Mobile Shopping Experience:
How to Optimize Your Online Store for M-commerce

Here’s a question for you: when was the first iPhone – arguably the model that began the smartphone revolution – launched? It seems like it was a lifetime ago, yet in fact, it was 2007! Who could have predicted that, in under 20 years from the launch of the first one, smartphones would become practically ubiquitous?
We begin with that little bit of history because it also gave rise to the subject of this article: m-commerce. Without mobile devices, there could be no m-commerce. What is mobile ecommerce, why is it important for online retailers, service providers, and mobile users, and how do you do a mobile optimization for your ecommerce business?
These are just some of the questions we will be answering, so let’s begin with a brief definition of m-commerce, then we will look at why you need to be up to speed.

Table of Contents

What is m-commerce?

M-commerce is the short and snappy name for Mobile Commerce. It’s a term that describes any monetary transaction that is performed using a hand-held mobile device, usually your smartphone. To clarify, as you know, that is not limited to iPhones, as there are many more brands such as Samsung, who are among the market leaders.
Mobile commerce is distinct from e-commerce, which involves transactions performed using a desktop or laptop computer. Basically, m-commerce is mobile shopping, banking, and any other transaction while on the move. So, why the big noise about m-commerce? Let’s have a look at the market in more detail.
Online Store

Why does mobile commerce matter?

Let’s take a look at mobile commerce statistics! Research shows that mobile commerce was responsible for as much as 45% of all e-commerce transactions in the USA in 2020 (statistic provided by Insider Intelligence). In 2017, that figure was around 30%, so we can see steady growth in mobile users and therefore in the use of mobile devices for online transactions, mobile shopping, mobile payment, etc.
The reasons for the growth in popularity of mobile commerce are mixed. Internet users have been open to the concept of online shopping for some years, but until recently it was largely performed using a home computer. The latest smartphones, however, are more powerful in computing terms than any before, and the convenience of m-commerce has become more notable (not least because of the changes in the way we had to shop for essentials during the covid-19 pandemic).
So, one reason is convenience coupled with devices that can do the job. Another reason for the popularity of mobile commerce is Generation Z. Generation Z is an umbrella term for persons born between the mid-1990s and the early 2010s. The older of Generation Z will be in their mid-20’s today, the youngest perhaps about to enter their teenage years.
What is important about Generation Z is they have grown up entirely in the Digital Age. For them, a smartphone – or mobile phone – has never been the luxury it once was for the generations before them. It’s a necessity, a part of daily life, hence mobile commerce is entirely natural to this generation.
We should mention the tablet before we move on. Also, an Apple innovation, the likes of the iPad and others while not as widely used as a smartphone do contribute to the mobile commerce boom, as many users find the larger screen to be more convenient. Before we look at the benefits of mobile commerce we thought we’d give you a few more statistics that should help you understand why m-commerce is vital to growing your business.
mobile commerce

Some mobile commerce statistics

In the section, we mention that m-commerce represents 45% of all e-commerce transactions in the USA. That is, 45% of digital transactions are made using a hand-held smartphone or tablet. That alone is a quite alarming statistic, and even more so when we tell you the value of that 45% is some $284billion.
Furthermore, industry analysts believe that by the end of 2021 this figure will have reached 54%. More people will be completing online transactions via a mobile device than a computer.
Here are more interesting mobile commerce statistics: 33% of decisions to purchase are made after searching for additional information using a smartphone or tablet. This applies to bricks and mortar store purchases as well as those made digitally. So, we can conclude that our mobile device has a lot of influence over how we spend.
We think that we’ve given you numbers that back up the importance of m-commerce for online stores. But is it all good news, or are there hidden drawbacks that we haven’t mentioned? The next section deals with the advantages and disadvantages of mobile commerce for both the ecommerce store owners and the consumers.

The advantages and disadvantages of mobile commerce

Every form of commerce has its pros and cons. Usually, for both parties, the positives outweigh the pitfalls. First, let’s look at some of the benefits of m-commerce for both the retailer and the consumer:
The above is by no means a comprehensive list – we could also add that online shopping or banking saves time for the consumer, for example – but gives an overall view of why m-commerce is important to both retailers and consumers. Now let’s balance the books by looking at some potential pitfalls of m-commerce:
As we can see from the above, the main drawbacks are those that can be associated with general e-commerce as well as m-commerce, and many of them may also be pitfalls for bricks and mortar stores. We will talk later about optimization – it is after all the title of this piece – and how to ensure your store is properly optimized for the market. The next section looks at some of the trends that are current and expected in m-commerce.
mobile commerce

