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How merchants can successfully profit from mobile commerce

How merchants can successfully profit from mobile commerce

To the German article

Mobile commerce – a buzzword that has been gaining enormous importance in recent years. Mobile commerce is often called a "megatrend", and it describes the next era of online retailing. But what exactly does the term mobile commerce refer to ("mcommerce" for short), where does it come from and what exactly is the difference between mcommerce and ecommerce? We will answer these and other questions in the following article. We will also answer the crucial question for online merchants about how they can benefit most from the age of mobile commerce. To this end, we present an app that provides easy access to dynamic retargeting, bringing back shoppers who have not completed the shopping process on their mobile device.

Facts and figures on mobile commerce

In 2007 and 2008, the term "mobile commerce" was still as yet unknown to the world, and buying and selling products with the help of a smartphone was almost unthinkable. Nevertheless, these two years were decisive for the birth of mobile commerce. In 2007, the revolutionary first iPhone was introduced by Apple and just under a year later, the first Android operating system was launched. Since then, not only have mobile devices evolved functionally, but so has mcommerce, i.e. commerce using mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets.

We offer the following insights into the development of mobile commerce

  • Development of smartphone use: In 2020, the number of smartphone users in Germany was around 60.7 million. The highest rates of smartphone use are in the younger age groups, with 97.3% of 14-29-year-olds, 98.1% of 20-29-year-olds, and 97.8% of 30-39-year-olds. However, more than half (52.1%) of those over 70 also own a smartphone [1].
  • Turnover growth in the ecommerce market: In 2020, a new record was set with sales of €72.8 billion, an increase of 23% compared to the previous year of 2019 [2].
  • The impressive rise of mcommerce: With the equivalent of €0.86 trillion in 2016 and a projected €3.16 trillion in 2021, the mobile commerce market has grown by more than 360% in recent years [3].
  • Mobile vs. desktop shopping: In addition, mobile shopping in Germany has remained higher than desktop shopping since 2019 [4].

One thing is clear: shopping on mobile devices is no longer just a trend, but a sustainable change in shopping behavior.

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Whether it's clothing, groceries or furniture, more and more users are shopping via mobile devices.

A simple definition: Mobile commerce as a subset of ecommerce

Mobile commerce can be defined as a specific manifestation or subset of ecommerce. The trend, which is growing worldwide, follows certain characteristics. In mcommerce a transaction with a monetary value is carried out via a mobile network. The use of wireless communication and mobile devices is essential for mobile commerce. A further distinction is made between mobile shopping and mobile payment. 

While mobile shopping by definition describes the complete sales and purchasing process, mobile payment is directed towards cashless and contactless payment by means of mobile devices. Examples of everyday mobile commerce are purchases made via the Amazon app, booking mobile tickets or using online banking through an app. 

Nowadays, online stores are also mobile-optimized and are therefore also used by smartphone users.

Ecommerce vs. mcommerce: Small differences, big effects

Ecommerce and mcommerce have both similarities and differences. While ecommerce describes electronic trade in general, mcommerce is a subsection of this with a focus on mobile device retail. Both are based on the same principle of digital and convenient buying and selling of products and services. However, there are also recognizable differences. The most obvious distinction is probably mobility. While desktop computers are tied to a stationary location, smartphones or tablets offer the possibility of transport. This provides the customer with an even more convenient and faster online shopping experience. This aspect is also linked to obtaining information that is critical to the buyer decision process. Since smartphones are always at hand, relevant information such as price comparisons can be researched at any time – even if the user is standing right in front of a shelf in a retail store and wants to compare the chosen product with offers from the internet. 

Another difference lies in the marketing opportunities. Features such as location tracking, push notifications or the analysis of usage behavior on social media in particular allow mobile commerce to create personalized marketing and shopping experiences. For online merchants, this provides a basis for implementing omnichannel marketing strategies, which aim to create a comprehensive customer experience across all of a company's advertising and sales platforms. 

Lastly, the aspect of security in payment transactions in connection with authentication also plays a major role in the distinction between ecommerce and mcommerce. While in ecommerce two-factor authentication is a common means of guaranteeing the security of a transaction, mobile commerce additionally enables biometric authentication by fingerprint or facial recognition.

Mcommerce offers online merchants many potential advantages – but also new challenges

As already indicated in the previous section, mobile commerce is associated with many advantages for online merchants as well as customers. In addition to the fast and uncomplicated processing of purchases at any location, mcommerce also enables a certain "personal touch". Mcommerce merchants generate a multitude of insights about the customer, which can be used to build strong brand or store loyalty in a targeted way. 

