Mobile Commerce: Everything a Retailer Needs to Know

Nick Rojas
Nick Rojas
Guest Contributor

As mobile commerce rapidly grows as a popular means for shoppers to purchase services and goods, it’s become extremely important for retailers to understand what it is, why it works, and how it works, for if you do not understand mobile commerce, your brand could struggle in the not-so-distant future.

If you are in retail, chances are you have heard the term mobile commerce before. In layman’s terms, mobile commerce is defined as the process of buying or selling products and/or services with the use of internet data via wireless handheld devices, such as cell phones or personal digital assistants (PDA’s). Although there is a good chance you have heard the term before, you may not know how important it actually is for a retailer. According to a 2018 study, 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone. Of those 77 percent, 79 percent of them made a purchase on their mobile device in the past six months. Because of these statistics, it is very easy to understand why it is important for a retailer to keep up with the latest technologies and digital transformations in mobile commerce.

Mobile commerce is one of the fastest growing ways in which Americans make purchases and therefore, is extremely important to understand if you are in the retail business. In this article, I will explain everything you need to know about mobile commerce so that you don’t fall behind!

Why Is Mobile Commerce Important?

According to statistics, mobile commerce sales accounted for 34.5 percent of all e-commerce sales in 2017, and that number is only going to go up. Some experts believe that by the year 2021, that number will be as high as 54 percent. Due to the fact more and more people are buying through smart devices, it is crucial for retailers to fully understand this topic. Failure to do so could potentially result in negatively impacting your business’ bottom line.

Why Do Consumers Choose Mobile Commerce?

Speaking from a consumer’s perspective, there are many benefits of mobile commerce. As a retailer, it is important to understand why so many people choose to buy things on their mobile devices. Limiting yourself to just understanding the numbers and not the reason why the numbers are the way that they are, is doing yourself a disservice. Below are the two main reasons why consumers choose mobile commerce:

  • Convenience. When given a choice, most people will choose the easier option given the result is the exact same. For example, if you had the choice to either buy a plane ticket at home on your smartphone or go to the airport and buy one, most people would choose to buy it at home as opposed to going to the airport. This type of convenience is one of the main reasons why mobile commerce has exploded in the last 20 years.
  • Payment Flexibility. When you physically go to a store, there are often only two options you have to purchase whatever you are trying to buy. You can either use cash or a card. When buying things on your mobile device, your options are doubled. You can use many different payment methods when checking out on your mobile device, but some of the most popular are Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, Visa checkout, and PayPal one-touch. As a retailer, making sure your mobile website has these methods of payment available is extremely important because if you don’t, you are depriving your customers of a huge reason why they choose mobile commerce in the first place.

The Struggles of Mobile Commerce

Although I would argue the benefits of mobile commerce outweigh the cost, that doesn’t mean there are no struggles when dealing with mobile commerce from a retailer’s perspective. Below are two of the main struggles of maintaining a strong mobile commerce presence:

  • Constant Need for Optimization. The fact that technology keeps getting more and more advanced means your mobile site needs to get more and more advanced in order to keep up with the times. For example, you want to ensure your mobile site has fast load time and easy navigation. Both of those things have been proven to directly impact mobile sales. Staying up to date with the latest technology trends and innovations is a good way to ensure your mobile site is keeping up with the times. This is a never-ending job, and thus could be labeled as a struggle, but nevertheless, very crucial for a business’ success.
  • Easier for Shoppers to Compare Prices. Before technology was in the equation, it would require a lot of effort for a consumer to know if they could get the same product you are selling at your store for cheaper at a different store. Unfortunately for retailers, that is no longer the case. It is now extremely easy for consumers to compare prices from a wide variety of stores. All consumers have to do nowadays is visit a website and see how much an item costs, and then go to a different website and see how much it costs on the other site and compare. This process can take less than a minute. This means you as a retailer have to keep your prices similar to your competitors’ because if not, you won’t get any business.

In summary, it’s no secret mobile commerce is rapidly growing becoming the most popular way consumers purchase services and goods. Because of this fact, it is extremely important for retailers to understand what it is, why it works, and how it works. If you do not understand mobile commerce, your company could be in serious danger in the not-so-distant future.

About the writer: Nick Rojas combines 20 years of experience working with and consulting for small to medium business and a passion for journalism to help readers grow. He writes about technology, marketing, and social media for the aspiring entrepreneur. When Nick is not sharing his expertise, he can be found spending time at the beach with his dog Presto.

Join the #retail, #SmartStore and #Connected Journey conversations on Twitter @RetailNext, as well as at