Best Practices

What the Difference Between E-commerce And M-commerce

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Both retailers and consumers are familiar with the term e-commerce but are intrigued when the buzzword m-commerce is emerging in the industry. While both e-commerce and m-commerce revolve around online purchasing, there are considerable differences between the models.

Businesses, particularly those in the B2C sector, have been trying to make their presence felt online. With 4.54 billion, or 59% of the global population on the internet, it isn't very smart to be left behind. Online retailers like Amazon have flourished, thanks to the convenience of ordering products from a digital shopping cart. 

With the maturing of smartphones and high-speed mobile connectivity, consumers are experiencing yet another shift in online shopping. The changes in the digital retail landscape are led by the introduction of apps that allow online shopping on-the-go. This phenomenon leads to build more e-commerce app

How does m-commerce compare to e-commerce? Read on and find out if you ought to be m-commerce ready. 

e-commenrce development

What is e-commerce 

E-commerce or electronic commerce refers to the process of buying and selling on the internet. The birth of e-commerce is believed to occur in 1994, with the first purchase made over the internet in Philadelphia. Generally, e-commerce points to online buying activities that happen over a computer or laptop. 

While names like Amazon pops up when e-commerce is mentioned, the commodities sold online are not limited to physical products. E-commerce also applies to digital products, memberships, or services that are transacted over the internet. In recent years, online shopping on computers has been declining as users are switching over to mobile phones. 

m-commerce case

What is m-commerce  

M-commerce refers to online payment transactions that happen over a mobile device. The advancement of mobile connectivity, security, and apps development has spurred retailers to offer services, products, and payment gateways over the smartphone. The m-commerce trend is also spurred by the increasing population that own smartphones.

Online spending driven by m-commerce in the US has been increasing steadily for the past few years. In 2022, the total revenue driven by transaction over the mobile is expected to hit $423.24 million. The positive trend will see more retailers jostling for a space in the consumer’s mobile phones. 

mcommerce spending
Source: Statista

TOP Difference between m-commerce and e-commerce

If you’re running an online business, you ought to know how m-commerce differs from e-commerce. Understanding the differences help you stay in the game and have better access to your target demographics. You don’t want to stay status quo in a market that is declining as technology shifts. 

1. Mobility

E-commerce is performed over computers and laptops with internet connections. Such technologies were once marveled at, but with users turning to mobile phones, computers become severely lacking in mobility.

It is tedious to flip open your laptop just to order a pair of sneakers online. However, shoppers can easily whip up their mobile phone and start browsing for the right products on an m-commerce app. 

The difference between the ability to make purchases easily on the spot and logging into an e-commerce website later favors retailers with e-commerce apps. Impulsive shoppers are also better targeted by means of instant access to the shopping cart. 

With the introduction of mobile payment wallets like Apple Pay and Android Pay, mobile users are given more choices to make instantaneous transactions on the spot. 

2. Push Notification

Another obvious advantage m-commerce has over e-commerce is the use of push notification on mobile phones. Compared to blasting promotional letters to the email list, push notifications are perceived to be less intrusive. 

From a retailer point of view, push notifications are deemed to be more effective. Promotion emails risk being delivered to the spam folder or ignored by users. Push notification, on the other hand, is delivered instantly to the user’s mobile.

Today, push notifications can also include beautifully-rendered images of the products, which leads the users to the m-commerce app with a single touch. With an average opt-in rate of 67.5%, the chances of getting the attention of users with push notification are high.  

3. Location tracking

The only metric used to track e-commerce shoppers on computers is the IP address. The IP of computers gives a loose indication of the whereabouts of shoppers and is limited in terms of locational advertising strategies. 

On the other hand, m-commerce leverage on the various positional tracking technologies on the mobile phones of users, such as GPS, WiFi, and cellular connections. The accuracy of the location can be used by retailers to alert users of promotions within their vicinity. 

