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The basics of mobile commerce in SMEs

According to a Deloitte study, 70% of South Africans indicated that they shop online at least once a month and many cite convenience as the reason for shopping online. With these facts, it seems to be important for SMEs to embrace m-commerce and add it to their arsenal. Let’s take a look at the basics of mobile commerce.

What is mobile commerce?

Mobile commerce or m-commerce refers to all purchases that are done on a mobile device. The device could a phone or tablet. With us addicted to our mobile devices, it makes sense that this is one of the largest subsets of online commerce.

What types of m-commerce are available?

There are five forms of m-commerce transactions. They are:

  • Mobile shopping: E-commerce websites are accessed via a mobile device’s internet browser app. Many websites are optimised for mobile devices.
  • In-app purchasing: While you use an app you make a purchase. This could be making an order via the Mr Deliver app or paying for more gold coins in a mobile game.
  • Virtual marketplaces: These are a smaller subset of in-app purchasing. They have a wide variety of items available for purchase through their dedicated app. Think of Takealot or Loot to name a few.
  • Mobile banking: Using a banking app to do transactions or look at your bank balance. This is also part of m-commerce.
  • Mobile wallets: With digital payments becoming more commonplace, people are uploading their card details onto digital wallets that can be used to pay at a variety of vendors and online.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of m-commerce?

The benefits of m-commerce are that you can offer your clients better customer service. They want options not only in the products or services you offer but also in the way they can pay you. Next is convenience. For the customer, everything is done on their phone and they may only need the swipe of their fingerprint. For business owners, the transactions can be automatically recorded and if it is linked to your accounting system you will have more accurate records. Finally, many businesses are not limited by their location. This is because they can do business globally using the internet to connect with customers from all over the world. 

The drawbacks are privacy and security concerns. Many people wonder what others can do if they get access to their biometric details. They are also worried about online fraud. Therefore business owners must let the customers know what security and privacy features are in place to protect them. Secondly, you need to consider maintenance and optimisation requirements. Creating a mobile app or website will require ongoing maintenance and optimisation as you build and get to know your client base better. You will also need to keep in mind how you will upgrade and grow your online presence continually. Lastly, if you do choose to sell your product abroad, you may need to understand complicated tax laws. Therefore it is important to have the right team who can help you to navigate the compliance world of m-commerce.  

How can SMEs leverage m-commerce in their business?

So you have heard all the good and bad points regarding m-commerce, let’s take a look at three achievable points to step closer to making it in m-commerce.

Optimise your website

You can run your website through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. This test will give you a score and tell you how to make your website more mobile-friendly. Next review all the content on your website to make sure you are using keywords which you want to rank for. This will ensure your website is optimised for search engines.

Use social media

Social media commerce or s-commerce is a branch of m-commerce. This is where clients buy products by using stores created on social media platforms by brands. Facebook and Instagram stores are currently available for South Africans. By using social media, you can also get data on who your customers are and ensure your marketing plan can be better tailored to your clients.

Offer a wide range of payment options

As was mentioned previously clients like to have variety when it comes to paying. By offering different digital payment options, you can ensure that people won’t abandon their cart when it comes to paying.

By working on these three areas you can leverage m-commerce to boost sales in your business.

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