Mobile commerce trends

2020 changed the way online retail is viewed and used. With unnecessary travel restricted in many countries, and only essential shops remaining open, even consumers who had never considered online shopping were presented with it as a sole option. Thus, the market for e-commerce and m-commerce quickly gained a massive influx of new consumers.
This has obviously had an impact on trends. Here’s a brief look at what the m-commerce consumer expects to be presented with when they shop at your store:
These are the main trends in m-commerce stores and their usage, but what are people buying using m-commerce? Shopify – the online store hosting giant – lists the top trending products selling in its stores, and some of those on the list may surprise you. Here are a few, with commerce statistics to enlighten you.
Doormats are a top seller on Shopify, along with many other affordable home décor items. This market has seen a year-on-year growth of 147% for 2020. It can be explained by the fact many people spent more time at home thanks to the pandemic. Novelty doormats are surprisingly popular right now.
That’s just a few of the most in-demand products at Shopify stores, with others including mats for in the car, toy kitchens for kids, bookcases, needlecraft kits, and – strangest of all – temporary tattoos.
The market is heavily influenced by the consumer’s individual situation, and forecasts are that growth in all areas of m-commerce will continue for the foreseeable future.
We now know what the consumer looks for in an m-commerce store in terms of the consumer experience, and what they are buying. Now we need to talk in more detail about the different types of m-commerce. If you remember our definition from the beginning – ‘any monetary transaction that is performed using a hand-held mobile device’ – that covers several potential areas.
Top rated mobile

Types of mobile commerce

M-commerce is about transactions using mobile devices, so let’s look at some of the individual market sectors that are covered by the term.

Mobile payments apps

We have seen that the typical m-commerce consumer expects convenience and an enjoyable consumer journey and to see a preferred payment method. When we talked about benefits, we mentioned one-touch payments. That’s what we want to look at here. There are in fact various types of payment systems, but we’ll give them some more space later on. What we want to look at here are mobile wallets, also known as e-wallets.
Mobile wallets are a convenient and secure method of making payments digitally. Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal One Touch are among the most popular. Smartphone users store their card payment information within the mobile app, and when paying usually does so by contactless payment. There is no need to enter the number and greater security as a result. Mobile wallets are a driving force behind m-commerce and every online retailer should offer at least one as a payment method.
It is important that, when choosing mobile wallets to offer, you check out the geographical limitations as some are not available in certain countries.

Mobile commerce apps

Many mobile apps enable the consumer to shop easily and seamlessly, by offering access to certain products and services. The most frequently used is the Amazon App, which offers access to the leading online retailer in the world. It makes shopping much easier, with browsing, reviews, descriptions, and a one-touch purchase system. It should come as no surprise that it has been downloaded hundreds of millions of times across the world.
Amazon is a mobile commerce app, but there are other mobile apps that take a different approach. The Starbucks App, for example, is the most-used mobile app in the USA on a daily basis. The high street coffee giant cleverly combines a one-touch payment system via the dedicated mobile app with a rewards scheme that pays a free cup after so many purchases.
Some businesses can design a bespoke app for your ecommerce store, and you may be surprised by how affordable it can be. In terms of brand exposure and customer loyalty, mobile commerce apps are certainly worth investigating.

Social commerce

The use of social media as a sales and marketing tool is not a new concept, but it has been refined to fit the growth of m-commerce. Facebook business pages can now add a ‘purchase’ or ‘buy’ button that takes the user directly to the purchase point. This is rapidly becoming the case with many social media networks, and businesses are combining developing social trust with actual transactions within the m-commerce framework.

QR codes

QR codes are not as widespread as was forecast, but there are signs that usage is growing alongside the expansion of m-commerce. A QR code can be used on a label tag in a physical store to take the consumer to more information. The information that can be accessed by such a code is practically unlimited. These codes will become more commonplace in m-commerce stores thanks to convenience. They can also be used to ‘check in’ to a store, which is a useful way of gaining consumer usage data.

Mobile banking

We now come to one of the most important features of m-commerce: mobile banking. You may not think of mobile e-banking as a form of m-commerce, but it fits the description of a transaction that can be carried out on mobile devices. As mobile e-banking is commonplace we will not go into more detail as we believe most who have a smartphone and use it for m-commerce transactions will understand how it works.

Mobile click-to-mortar

Before we go into the final section dedicated to how you should create a mobile-friendly website, a quick about click-to-mortar, or ‘clicks to bricks’. This is a situation where businesses have both physical stores and ecommerce sites, with a facility for the customers to shop online and then pick the goods up at the store. Popular in the grocery and electronics markets, this is one area that is expected to grow.

