Mobile Commerce may be defined as any transaction with a corresponding financial value that is done through a mobile communication network. It may entail the sale of goods and services through the device; the initiation of transactions, which can be completed using another medium, or the completion of a transaction through wireless hand held devices. One should note that sometimes the concept may encompass a number of other devices like personal digital assistants that rely on wireless capabilities; however, mobile phones are the primary platforms for such transactions. Mobile commerce is similar to e commerce because it is mediated by computer networks; however, it differs from this form because some internet devices do not have access to telecommunications networks.
How businesses can benefit
Mobile commerce has numerous benefits that companies in any industry can enjoy, and one of them is their ability to respond to issues instantly. It is a given fact that certain transactions are time-critical, such as making a buy in the stock market for brokers; having an m-commerce platform for such industries could make the difference between success and failure for these stakeholders. Businesses can gain significant leverage when they merge the intention to purchase with the actual purchase through a mobile device.
One way of how this has been achieved is through the use of PDAs (personal digital assistant) in the healthcare sector. Nurses and physicians constantly need to access patient information or records even though this may have occurred in another department within the institution. Some healthcare providers that have adopted these technologies are now able to access patient status and other critical information without having to go to the corresponding department. This has minimized administrative cost while productivity has increased, and the service quality within these entities is also quite promising.
In addition to its instantaneous nature, m commerce allows users to carry out transactions independent of their location; this could drive sales substantially for such companies. Many buyers may want to purchase a certain item or service but could be unable to do so because of their distance from the actual store. Even e-commerce, which promises such an advantage is often limited by one’s ability to locate a computer, yet this is not the case for mobile devices. M-commerce holds a lot of promise for businesses that embrace it because they have the opportunity to sale their wares to buyers anywhere they are.
The ubiquity of m-commerce implies that even employee productivity may go up if companies allow them to use this technology. Sometimes consumers may be stuck in traffic or some other mode of transport on their way to work; instead of doing unproductive things, they can use their mobile devices to carry out work-related transactions. For instance, they could purchase orders for their organizations or even carry out bank transactions as they take the train to work. This increases the efficiency with which they use their daily routines and thus enhances outcomes for the firms they work for (Tiwari and Buse, 2007).
Tesco South Korea has taken advantage of this feature and shown how businesses can leverage on the technology in order to become competitive. The organization is ranked as the number one online store in South Korea owing to its m-commerce innovation; virtual shopping. The company created virtual stores consisting of nearly identical visual displays to their actual stores in several Korean subway stations. Passengers could then scan the image bar codes and shop for their product through their mobile devices by adding it into their cart. This information would then be sent to the company and it would deliver it to consumers’ homes in a relatively short amount of time. The overall result of the innovation was that sales increased by 130% for the company and almost 10,000 buyers eagerly joined the platform. Customers were particularly impressed with the fact that they did not have to carry around heavy grocery bags or waste plenty of time in long supermarket aisles. Tesco benefited from the experience because it was proactively marketing its products to consumers; instead of waiting for them to come to the store, the virtual display was showing buyers that they had things to purchase (Kimura, 2013).
Unlike e-commerce which may require dial up services or wi-fi connectivity, mobile services are always connected to their network, so they may be said to be always online. This makes it significantly different from internet-reliant services because no intermediate process is needed to make use of the m-commerce service. As a result, the application is quite convenient to buyers and is likely to increase the sales enjoyed by service providers.
Authentication processes needed to access an m-commerce platform are relatively easy; a long as a consumer already has a SIM card on their phone, the network operator already knows all their personal details as this works in tandem with a PIN. Buyers do not have to go through complicated authentication procedures as is the case with e-commerce since this may cause some of them to become impatient and end the purchase. Businesses can thus spend more of their time on satisfying consumer needs rather than on technical, non-value adding activities like authentication processe.