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The Rise of Mobile Commerce (mcommerce) in India and How to Get Started

mobile commerce - mcommerce in india

As per Statista, mobile commerce or mobile ecommerce sales in India were estimated to be valued at nearly 38 billion US dollars in 2020 itself. Owing to the increase in the penetration rates of smartphones and mobile internet in the country and the pandemic that took us closer to our mobile devices for day to day communication, the number is projected to grow by manifolds in the time ahead.

That’s exactly why you need to care about mobile commerce as you take your business online.

In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know to get started with mobile commerce.

What is mobile commerce (mCommerce)?

Mobile commerce, also known as mCommerce or mobile eCommerce basically refers to making online purchases using a mobile device (in most cases, a smartphone or a tablet). It is an advancement of eCommerce, enabling consumers to buy products and services on the go, without having to restrict themselves to bulky desktops.

The rise of mCommerce in India

Since the inception of Digital India and the rise of Reliance’s Jio services, the number of mobile internet users in India have increased dramatically. Add to that the rise of mobile wallets, and you have a consumer market that is predominantly using their mobile devices for day to day transactions.

Data also reveals that over time there has been a surge in the use of retail apps, especially during the festive and the holiday season. The convenience of scrolling through products and making purchases on the go, enabled consumers to save a lot of time and still get quality online shopping done during the season.

Leading online retailers like Flipkart and Amazon are already way ahead in the adoption of mobile commerce to make shopping easier for their target audience.

Benefits of mobile eCommerce

1. Better online shopping experiences

From having to visit stores physically for every little purchase to being able to buy it all online, eCommerce simplified shopping for most. But in times where being present on social media is of utmost importance to most, the same consumers are spending a lot of time on the internet but through their mobile devices.

Here are some of the things you benefit from by tapping into mCommerce:

  • Mobility: Mobile devices are almost always accessible. No matter where a consumer is and what they are doing, it is highly likely they have their smartphone close by - which may not be the case for desktops and laptops.
  • Reachability: Mobile commerce also opens a more ‘instant’ way of communicating with consumers via SMS, chat apps or even web push notifications.
  • Location-tracking: With GPS technology and WiFi, mobile commerce gives businesses access to consumer location, helping businesses personalize shopping experiences based on locations and other demographics.

2. Stability in business growth

mCommerce is not new. Your consumers are already interacting with businesses or making transactions using mobile devices for personal and professional purposes. With the rise of mobile apps and the need to remain agile, there is no stopping the growth of mobile commerce.

As per Statista, mCommerce sales will account for more than 10% of the total retail sales by 2025. The projected number is expected to increase owing to the technological advancements and growth of the mobile user base.

3. Omnichannel shopping experiences

Omnichannel refers to being able to sell both in-store and online by establishing a presence across multiple channels. As mobile devices become an integral part of our day to day lives, they have established themselves as a critical touchpoint for businesses to be active on.

By adapting your business to cater to both eCommerce and mCommerce, you can create a truly seamless shopping experience for your customers, making it easier for them to engage with and buy from you.

4. Ease of payments

Think about the last time you made a purchase or split the bill and suggested making the payment via a mobile wallet. The increase in the usage of mobile wallets like Apple Pay, PayPal, Google Pay, UPI and PayTm is evident and is rapidly increasing.

With mCommerce, you will be able to offer payments for online orders via these mobile wallets, offering a one-click purchase experience to buyers. The ease of finding products and making purchases is bound to increase the conversion rate for online stores as well!

Simply put, mobile eCommerce is here to stay. It doesn’t just make it easier for consumers to make purchases, but also offers businesses a whole new channel and opportunity to make more sales - actively so.

How to get started with mobile commerce?

Before you set aside time and resources to look into mCommerce for your business, we recommend following these steps.

Steps to get started with mobile commerce:

  1. Understand who your target audience is
  2. Equip yourself with the right platform
  3. Create a mobile-responsive experience
  4. Explore Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)
  5. Build an app (or not?)
  6. Monitor, analyse and optimise

Step 1: Understand who your target audience is

First things first - is your target audience even using mobile devices to make purchases?

Consider this step as a hygiene check, but make sure that you look into your store analytics to see where your visitors are coming from.

At the same time, also look into where the most number of purchases are being made from. Note down the clear demarcation between desktop and mobile devices for a period of at least 3 months to see if there is a pattern.

If you have consistent traffic coming in from mobile devices along with a considerable number of conversions, it’s time to focus on mCommerce.

Step 2: Equip yourself with a robust mobile commerce platform

A truly robust eCommerce mobile platform is not one that just offers a responsive storefront to your consumers. It is one that also lets you manage your business on the go.

For instance, Shopify comes with an app that lets you manage orders, products, staff and your customers on the go. It also lets you respond to real time information, keeping a close watch on your visitor traffic and live sales. Learn more about it here.

mobile commerce shopify

Step 3: Ensure a thorough responsive storefront experience

Now that you’re managing your business from the palm of your hand, it’s time to make it simpler for your audience to engage with you in the same way.

