have redirected their efforts towards investing in and achieving success in the realm of mobile commerce. If you embark on this journey today, you will undoubtedly encounter a vast sea of established competitors. As a store owner, it becomes imperative to identify a distinct and well-defined target market or niche segment to gain a competitive edge.

Customer privacy

As customers grant increased access to their personal data, mobile commerce enterprises shoulder heightened responsibility for safeguarding this sensitive information. It becomes imperative for your company and its collaborators to adhere rigorously to stringent user data protection protocols. Moreover, transparent communication with customers is vital, explicitly outlining the methods, purposes, and storage practices related to their data.

Ad fraud vulnerability

Ad fraud consistently looms as a significant concern within the mobile commerce domain. Astonishingly, a substantial proportion of businesses remain ill-equipped to effectively combat this peril. As reported by HuffPost, over 60% of marketers openly admit to a lack of preparedness in thwarting fraud in the realm of mobile marketing.

Businesses must diligently ensure compliance with industry standards such as those set forth by the Media Rating Council (MRC) and the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG). This initial step demonstrates to customers a proactive commitment to addressing mobile ad fraud and implementing measures to mitigate its impact.

Not personalized connection

Both online shopping and mobile commerce continue to grapple with a perceived lack of personalization. Consequently, businesses are diligently striving to forge deeper connections with their customer base. Initiatives such as delivering personalized messages or rewards based on individual characteristics like birthdates and preferences emerge as pivotal strategies to foster a stronger sense of belonging and appreciation among customers.

To surmount these challenges, it is essential to perceive mobile commerce as a complementary enhancement to the traditional shopping experience rather than a complete replacement. A highly effective approach involves prioritizing the development of a mobile-first website or a dedicated shopping mobile app. This enables businesses to establish direct connections with consumers, setting them apart from competitors. Furthermore, the user-friendly interfaces of mobile sites and apps empower businesses with valuable customer purchase data, facilitating the precise timing and messaging required to engage customers effectively. Data analysis also plays a pivotal role in scaling operations and exploring new markets.


Here are some crucial recommendations for effectively utilizing m-commerce:

  • Faster Loading Times: Improve loading times for your site or app. Swift loading can encourage users to explore your platform further and make purchases.
  • Streamlined User Experience: Simplify the user experience by removing any unnecessary barriers on your site or app. This enhances speed and convenience, making it easier for users to complete transactions.
  • Mobile Optimization: Ensure your platform is optimized for mobile devices. Customers are more inclined to engage with a business that offers a seamless and user-friendly shopping experience on their mobile devices.
  • Responsive Web Design: Implement a responsive web design that automatically adjusts your site’s layout, images, and elements to suit various screen sizes on users’ devices.
  • Thorough Testing: Conduct comprehensive testing on your m-commerce platform to assess its usability across different devices. Identifying and rectifying potential user experience issues is vital.
  • Leverage Social Media: Integrate social media platforms into your website and applications. This boosts traffic and leads to increased sales for your business.
  • Invest in Security: Consider investing in a robust data security system to safeguard customer information and build trust in your m-commerce platform.
  • Mobile Payment Options: Offer customers various mobile payment methods to enable seamless transactions without the need to leave your site or application.

Real-world examples of successful m-commerce businesses

Now that you have understand what is m-commerce and its benefits & drawbacks, let’s examine some real-world examples to see how brands are utilizing this technology effectively.

Zappos mobile commerce

Zappos has leveraged mobile commerce to enhance the customer experience. In 2014, they introduced an upgraded mobile app with a strong focus on personalization.


Ask Zappos

This tool assists online shoppers in product discovery. When users find a product they like, they can interact with Ask Zappos in three ways:

  • Snap a quick picture and upload it to Zappos Ask.
  • Share it on Instagram with the #AskZappos hashtag.
  • Send an email or SMS directly to Ask Zappos.

The Ask Zappos team then conducts research and provides users with recommendations regarding where to buy, pricing details, and directions.

Ask Zappos


This feature, available on iOS 8 and above, enables users to seamlessly transition between their Apple devices. For example, they can start searching for products on their iPhone and continue the process on their MacBook or iPad from where they left off.

Original Card Reader

Zappos offers a secure and convenient card reader feature that eliminates the need for users to repeatedly enter their credit card details. Importantly, it doesn’t store payment or card information on users’ mobile devices, ensuring the safety of their financial data even if their phone is lost.

Curated Collections

Recognizing the value of convenience, Zappos introduces curated collections. These collections, curated by Glance and featuring Zappos stylists, bring together the best products from the mobile-friendly web app. They are designed based on upcoming events, such as holidays and the latest trends, and are partly influenced by customers’ purchase history and preferences. Customers have the option to purchase all or selected products from these collections.

Sensor Tower reports that the Zappos app sees an impressive 40,000 monthly downloads. This not only delivers shoes but also provides a delightful shopping experience, contributing to customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Kohl’s mobile commerce


With the ambition of becoming the most engaging retailer in the United States, Kohl’s is committed to providing an exceptional omnichannel shopping experience. To achieve this goal, Kohl’s has placed a strong emphasis on enhancing the ease and personalization of its shopping experience, both in physical stores and online.

As part of this strategy, Kohl’s has undertaken a redesign of its mobile commerce website to optimize the online shopping process for customers, whether they prefer to shop online or in brick-and-mortar stores. This redesign represents a true fusion of traditional in-store shopping and mobile commerce, with key features including:

Omnichannel Capability

Customers have the flexibility to make purchases via their mobile devices, access delivery tracking on their desktop computers, or select a convenient location for in-store pickup.

Diverse Mobile Payment Options

In addition to offering Apple Pay, Kohl’s is actively developing its own digital mobile wallet, known as “Kohl’s Pay.” Setting itself apart from other mobile payment solutions that rely on contactless NFC technology, Kohl’s Pay enables users to scan a QR code using their mobile camera to complete transactions securely.

This transformation in mobile commerce aligns with the evolving retail landscape, particularly in light of social distancing measures.

Google has reported interesting mobile commerce stats:

Future trends

A significant 63% of smartphone users prefer purchasing through mobile websites or applications that provide personalized product recommendations based on their interests.

51% of users show a preference for utilizing mobile applications when it comes to shopping or browsing on their mobile devices.

In light of these findings, it’s clear that businesses should equip themselves with the necessary technologies to adapt to the expanding realm of mobile commerce. To assist you in this endeavor, here are seven prominent mobile commerce trends that are poised to dominate in 2021:

  • Mobile Apps and Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)
  • One-Click Ordering
  • Social Commerce
  • Voice Commerce
  • Mobile Chatbots
  • Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
  • Mobile Payments


There’s no need for anyone to convince you of the significance of mobile commerce. Chances are, you’re currently reading this article on your mobile device or conducting daily shopping activities through your mobile. That should be the best proof of m-commerce’s importance, and we can all see how the world has shifted to mobile convenience. So, the longer you hesitate, the more competitors you’ll face. Don’t miss the opportunity!

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Summer Nguyen
Marketing Manager of Mageplaza. Summer is attracted by new things. She loves writing, travelling and photography. Perceives herself as a part-time gymmer and a full-time dream chaser.
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