On the surface, e-commerce and m-commerce are virtually identical. The first is you selling products to desktop users; the second is you doing the same via mobile devices.
What could possibly be so different?
Turns out, quite a few things. The two fields may be the same in principle, but e-commerce tactics just don’t work on smartphones and tablets.
The proof’s in the proverbial pudding: mobile drives 60%+ of all e-commerce traffic, but only 52% of digital sales. Most users do all their browsing on tablets and smartphones, but many still finalise their sale from a desktop. Mobile experiences leave much to be desired – and it’s all because marketers just don’t “get” m-commerce, and what makes it unique.
Fortunately for you, you’re about to learn how m-commerce is different from e-commerce – and not just from anyone. We’ve made hundreds of m-commerce apps for all kinds of brands, so this is real, actionable insider knowledge you can start using today.
We’ll start by looking at…
Many retailers have this idea that mobile devices are second to desktop ones. Many brands don’t have a mobile website and app, but who doesn’t have a regular site at this point?
That’s right. Nobody. And therein lies the problem.
The average brand has a desktop website and think that that’s enough. But most traffic comes from mobile devices. This means that a responsive website isn’t enough. You need a mobile-specific strategy and features, like:
1. Mobile-specific content
2. A mobile website or web app (i.e. an app accessed from a browser)
3. A hybrid or native app (i.e. downloadable apps)
4. An m-commerce funnel built around your mobile assets
5. App Store Optimisation (article on ASO here)
And so on and so forth. In short, your m-commerce sales should come from a completely different ecosystem than your e-commerce ones. That’s the first and biggest difference between the two:
M-commerce is a completely different and unique ecosystem that will eventually make e-commerce even more obsolete. (Remember; e-commerce is already driving less than half of all digital sales).
And that’s the first major difference.
Difference number two is how users interact with mobile and desktop-based stores. We elaborate below.
As marketers and managers, we usually look at digital retail in terms of broad statistics. How many thousands of visitors does our mobile website have? How many thousands of clicks did we get between 4 and 5 PM yesterday?
But from the consumers’ side, things look very different. Each shopping experience is personal, in the sense that it consists of a user with a personal device, like a mobile phone or tablet. All these interactions are 1 to 1. Even if you’re selling high-ticket B2B software, each and every interaction your clients make with you is personal.
And this is where m-commerce and e-commerce differ. On a desktop, you’re using a full set of HTML5 features and a large screen. This means you have plenty of space (and functionality) to play with.
With mobile devices, the opposite is true. You only have a little space to work with – so the focus is on creating minimalistic experiences that have nothing unnecessary in them.
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Time and Place
As you already know, tablets and smartphones drive a lot more traffic than desktop devices. This is because most people use PCs rarely – and many others don’t even own a PC.
This may sound odd to you, since you probably spend a lot of your time at your desktop, but the statistics speak for themselves. This means that when people sit down to make an e-commerce purchase from their desktop, they have a plan. They’re not using their computer by accident; they are using it for a specific reason, i.e. they know what they want. This is true in B2C, and even more so in B2B.
Now consider m-commerce, where consumers tend to have less specific intent – and a lot more browsing time.
Do you understand how the two channels are different?
With e-commerce, you are free to show users as much content as you want. You’re free to give them any feature you want. There are no limits, and users are likely to engage with your marketing materials once they’ve clicked through to your asset (e.g. a blog post, sales page, etc). This means you can focus on creating deep experiences.
With m-commerce, you’re not going to get a lot of engagement immediately. Instead, you’ll get lots of micro-touches in the form of ad views, CTA clicks, etc. This means you need to create frequent experiences; a completely different game from e-commerce.
Yes, the assets look the same from the outside. An ad is an ad is an ad. But when you “zoom out” and look at the big picture, it’s easy to see that m-commerce and e-commerce have very little in common. The technical details are often similar, but the way users interact with retail stores changes completely depending on the device they use.
Outside of the 3 differences in this article – user experiences, traffic generation and time/place – the key difference between m-commerce and e-commerce is, of course, technical.
Like we said in the beginning, anyone can make a beautiful website these days – but few brands have quality apps.
This is a shame, because making a beautiful native app is as simple as loading your URL into JMango360: a no-code app builder that turns e-commerce stores into world-class m-commerce apps.
Best part? The apps are customizable, and you can set up the visual and UX design any way you want. Absolute freedom, absolute control, and no coding at all – plus you get support from a team that’s made hundreds of apps in the past.
To learn more or schedule a free, no-strings-attached demo.. use the form below.
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How to improve your Mobile App PerformanceRead more
6 Tips to Maximize Mobile Revenue for E-CommerceRead more
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