The very first step to doing so, is ensuring that your online storefront is responsive to smaller screen sizes. By responsive we mean that your storefront design adapts to the screen size it is being viewed on without compromising on the information being displayed to the buyer or functionalities like being able to wishlist or save items for later.

If you have an online store on Shopify, you’re most likely using a Shopify theme for your web design. The good thing about Shopify themes is that they are 100% responsive as a part of our quality check.

This ensures that as you customize these themes as per your branding, the visual experience you offer to mobile shoppers remains seamless, without you having to look into code every time you make a change.

Step 4: Explore progressive web apps

Having a 100% mobile responsive storefront is the first step to mCommerce. But if you truly want to establish a presence in the mobile ecosystem, you need to start exploring more intuitive ways to enable shopping from you.

eCommerce giants like H&M, Flipkart, Zara and many others noticed an increase in their mobile traffic. But they also noticed how the competition in the mobile ecosystem was increasing as well, leading to them exploring ways to become more prominently present in the consumer’s mind.

Yes, we’re talking about mobile apps but a step before that - Progressive web apps.

Progressive web apps (PWAs) is a type of application software delivered through the web, built using common web technologies like HTML, CSS, JavaScript and others to deliver an experience on par with native apps.

For example, the Shopify app store offers plug and play solutions that transform your web storefront into a PWA. These apps use your storefront design and optimize them to the functionalities of a mobile app to enable easy online shopping on smaller screen sizes. Explore them here.

But it is important to note here that progressive web apps imitate the experience native apps offer. They also do not require a consumer to install an app to be able to use the interface.

Learn more about progressive web apps:

Step 5: Build a mobile app (or not)

A responsive storefront and a progressive web app caters to everything you need to tap into the opportunities mobile commerce offers to your business.

But if you see a steady increase in the number of consumers interacting with your mobile interfaces, it’s time to explore building out native mobile apps. This is because progressive web apps come with their own set of limitations.

For example, they are not able to tap into all functionalities of a mobile device (like calendar, bluetooth, contacts, etc) which may help you offer a better shopping experience to consumers.

Similarly, a PWA will require continual optimization to ensure that the frontend experience being offered is seamless. This is especially true for fast load times that mobile shoppers expect from businesses. In this case, apps tend to outperform PWAs with better performance.

However, we recommend building out a native mobile app for Android and iOS devices only when you have a clear indication of your revenue being dependent on it. Also, it is important to note that to build an app, you will require steady resources for development and maintenance of the app.

Also read:

Step 6: Monitor, analyse and optimize

Similar to eCommerce, mCommerce requires you to consistently learn from your consumer behavior and identify opportunities to offer a better experience to them.

Right from the number of mobile visitors to those using your PWAs or installing the mobile app, the number of conversions and the overall sales, keep a close eye on your numbers. Also look into aspects where you may be losing a customer - from the interface you’re offering to the checkout options and more.

Remember to keep up with the changing behaviour of mobile shoppers and industry trends as well as benchmarks to make mCommerce work for you.

Wondering if businesses are really looking into mobile commerce to grow? We have some examples that you can take inspiration from.

Brands leveraging and winning at mobile commerce

The following list includes just some of the examples of brands using mobile commerce as a channel to grow. Businesses across the world are leveraging mCommerce to reach their target audience faster and there are many others that you can look up to!

1. Tanishq (jewellery)

jewellery mobile commerce tanishq app

2. Lenskart (eyewear)

lenskart eyewhere mobile app

3. Healthkart (health and wellness)

healthkart mobile app

4. Licious (food and consumables)

licious food and beverage mobile commerc

5. Mamaearth (beauty, cosmetics and wellness)

mamaearth - beauty and cosmetics mobile commerce

6. WOW Skin Science (beauty and cosmetics)

wow skincare - beauty and cosmetics mobile commerce

7. Pepperfry (home decor and furniture)

home and furniture mobile ecommerce

8. Fabindia (fashion and apparel, home decor and furniture)

fabindia mobile app ecommerce

9. FirstCry (baby and parenting products)

baby products mobile ecommerce

10. AJIO (fashion and apparel)

fashion and apparel mobile commerce

Is it time for you to focus on mobile commerce?

If numbers are to be believed, the answer is YES.

Mobile shopping is on the rise. With the use of social media and mobile wallets increasing as well, it is safe to say that your consumers expect ease of shopping on smaller screens too. Not tapping into the mobile channel for sales, is losing an opportunity to sell more.

Getting started with mobile commerce isn’t so overwhelming. With a platform like Shopify, you get to set up an impressive storefront for your mobile shoppers as well as explore PWAs, mobile apps and more with thousands of Shopify apps and experts by your side.

Ready to take your business to the consumer’s mobile device? Take the first step with Shopify.

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