Getting started with mobile commerce
Getting the right mCommerce set-up for your business from the start increases your ability to attract and retain customers.
Once you have made the decision to integrate mCommerce into your business to make it potentially available to billions of customers around the world, many of whom are mobile subscribers, the next step is to ensure you have the right set-up for your business. Here we discuss some of the critical factors to consider for your business strategy as you plan to pivot to mobile sales.
Understanding the difference between mCommerce and eCommerce
Both mCommerce and eCommerce involve the purchasing and selling of goods or services over the internet. However, there are subtle differences between the two digital transactions. eCommerce (or electronic commerce) refers to any monetary transactions carried out over the internet. mCommerce (or mobile commerce) refers specifically to the section of the eCommerce market that is carried out over handheld devices such as mobile phones and tablets. It can be used anywhere there’s an internet connection. The two work in different ways, and for the busy customer on the go, one of the main advantages of mCommerce is that it offers simpler and faster means of getting the business done regardless of time or location.
Optimising your mCommerce site or app
So, where do you start? There are several factors to consider when building an mCommerce site or mCommerce app. The first relates to the nuts and bolts of your chosen system. We examine why it is important to optimise your mCommerce application and user interface for different platforms and devices to enhance the navigational experience. Once that is in place, you can start thinking of the best ways to communicate directly with your consumer to build up customer loyalty on your mCommerce site or app. These are some of the most important criteria to consider:
- Loading time. As internet speeds get ever faster with the advent of 5G, customers expect to be able to navigate a site within seconds. First impressions count and loading time can impact your conversions. For instance, 40% of users are likely to abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load.1
- Payment. When it’s time for customers to pay, speed and simplicity are paramount. Your point-of-sale system (known in mCommerce as the mPOS) is a crucial part of a successful business. Often used in places such as restaurants or outdoor markets, it is simply a mobile app that allows you to accept credit card payments on your mobile device, but unlike a traditional software system it can be performed wirelessly. The more options you offer in your mPOS package, the more customers you’ll attract and the more sales you’ll be able to make. These are some of the features that you can include:
- A secure EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa) compliant card reader; this offers customers fuss-free payment with their choice of credit card.
- Other means of payments such as money transfers, which move money from one account to another.
- Mobile wallets, which securely store all the customer’s credit card, shipping and payment data in one place.
- In-app payments that allow your customers to pay within the app – meaning fewer clicks and further convenience.
- A user-friendly tablet or monitor that allows customers to check prices, choose the type of receipt they prefer and, if relevant to your business, add a tip.
- A receipt printer, which will produce a paper receipt should the customer require one.
- A barcode scanner to provide instant product and price information.
- A cash drawer for traditionalists who want to pay in notes and coins, which connects to your mPOS platform. 2,3
- Security. It goes without saying that your mCommerce platform should be secure and reliable. Frequent errors and glitches can have serious financial and reputational consequences for your business, and such inconveniences may just compel your frustrated customer to seek a more dependable rival. PayPal uses encrypted security technology that offers safety for both sellers and buyers.4
Promoting your business on your app
Once you have chosen a reliable and user-friendly system, you can then start thinking about how best to promote your business on your app. mCommerce gives you the opportunity to target your customers individually from the data they provide when setting up their account, such as gender, age and location, together with the clues you receive from their purchases and browsing history. Maximise this information to send them targeted messages and promotions.
Spend time on design. If you have a website and an app you will probably want the two to complement each other as many customers use both when looking to purchase your products or services. This gives you the opportunity to strengthen your brand’s signature but note that adaptations need to be made for the smaller size of the mobile screen. Think creatively. And aim for the highest quality in your descriptions and visuals.
Get paid with one click
PayPal offers a plethora of features to fine-tune your online payments platform. And whether you’re a social seller or supplier, one super-useful addition, particularly for small businesses, is PayPal.Me. This feature makes it quick and easy for your business to get paid via a personalised link, which you can share on almost any platform. After setting up the link, you share it with your customer, who simply taps onto it, types in the amount and confirms the payment. They don’t need to install the PayPal app – or even know your email address. It’s that simple.
PayPal.Me can be accessed from both desktop computers and your mobile devices. And when your customers pay you through PayPal.Me for your products or services, their eligible transactions will also enjoy the same benefit of PayPal Buyer Protection, which safeguards them from unfulfilled or misplaced orders.
If PayPal.Me is available in your customer’s country/region, they can send you a payment through your PayPal.Me link, and even set up their own PayPal account if they need to. As soon as you receive their payment, it goes into your PayPal balance, and this amount is transferred to the bank account that you’ve linked to PayPal.5
1 Kissmetrics, https://blog.kissmetrics.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/loading-time.pdf.
2 PayPal, https://www.paypal.com/us/brc/article/what-is-pos, June 2021.
3 Investopedia, https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/mobileCommerce.asp, August 2020.
4 Intuit Mint, https://mint.intuit.com/blog/personal-finance/is-paypal-safe/, April 2021.
5 PayPal, https://www.paypal.com/hk/webapps/mpp/paypal-me.
6 PayPal, https://www.paypal.com/hk/smarthelp/article/what-is-paypal.me-faq3025.