For example, a retail outlet that is having an on-going sales can send notifications to users within a 5-miles radius. A fitness gym could target consumers in the vicinity with yearly membership signups by piggy-backing on a navigational app.  

4. Security 

According to Shift Processing, credit card frauds increased by 18.5% in 2018 and resulted in a loss of a whopping $24.26 billion. The e-commerce platform, which is mostly transacted over credit cards, puts the financial safety of users at stake.

Even without massive breaches of credit card data, the accounts of e-commerce shoppers aren’t exactly safe. The security provided by a username and password isn’t the best protection against modern-day hackers.

M-commerce, where transactions are conducted over a mobile phone, has the potential to incorporate better security. The use of phone identification as a second layer of security removes the possibility of a fraud committed remotely. 

For additional security measures, existing biometrics technologies such as facial recognition or iris-scanning can be introduced as an option in the m-commerce app. 

5. Omnichannel 

There is a shift in multi-channel to omnichannel in the online retailing industry. Brands are expected to provide a seamless shopping experience instead of targetting different demographics with different messages.

E-commerce, which is highly dependent on computers, is limited in the sense that it has lesser mobility. Meanwhile, m-commerce has found itself in the right position, to close the gaps between brands and consumers.

Mobile apps technologies have allowed better engagement with retailers and consumers. It will enable personalization and a customized shopping experience that is unique to users. Retailers are also able to immediately respond to the needs of a shopper and suggest recommendations, which results in higher conversion. 

Check out our guide on m-commerce app development.

Benefits for business with m-commerce 

For business owners who are used to the traditional e-commerce platforms, making a shift towards m-commerce can be daunting. However, there are proven benefits that will make the shift worthy in every business sense.

success for business

Gain Better Customer Insights

Understanding the behavior of shoppers is a necessity for retailers to remain competitive in their respective niche. Mobile apps, which are a crucial component of m-commerce, allows retailers to collect crucial information of the users. Consumer-oriented data such as browsing behavior, shopping interests, and time spent on the app are helpful analytics. 

With the rise of big data and AI, retailers can send better-targeted promotions that are more likely to engage and convert. The historical data collected also helps retailers to strengthen their branding efforts by prioritizing elements that resonate with their shoppers. 

Increases Revenue

All the numbers point to the potential of revenue increase when m-commerce is put to proper use. According to Oberlo, global m-commerce revenue is expected to hit $2.91 trillion in 2020, which is a remarkable 25.4% increase than the previous year.

Internet users are spending more of their time on mobile phones, and shopping for products is a few touches away. Besides that, push notifications with tailor-made promotions draw users’ attention and lead to better conversion.

M-commerce also encourages purchases. The checkout process is more straightforward, where users can complete checkout with a few touches on the screen. Naturally, this would lead to more sales and less discarded shopping carts. 

Enhance Customer Experience

The secret to a thriving business is to keep its customers continuously engaged. In other words, your customers need to perceive that they are given the best experience ever. This goes beyond the ability to browse and shop at any place or time. 

M-commerce enhances the customer experience by increasing the availability of support to customers. A responsive live-chat on the app or the ease of refunds and exchange could strengthen brand loyalty amongst customers. 

Personalization, whether in the form of product listings or promotions, gives off the perception of a caring brand. This is made possible with the combination of the mobile app, analytics, and locational information on an m-commerce ecosystem. 

Reduce Cost

Spendings on ads placements, whether physically or digitally, is also reduced with m-commerce. With direct reach to customers, the latest offerings and messages can be delivered through the mobile app or push notification. 

Once perceived as exorbitant, the cost of app-development has decreased as there are development tools that help simplify the process. With the reduction of ads-budget, businesses can achieve a lower cost of acquisition and retainment of customers. 


The shift from e-commerce to m-commerce is inevitable. Businesses that refuse to jump on the wagon will find themselves on the losing end. M-commerce offers better connectedness, engagement, and personalization. For businesses, it means higher revenues, stronger brands, and rewarding experiences for customers.

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