As a business (even a small business) you must be abreast with the present era we are in. You need to appreciate that commerce has evolved and keeps evolving. With the right understanding, you can rightly position yourself. There is a rising trend of e-commerce you need to consider seriously. In Zimbabwe, ecommerce has been steadily growing especially ever since 2020. Its growth is only stifled by some hurdles e.g. internet connectivity infrastructure. Today we shall be looking at a concept you may know i.e. mobile commerce. This article is meant to simplify m-commerce for you so that you can incorporate it in your small to medium business.
What Is Mobile Commerce (Or M-Commerce)?
E-commerce is in principle the practice of buying and selling anything online. Mobile commerce or m-commerce then refers to e-commerce conducted via the use of mobile communication or smart devices e.g. smartphones and tablets. Thus mobile commerce is a subset of e-commerce. M-commerce is on the rise. This year global m-commerce sales are set to go beyond US$510 billion. Almost 45 percent of that will be solely from retail – it is a strategic segment to focus on.
Common Types Of Mobile Commerce (M-Commerce)
To better understand what m-commerce is, you need to know its core types. The first form of mobile commerce is using an e-commerce site. From the moment you set up an e-commerce website you are into e-commerce. This is because many people will often access the site and even make payments via mobile smart devices. The second form of mobile commerce is through mobile app-based purchases. For instance, you can get a mobile app developed where people can make purchases in-app.
Another form of m-commerce is an online marketplace. This is a platform where you can showcase your goods and services. Examples of such platforms in Zimbabwe are Everything Zimbabwean, Pamusika, and Ownai, amongst others. Mobile commerce can also be conducted through the use of mobile money wallets; most of you are familiar with this. Then there is also mobile banking which enables you to make purchases online. For instance, when you purchase electricity using your mobile banking app; it is an example of m-commerce.
How You Can Incorporate Mobile Commerce In Your Business
Incorporating m-commerce in your business is tied to the common types of mobile commerce. We spoke of online marketplaces. You can get your business or goods and services listed or showcased on such platforms. By so doing you would have tapped into and incorporated m-commerce into your business. This is relatively the easiest way. Then you can consider getting your own website set up specifically for your business. It can be a basic website that can then be optimized for e-commerce. The best would be to just get an e-commerce website set up. This is the best approach especially if you are looking to tap into markets beyond Zimbabwe.
There is also the option of getting a mobile app developed for your business. In Zimbabwe, you need to tread carefully on this though. The Zimbabwean market is not particularly ripe and ready for mobile apps. It is important to highlight having an online payment gateway integrated into your website. Better still you can still tap into the power of an online payment gateway without a website. A notable online payment gateway provider in Zimbabwe is Paynow Zimbabwe. An online payment gateway will enable your business to offer comprehensive online payment options for customers.
Pros And Cons Of Mobile Commerce
M-commerce is great apparently but there are two sides to the coin. There are upsides for a business to use mobile commerce; first off, to the customers. M-commerce provides customers with flexible payment options. Customers do not have to handle cash making transacting safer and more convenient; they can do it from anywhere. There are particular upsides for the business. For instance, with mobile commerce, you will get more comprehensive financial management on your part. You will also enjoy limitless market reach – can even reach diaspora markets; anyone with a smartphone is a prospect.
There are risks of online fraud and theft – personal data, funds, and so on. Network dynamics can bring in complications e.g. downtime; a major concern in Zimbabwe. The cost of internet data can compromise customers’ ability to access your m-commerce platform(s). Another issue is that of unreliable internet connectivity. These are issues of concern here in Zimbabwe. Mobile commerce usually entails sophisticated systems – you may need to outsource or hire experts to install, run, and maintain. Regulation and law requirements can be intricate; you may need legal assistance. Plus registration and compliance aspects can be lengthy and complex.
That is all we can discuss today on m-commerce or mobile commerce. There is much more to discuss. What is important is that your business should incorporate m-commerce into its processes. This is strategic in Zimbabwe as the country steadily adopts mainstream e-commerce and m-commerce. This is because many people in Zimbabwe spend lots of time on their smartphones. Just to let you know. The topmost thing people do on their smartphones with respect to m-commerce is price comparisons. This can be an important consideration in your m-commerce strategy formulation. It simply tells you that competitive pricing can make you stand out online.