Furthermore, mobile commerce offers an expansion of marketing channels. Social media, as one of the most important and efficient marketing and sales channels, can be systematically used by mcommerce merchants to generate sales and customer loyalty. With the expectation that customers will make mobile purchases not only monthly but even daily in the future, the benefits of mobile commerce offer web store operators optimal conditions for strategic positioning at an early stage.

But the challenges of mcommerce should also not be ignored. On the one hand, users demand speed and flexibility. This also results in functional challenges for mobile commerce merchants such as mobile optimization of websites or setting up an additional sales channel in the form of an app. Furthermore, a change in the customer's buying behavior is also apparent, which can put online merchants to the test. On the one hand, the impulse purchases already mentioned lead to smaller shopping carts, while on the other hand mcommerce merchants have to contend with higher abandonment rates and correspondingly lower conversions. Desktop conversion rates of 4.3% in online stores are still higher than for smartphone shopping (1.8%), which can be attributed to reasons such as small device displays and the often complex usability of many mobile stores [5].

Best practices for successful mobile retail 

Online merchants are well advised to follow a few tips and tricks in order to best overcome the challenges of mobile commerce. In this context, it is essential that the user experience (UX) and the usability of the store is in the foreground, so that optimal conversion rates and shopping experiences can be achieved in mcommerce. The following best practices can pay off:
 

  1. 1. Individual offers for mobile shoppers: Take full advantage of device features such as camera, microphone and GPS to show mobile shoppers offers that are highly relevant to them.
  2. 2. Using voice assistants: Make your store accessible for voice assistants (on smartphones), as this will increase your chance of being found by potential customers. Also allow users to use voice recognition to speed up searches and other interactions.
  3. 3. Make your search function the focus of the store: Optimize the search function of your store by prioritizing and offering intelligent suggestions to the user.
  4. 4. Simple checkout process: From the entry of personal data to the final submission of the order, every single step should be kept as quick and simple as possible (by offering Google Pay or Apple Pay, for example).
  5. 5. Pause purchasing processes – don't cancel them: Do you offer the user a "save" function for their shopping cart, so that customers can easily return and continue shopping?

If the customer decides to cancel the purchase, you can use innovative advertising technologies such as dynamic retargeting to ensure that some of the users return to your store to continue and complete their purchases.

Target smartphone users with dynamic retargeting and bring them back to your online store

Dynamic retargeting describes an innovative advertising technology with which store visitors are first marked and analyzed by retargeting pixels and then, in a second step, they are shown personalized online advertising banners. Numerous studies from advertising research have shown that in online retail, a single contact with a product is often not enough to persuade the user to make a purchase [6].

Mcommerce is particularly suitable for using multiple methods to address potential buyers in a targeted way, because mobile devices are often used in situations that users have positive associations with. For example, while waiting for the train – or on the couch in the evening. 

Releva.nz – the app for dynamic retargeting

It is precisely for situations like these that the dynamic retargeting app by releva.nz was developed The retargeting solution plays product-related, personalized retargeting ads on mobile devices if a user has left the store (accessed on a smartphone) without making a purchase. The user’s recurring contact with the online store and relevant products reawakens the interest to buy, meaning that some of the users return to the web store and complete the purchase.

Another practical benefit is that with the help of artificial intelligence, the extension not only creates product-related advertising banners fully automatically, but also plays them based on user preferences. The tool quickly learns in which situations, on which end devices and with which banner formats store visitors can best be reactivated, and this means it is continuously optimizing ad campaigns. 

Ultimately, conversion rates and consequently sales can be increased significantly and sustainably. 

The core functions of the releva.nz app at a glance:

  • Automatic creation of dynamic advertising banners
  • Campaign optimization based on artificial intelligence
  • Easy integration of the retargeting pixels
  • Smart use of ads
  • Ad distribution to over 30 advertising networks
  • Real-time statistics in the online store administration

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The releva.nz app in the Shopware administration

How can you set up the app?

As a store operator, you do not need any programming knowledge to set up the releva.nz app. In addition, there is no need for you to register with ad networks, such as Google Ads. Despite this, with the releva.nz app you can reach up to 85% of the advertising spaces in the European region.

You can download the app free of charge from the Shopware Store.

Would you like to test the full functionality of the releva.nz app for 30 days free of charge and also get a €30 ad budget? Then simply open a releva.nz account: 

Get a €30 ad budget now

About the author:

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Florian Müller is the founder and CEO of Content Guys AI – a digital agency specializing in disruptive industries such as ecommerce, voice tech, mobility, VR and esports, based in Germany and the U.S. He has been involved with game-changer technologies since the early 2000s, regularly publishing technical articles in relevant industry magazines and helping companies gain more visibility in sustainable competitive environments.

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