The Evolution of M-Commerce or Mobile Shopping
Believe it or not, consumers have been buying things on their phones since 1997. Back then, purchases were limited to ringtones and services. No one called it M-commerce then, but that term now describes any monetary transaction completed using a mobile device. As years passed, transactions became more sophisticated, but the first tangible goods weren’t sold until 2003. Even then, the process required users to register their bank accounts online and reply “yes” to special offers sent to them through text messages.
Mobile shopping didn’t really get a boost until the first iPhones were released in 2007. Turns out, putting the internet into everyone’s pocket would change everything. According to data from Ericsson, data usage exploded at a staggering rate, while voice data clipped on at a steady pace over the years.
The accessibility and freedom that smart devices offer created a whole new generation of tech-savvy and informed buyers. At the same time, the number of new services, like streaming videos and music, shaped a new expectation that purchases should be available instantly.
Not only did consumers expect retailers to make products more available, but they expected any pre-sales service or post-sales support to be available too, especially with the ever-growing popularity of social channels like Facebook and Twitter adding to the digital places consumers expect to see their favorite retailers and brands. All of these changes took place at a staggering rate, leaving many retailers trying to discern where and how they should best invest their resources.
That brings us to today. The new era of mobile commerce requires retailers to have a presence on the digital channels their customers spend their time, including SMS/text, mobile web chat, and social channels. M-commerce has evolved into conversational commerce, and there are real costs to missing out on this new way of doing business.