Is 2013 the year of mcommerce?


When you hear the phrase ‘mcommerce’ or ‘mobile commerce’, what does it conjure up for you? A simple app that gives a customer access to a retail outlet at their fingertips? Or something more?

At The Distance, we see something much more – the potential for mcommerce is huge. And it’s much more than creating a browse and buy app.

How many people use their mobiles to buy stuff?

Google released figures at the end of 2012 showing that 45% of the UK population own smartphones and over half of those are using them to access the internet every day. Slightly more recent figures by Comscore in January 2013 make it 53% – whatever the exact figure is today you can be sure it’s rising all the time.

What about tablets? In the UK 3.9m people own one – that’s 13% of households. Shopping through Mobile is increasingly important with 69% of tablet owners buying something on their device every month, according to InMobi and Mobext.

PayPal forecasted that globally they would process $10 billion in Mobile payments in 2012, at 150% year on year growth but their Q4 results showed that they hit $14 billion at 250% year on year… For 2013? A forecast of $20 billion.

Different ways to use mobile devices while shopping

It’s not just about sitting at home and browsing an app before buying. Mobile devices are increasingly part of a shopper’s experience actually on the High Street itself.

A recent survey by The Cloud found that 73% of British smartphone owners have used their phone or device when out shopping to check prices, look for offers using apps like Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare. They also found that 13% of users use their smartphone or tablet on the High Street – that’s 5.6m people.

One in five smartphone owners (20%) have used their device to upload a photo of themselves or a product when shopping and asked their friends or family for advice before buying it – equivalent to 4.8m people.

Huge scope for growth

A survey by Rackspace of over 2,000 smartphone and tablet owners found that 40% of respondents buy stuff using their device – leaving a huge scope for mcommerce to grow even among the current audience.

Almost 17% said that mobile devices have increased their impulse buys. But what is it that makes them do it? 71% said that the main reason is because it’s so easy to do. A lot of those who don’t use their device said it was down to simply preferring their laptop, but security is still an issue for about 27%.

The future of mcommerce

Mcommerce apps need to work as a consumer experience, melding online and the High Street. Of course it should generate its own sales but it needs to work hard to influence people’s choices in store and online.

At The Distance we’ve developed PocketCommerce – a fully customisable framework for creating commerce enabled apps for retailers. It seamlessly integrates with online stores and makes it easier for loyal shoppers to stick with brands they love, however and whenever they want to shop.

PocketCommerce isn’t just about immediate sales, it’s about driving customers into stores and online, using various loyalty and integration features. Have a look at our PocketCommerce page for more details.