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Will m-commerce outstrip e-commerce?

We’re all aware of the growth of E-commerce in recent years. From buying movie tickets to buying your new smartphone, everything is being done online with a plethora of online stores springing up in order to cater to this growing market. But there are different devices through which you can buy stuff on the internet. Within the E-commerce segment, the fastest growing sector is M-Commerce. In other words people are increasingly gravitating towards mobile devices like smartphones and tablets for their online shopping needs, rather than using Desktop or Laptop PCs.

The reason for this is simple. Mobile devices are just easier to use and are always with you, wherever you go. It’s just a more convenient way of shopping online. Besides online shopping M-commerce also includes offline transactions facilitated by discovery through mobile devices. For Example, a lot of people like to research a product online before they make a purchase from a brick and mortar store.

There is a significant difference between the conversion rates of M-Commerce and E-Commerce (on a laptop or Desktop PC). M-Commerce conversion rates tend to be lower because, even though browsing through products is much easier on a mobile device, actually completing the final checkout step is not so easy. This final step always involves filling up a form with financial details, which in turn involves the use of a virtual keyboard. While using a real world keyboard is one of the simplest tasks known to man, using a virtual one on your touch screen enabled mobile device is not so simple. The tiny buttons combined with reduced screen size is a pain to handle and puts off most customers. So what happens is people find and research the product on their phone/tablet but then use the information to make a purchase at a brick and mortar store or through a PC.

The point I’m trying to make in the above paragraph is that the seemingly lower number of conversions in M-Commerce should not be misinterpreted to underestimate the strength of M-Commerce. An increasingly large number of purchases happening on Laptops/Desktops and on Brick and Mortar stores occur because of M-Commerce. It’s only a matter of time before new technology finds a way around the problem of using those tiny touchscreen keyboards (I’m guessing Voice Commands could be an alternative). After that, Mobile platforms will undoubtedly grow exponentially as the preferred medium for online transactions and will take over E-Commerce.

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