Mobile e-commerce can be defined as carrying commercial activities electronically using smart hand held devices and mobile devices. Mobile e-commerce, also known as M-Commerce and mobile commerce, is often touted as one of the most developed forms of electronic commerce we have today. But do you think m-commerce has reached a level of excellence where it can be termed as successful or even dependable? I sincerely feel that m-commerce still have a long road to travel before being called as a dependable or even a successful platform. During my research on mobile e-commerce, I noticed several drawbacks, which I wish to share with you all.
Next Generation Shopping
Considered as 'next level shopping' by many, M-Commerce offers the liberty of carrying out commercial transactions on the move. The technology behind this wireless access is WAP or Wireless Application Protocol. It is because of the immense popularity that m-commerce has gained lately, names like Ericson and Nokia have joined hands with Sprint and AT&T Wireless to manufacture WAP enabled smart phones.
Mobile e-commerce to some extent can be beneficial but the gap between reality and virtual world is yet to be filled-in perfectly. To prove above mentioned statement let us consider a real life situation of you buying furniture for your home. Of-course, the first thing you would be looking for is comfort that can only be felt and not seen. Will you prefer mobile shopping in this case? I leave the answer up to you!
In case the answer to my question is a Yes! Then, are you willing to download a new application for every brand you are willing to shop with? A tricky one isn't it? But today, every other brand in the market is promoting it's own e-commerce application, thereby making online shopping experience more of a nightmare for the users. If I were a customer, do you think I will prefer wasting my precious time in downloading these heavy applications and upgrade the same from time to time. This is where mobile e-commerce lags behind!
Journey From Desktops To Smart Phones
Entire internet world was revolutionized when the paradigm of online shopping started shifting from desktops to laptops and later on to hand held devices such as smart phones. It is estimated that by the year 2015, smart phone subscribers will touch figure of 1,187.4 million and it it because of this growing trend, mobile e-commerce came into limelight. Lately did many firms realize that with growth of mobile e-commerce, standardization was lost from their business. With very less business opportunities, developing a plethora of mobile e-commerce application to support several platforms seemed like inviting losses intentionally. Lack of standardization can be considered one of the main reasons why m-commerce is still not the most preferred shopping option even in developed nations like US and UK.
Parties Affected By M-Commerce
Advent of m-commerce in the market affected several industries, especially those associated with process of information transfer. These include mobile banking services and brokerage services offered by financial agencies. Telecommunication industries that offer services of bill payment and account review through cellular phones. Service industry that offer liberty to clients to make payment on the move using their hand held devices. Information sector that caters information to users in form of financial reports, sports news and updates on their mobile devices.
Major Drawbacks Involved In M-Commerce
- Compared to Desktops or laptops, smart phones are very less efficient when it comes to speed and functionality. Eliminating important elements of a website like plug-ins, scripts and flash for preparing a mobile compatible module is something very time consuming and annoying.
- Another major problem is the screen size of a mobile phone, which is not more than 3 inches. So to adjust accordingly a firm has to minimize text and background contrast, which means extra effort.
- Can anyone guarantee safety of their own mobile phones today? Phones are prone to problems like theft, software crash and many more. Phones also have additional concerns like data encryption, unauthorized access in form of hackers and viruses.
- Use of rich data is very less as bandwidth supported by mobile phones is very limited.
- Use of server side scripting due to slow processing speed and as a result, server load is maximum.
Lastly, 'money value' proves to be a vital deciding factor in every field and mobile e-commerce being new is relatively costly compared to other mediums of e-commerce. As per the drawbacks that I have showcased above you can very well make out the areas where m-commerce lags behind and why I say that mobile commerce cannot be considered as a 'fully developed' medium.