Mobile Commerce vs. eCommerce and Why You Need Both to Grow Your Revenue

phone with a store interior to represent mobile commerce

In the past few years, the term mCommerce or mobile commerce has become somewhat of a buzzword. But what does it actually mean? How does it differ from eCommerce, and how can you combine the two to build an effective revenue generation strategy for your online store?

Focusing on mCommerce means more than just making sure your website and online store are optimized for mobile devices. To be successful in attracting and converting today’s online buyers, marketers need both a robust eCommerce and mCommerce strategy.

So let’s dive in. Join us for a discussion of the nuances of both eCommerce and mCommerce, including the benefits of a strong mCommerce strategy and some crucial tips to get started.

eCommerce and mCommerce, Defined

We know eCommerce as a business model focused around selling goods and services online, with transactions occurring in a virtual environment rather than the traditional brick-and-mortar alternative. Mobile commerce is a subsection of that broader concept, typically defined as “…using wireless handheld devices like cellphones and tablets to conduct commercial transactions online, including the purchase and sale of products.”

Beyond that broad definition, mobile commerce generally splits into three categories relevant to both merchants and consumers:

  • Mobile payment apps, like PayPal, Venmo, and Apple Pay used either in online stores or in brick-and-mortar locations.
  • Mobile commerce apps, like Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and others. Think eCommerce merchants large enough that they can support both a web store and app-based store.
  • Social commerce, which involves brands being able to offer their products directly through platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

As might be expected by the increasing ubiquity of mobile devices and especially smartphones over the past decade, mCommerce is quickly growing in popularity and revenue opportunities. According to one estimate, mCommerce transactions will surpass $430 billion this year in the United States alone – a 21.5% increase over 2021.

The Differences Between eCommerce and mCommerce

Though it might be a subsection of eCommerce, mobile commerce comes with a number of nuances that are important for digital merchants and online stores to keep in mind. The most important difference lies in the user experience; users buying products on their smartphones need a fast-loading website or app, visually-based design, and as few clicks as possible to make a purchase.

Other differences, though, are just as important to keep in mind:

  • Mobile commerce users tend to prefer payment apps that don’t require any manual entry of credit card information.
  • mCommerce optimizations can include more in-depth security measures to keep user information safe, such as Face ID and fingerprint scanning.

These differences, in turn, make it crucial to take steps beyond simply creating a responsive design for your website. A competitive online store that effectively reaches all segments of your target audience requires a robust, integrated eCommerce and mCommerce strategy.

man using phone and credit card for mobile commerce

The Benefits of a Strong mCommerce Strategy

In addition to its basic necessity due to changing user needs, creating a strong mCommerce strategy also comes with a few other important benefits for online merchants:

  • Offering your products via app or social media creates more potential purchasing channels for your audience, meeting them on their terms rather than forcing them to your website only.
  • App-based tracking offers additional data on your customers, allowing for more targeted messaging to convert and retain them.
  • mCommerce allows the integration of additional messaging channels, like chatbots, which allow you to reach your audience more effectively and on the channels of their choice.

Of course, these benefits are only relevant if you can actually build that strategy, and integrate it into your larger eCommerce marketing strategy. Let’s dive into that process.

5 Tips to Develop an Integrated eCommerce and mCommerce Strategy

Ready to get started? The good news is that you don’t need to build a new eCommerce and mCommerce strategy from scratch. Instead, review your existing eCommerce strategy for potential insertion and integration points where you can optimize the mobile experience for your customers. These 5 tips can help you get started.

1. Build a Strong Common Foundation

Integration means making sure that the foundation of your marketing and business strategy is just right. Your value proposition, positioning, and branding should all be in place before adding mobile-specific considerations like channel mix or payment systems. Review the foundations of your strategy to ensure they align with your audience insights and business goals, so they can easily be adopted and implemented in all of your mobile-facing efforts.

2. Choose Your mCommerce Channels Based on Audience Needs

It might be a subsection of eCommerce, but mobile commerce is still broad in its own right. Optimizing your strategy for mobile users doesn’t mean taking on all of the potential opportunities. Instead, it means understanding what those opportunities are, then implementing only those relevant for your specific audience, industry, and niche.

For example, fashion brands have found social commerce to be especially effective in reaching their audience, especially using visual channels like Instagram. But brands selling high-value goods with low purchase volume will likely find more success on their website or app, in more secure owned channels.

Your audience also influences which promotional channels might point to those purchase points. Email, texting, and the above-mentioned chatbots may all be relevant for mobile audiences.

3. Simplify the Checkout Process

The checkout experience is among the most common pain points for mobile shoppers. Every step you can take to simplify it will increase your conversion rates from users on smartphones and tablets.

For example, integrating one-click purchasing options via payment apps can avoid lengthy typing sessions on small screens. Multiple screens with simple information, rather than a large scrolling checkout screen, can also help. Simpler is almost always better for mobile users.

4. Build a Mobile-First UX Strategy

Especially if your customers use both desktop and mobile devices, it may be tempting to treat mobile considerations as an add-on to your overall user experience planning. In reality, the reverse should be the case. Designing your website content, visuals, navigation, and even your load time should all come with your mobile users in mind, knowing that the same benefits will extend to desktop users as well. Google has already made the same switch, for the same reasons.

5. Work with an Experienced Partner

Finally, it’s important to remember that you’re not on your own. Accounting for mobile users in your eCommerce efforts may seem overwhelming at first, thanks to all the nuances you’ll have to keep in mind. Finding a partner to help you navigate those nuances can go a long way towards building a strong, integrated mobile and eCommerce strategy.

That’s where we come in. Future Holidays has a strong history and expertise in creating engaging eCommerce experiences for brands looking to reach their audience and extend into the mobile realm. Ready to talk, and begin to account for this ever-growing segment of the eCommerce industry? Contact us today.