The consumer behavior with respect to retail has changed considerably since the advent of internet. We see the consumer spending more time online, in order to research on a product. Even if the consumer is planning on purchasing the product offline, they tend to research on the product online.
In this multi-device world, e-commerce and m-commerce are gaining popularity. Consumers find it easy to search and buy the products that are relevant to them in the most convenient manner possible.
Let’s have a look at both e-commerce and m-commerce to understand how they rule consumer behavior. It is also important to consider the transition of consumers from e-commerce to m-commerce and map their journey.
E-commerce: Tracing the Journey
E-commerce has become quite vocal in the present times. We have seen that e-commerce has taken over major spaces, bringing in convenience. We can perform banking transactions at any hour; shopping and other e-commerce solutions are at our disposal at all the odd hours possible. E-commerce has spread its wings across the different sectors, and made things easy for you. Conversions and profitability for the companies have improved with e-commerce solutions. E-commerce has the capability of ringing in the best possible consumer insights on the desk. We are connected to consumer purchasing behavior, and we can offer the best solutions based on the insights.
But, as with all solutions, e-commerce comes with limitations of its own. It is not really mobile in the way it conducts itself. There are security and privacy concerns associated with e-commerce. The platform is not yet perceived as complete secure, despite including some of the best security solutions on the platform. The telecommunication bandwidth for the solution is insufficient to solve the purpose. For e-commerce, the software development tools are still in the evolution stage. Internet and e-commerce cannot be combined into some of the existing applications and database with ease. Compatibility issues also prove to be a limitation.
The Paradigm Shift towards m-commerce
There has been an increase in the number of smartphone users in the past year. From, 10.8% in 2014, it has reached 11.3% in 2015. Multi-platform has risen in retail from 53% in 2014 to 57% in 2015 (Source: Comscore Data)
This shift is ideally the primary reason for increasing shift towards m-commerce. Retail is multi-platform, as people consider a particular platform to choose and another to buy from. Most often than not, mobiles are considered for research and selection purposes.
M-commerce offers the stores mobility, that was absent in e-commerce. M-commerce applications tend to be more location specific and are more personalized offerings. It offers an intimate store-user relationship which can pull the audiences towards it. It offers time sensitive transactions, which can benefit the user. It is real time, and offers to be real fast, which is what the mobile customer needs in today’s time and age. M-commerce is absolutely great when it comes to location specific outputs, as against e-commerce.
The Road Ahead..
Currently, the shift has just moved from e-commerce to m-commerce. But, the future seems to be more of a combination. The contextual commerce, as this will be called in the future, relates to the situation the consumer is in, and the device that would attempt to solve the purpose. The completion of the purchase will depend on the context, and the way the purchase needs to be made. If online research, and offline purchase is what the context calls for, this is what the customer will perform with the multiple devices. This contextual future will call in for a combination of devices and services.
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