Optimizing your online retail store

We’ve covered the various aspects of m-commerce quite comprehensively, so now that you understand the importance of optimization, let’s have a look at the areas you need to attend to.

Mobile payments and checkout optimization

We talked about the customer wanting a secure and simple one-touch checkout process in the previous sector, and we’d like to elaborate by talking about payment methods other than e-wallets. Not all consumers are confident using an e-wallet, so what other payment options can be used in m-commerce stores? There are some brand-specific mobile apps – we talked about Starbucks above – and also contactless used in-store is a form of m-commerce. These are known as ‘closed-loop’ payments, a most necessary site functionality that is particularly important for mobile conversions.

One area of m-commerce that has driven user growth is an important factor that needs to be explained. It’s a concept known as ‘headless checkout’ and using it can increase your customer base considerably. Let us explain.
Online payments

What is a headless checkout?

We have in fact touched on the concept of headless checkout, so we’ll explain in simple terms. Think of yourself as a consumer browsing with your mobile phone for a certain product. You find one you like, click on the link and it takes you to the retailer. You then find your product, put it in the cart, go to checkout and complete the transaction. That’s the standard process for just about every m-commerce transaction.
Except, in 70% of cases, the transaction does not get completed, as the consumer abandons the cart. This happens for many reasons, so how does headless checkout help?
Be that consumer again, but this time you spot a product you want on an advert, or perhaps you are reading a review of the product. On that advert or review is an invitation to purchase. You simply click that invitation, and it’s done. This is enabled by way of using an e-wallet or merchant account as payment, which already contains the consumer’s relevant information. There is no need to go to the retail store, fill in forms, and give payment details.
Headless checkout can be used to enable purchases from just about anywhere – blogs, social media, any form of content. It’s quick, simple, and does away with the problem of cart abandonment. Of course, to utilize headless checkout you need to integrate it with your marketing campaigns, and we say read all you can about it as this is the best way to enable omnichannel marketing from front to back end.

Augmented reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is a tool used to give consumers a more interactive and enjoyable customers’ shopping experience. It differs from virtual reality in that there is an element of actual products alongside virtual recreation with AR. It can be used to allow smartphone users to see what products are like in the flesh as well as, in some cases, to try them before they buy.
AR does need a professional hand to get it right, but it is one of the fastest-growing aids to m-commerce of all. An example of AR in m-commerce can be found on the online store of Swedish furniture and household giants IKEA, who use it to let online customers walk through a room setting. We strongly suggest talking to a professional about optimizing your store for AR as it is very much part of the future of m-commerce.

Push notifications

A good m-commerce optimization strategy will enable push notifications – those little messages you get on your phone from apps, even when the app is not open. This method of marketing can be carefully targeted using consumer data and may be combined with the headless checkout to encourage the consumer to buy. For example, shoppers on mobile devices who have been looking at a particular product or page but have not purchased may be sent a pop-up notification saying ‘Limited Time Offer’ on that product with a discount, a timer countdown, and a button to press to enable headless checkout. This is a proven success and one area of optimization you should be using it.
Push notifications

Mobile chatbots

Your m-commerce optimization should also include a mobile chatbot that can answer regularly asked questions, or enable headless checkout. Many chatbot apps are surprisingly sophisticated, some that use Machine Learning to enable more accurate and helpful responses. While shopping online, consumers expect some interaction during the journey where needed, and a mobile chatbot should be treated as a first step before transferring to a genuine assistant where possible.
Mobile chatbots

Mobile page speed optimization

We believe our final aspect of m-commerce optimization to be perhaps the most important: page speed. The average smartphone has the ability to process information extremely quickly. Powerful miniaturized processors are more capable than ever. However, if your store is not optimized for mobile use, it will not perform as it should.
Here are some numbers to think about:
Google offers a tool called PageSpeed Insights that we recommend you use to rate your speeds. Note that Google marks mobile site stores down for poor page load speeds. Other useful tools include WebPageTest and Pingdom. These are free to use, and alongside your own constant testing which is a must for optimization, we strongly suggest utilizing them.
There are other ways to optimize page loading speed such as optimizing images for example. If you want the best results, talk to expert m-commerce store developers who will be able to create a fully optimized store that is ready for use and can be upgraded when needed.


Optimization for m-commerce involves a lot of expertise in the processes involved. As a retailer, you are perhaps not up to speed with the back-end development of websites, so it is recommended that you use a professional service if you are to ensure you gain the share of the market that you deserve.
We cannot stress too much how important m-commerce is at present and how fast it is set to grow, and we hope we’ve helped you understand what needs to be done to become the leading player in your m-commerce market.

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