Mobile Commerce

The use of handheld devices to deliver electronic commerce capabilities using wireless technologies

What is Mobile Commerce?

Mobile commerce refers to the use of handheld devices to conduct commercial transactions using wireless telecommunication networks and other e-commerce technologies. It uses gadgets, such as mobile cellphones and tablets, to facilitate online banking, payment of bills, purchases and sales of goods and services, and other types of financial transactions.


Mobile Commerce


Mobile commerce is also known as m-commerce. The ever-rising use of mobile commerce activity, as well as the growing number of handheld device users, is attributed to advancements in wireless technologies.



  • Mobile commerce is the use of handheld devices to deliver electronic commerce capabilities using wireless technologies.
  • The rapid growth of mobile commerce is attributed to the growth of wireless communication networks, mobile commerce apps, and improved device infrastructure.
  • Developers are increasingly striving to make m-commerce go mainstream by making webpages load easily, easy payment entries to minimize human errors, and enhance the checkout experience. 


Understanding Mobile Commerce

The essence of mobile commerce revolves around electronic commerce, which involves conducting business over the internet. The exponential growth of mobile commerce has been driven by several factors, including capabilities of mobile devices, standards and network implementation, user acceptance, full resolution of security issues, and middleware development.

According to market research company Statista, there are more than three billion smartphone users around the world. In the U.S. alone, mobile commerce sales amounted to about $207.2 billion in 2017. Additionally, countries lacking regular telecommunication infrastructure have adopted wireless communication networks to facilitate mobile commerce.


The Convenience of Mobile Commerce

Mobile commerce is motivated by the increasing growth of devices and apps. Applications such as Android Pay and Apple Pay can be conveniently used by customers to make in-store purchases. Social media platforms – such as Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter – also added a “buy button” functionality to their mobile platforms to enable users to make direct purchases from retail stores.

Although consumers have been reluctant to use electronic commerce, most retailers have introduced various changes to reduce potential inhibitors. For example, e-commerce websites have upgraded their functionality and aesthetics to motivate consumers to navigate seamlessly and conveniently.

Efficient communication is another convenient element of mobile commerce. E-commerce strives to enhance dialogue between websites and users in broadcast, hybrid, and interactive manners.


Design Interface for Mobile Commerce

Consumer purchase patterns are defined by two features of mobile commerce – mobile setting and mobile device constraint. Despite the enriched user experience with mobile commerce through instant internet access, some mobile devices constrain users due to their low-end CPUs, poor bandwidth, and limited processing power.

Handheld devices are characterized by three main aspects. The first aspect is spatiality, which is the users’ ability to roam anywhere while carrying their devices. The second aspect involves temporality, meaning that users can instantly access the internet even if they are engaged in a peripheral task. The third aspect is contextuality, and it is concerned with how customers conduct their mobile tasks. In this regard, mobile phone app developers provide task-relevant services by ensuring that their products meet the required aspects.

The interface of mobile commerce apps considers the multitasking nature of consumers to support their limited attention. In addition, mobile commerce interfaces are made to compensate for the limited visual display of handheld devices.


Mobile Services and Delivery Support

The availability of platforms for delivering services makes an essential aspect of mobile commerce provision. The platforms are created in accordance with network standards and interest groups, such as WAP Forum, ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute), and UMTS Forum.

Middleware infrastructure plays a vital role in driving mobile commerce applications. Gateways are necessary for the WAP environment, either at the customer’s site or at the mobile operator’s site. A number of companies, such as, Nokia, and Ericsson, develop the gateways.


Mobile Services


Special Considerations


Mobile web and mobile commerce applications

Social media ads – such as Google and Bing ads – are used to initiate online shopping searches. Eventually, browsers facilitate more online commercial transactions than mobile commerce applications. It makes consumers use mobile websites and mobile apps concurrently to enhance the shopping experience.


Mobile inventory management (MIM)

Mobile applications track the location of goods and services to determine a delivery time. Service providers use the information to improve customer services and gain a competitive advantage over competitors.

Examples of MIM include just-in-time delivery and rolling inventory, which are implemented based on cost, user-friendliness, and reliability of wireless infrastructure. The applications present the paradigm shift in how inventories are managed.


Mobile commerce videos and marketing

To generate more revenues, mobile commerce applications use videos to demonstrate the product’s key features and usage. For example, an online foreign exchange broker can share videos showing how their new trading application eases trading activities and how customers can leverage that to increase their revenues.


Improving mobile commerce

Consumers are often impatient, demanding instant gratification; hence, quick-loading webpages are likely to generate more sales. Mobile checkers must facilitate easy entry of payment information using electronic mobile wallets. It reduces human error and allows a smooth checkout experience.


More Resources

CFI is the official provider of the global Commercial Banking & Credit Analyst (CBCA)™ certification program, designed to help anyone become a world-class financial analyst. To keep advancing your career, the additional CFI resources below will be useful:

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