Mobile technology has not only changed the way people communicate, but it has also shifted the way business is being conducted all over the globe. Gone are the days when we used to do business on-site in institutions. Nowadays, the birth of mobile commerce has changed the scenario thanks to the advancement of mobile communications. So what exactly is m-commerce?
What is M-Commerce?
M-commerce stands for mobile commerce and in simple terms; it can be defined as the ability to perform some simple or complex business transaction from the comfort of your phone. One may think of m-commerce as version of e-commerce only this time m-commerce adopts mobile phone trends in a bid to quench consumers’ quest for business efficiency.
It is interesting to note the rise in m-commerce drew inspiration from a very unlikely source in M-pesa from Safaricom Telecom Company operating in Kenya. In fact, M-pesa services in Kenya is said to be the mother of all m-commerce services given that it was the first ever mobile banking system in the world. Ever since its inception at the turn of this century the world has never looked back as more and more business institutions churn out other m-commerce solutions each passing year. A very good example to illustrate this is to think of the number of banks and companies today that are adopting mobile commerce services in the form of deposits, cash transfer, bill payment, service inquiry and many more!
It is not surprising, though given the potential m-commerce has changed lives of many. A study by Google Shopper Marketing Agency council in conjunction with M/A/R/C Research found that users with smartphones tend to buy more goods than those who do not use phones. The research also projected a rise for money traded in the coming years. A market research company eMarketer estimates that a whooping $113 billion amount would be traded through m-commerce by the year 2017. The point is m-commerce is on the rise and rightly so. To back this statement, it would be colossal to take a peek at some important features of m-commerce that make it very popular and you will probably see why digital media experts foresee a bright future for this trend.
How M-Commerce Simplifies Life
- Business Marketing is Made Easy
From a business perspective, mobile commerce presents an opportunity for developing marketing campaigns. A good way to do this is to use messaging techniques like bulk SMS services – a concept known as push marketing. Most Businesses can easily formulate tailor made marketing algorithms to suit a targeted group with this form of trend. This way, consumers can get a picture of a brand painted in their minds- a concept that is psychologically beneficial in digital Public Relations.
- Faster Payments
Powering payment of goods and services through m-commerce platform makes it very easy for both the user and the company to undertake a transaction. It saves a lot of time and money, while making payment through pay bill gateways in phone applications rather than getting on-site to achieve such a task. The future will surely present a way to pay for goods and services in a wider geographical location, thus making it very easy to ship for goods and services in a blink of any eye!
- Prompt Customer Service Delivery
Customer relation Management is a key ingredient if one is to build a successful relationship with consumers and target consumers in business. M-commerce is seen as the future way of giving customers the best customer service delivery. An example is using an m-commerce application that offers information, demo clips, responses to queries, etc. This is to imply that m-commerce can provide a very cool communication gateway by providing that coveted customer experience.
- Tracking Locations
With mobile communications, tracking the location of consumers and target consumers is made easy and which seems a better way to tap into this than deliver personalized push marketing. Geo-location tracking is an aspect that is bound to give smart businesses an upper hand when used properly thanks to development of m-commerce.
Security Issues in M-Commerce
There are many other great benefits of m-commerce aims at reducing costs and promoting efficiency. However, some deep issues should be mitigated if one is successfully adopt the trend. One major challenge is the security concerns that arise from the use of m-commerce among small and large institutions.
Cyber attackers have seen an opportunity to eat where they do not sow and this is bound to be a major challenge going forward. One major attack that has grown to be very prevalent in m-commerce systems is card not present Attacks (CNP). Such attacks arise from the fact that it is at times very difficult to ensure that a person authorizing a given transaction is actually the required cardholder.
Cyber security experts have developed systems that minimize data leakage in databases, but security at the point of data consumptions is still wanting. Security in communication between applications and sites in m-commerce can use SSL technology. While developing an app, developers have to perform several checks and ensure that the server has the legitimate certificate. It means developers create a trusted chain certificate, which would be linked from end-entity certificate to intermediates and root certificate. With this certificate chain, developers ensure that the certificates involved in a chain are valid and can be trusted.
The Payment Card Industry Digital Security Standard (PCI DSS) has provided some guidelines to solve the problem of credit card security in m-commerce with the introduction of a scheme known as tokenisation. Tokenisation aims at substituting credit card numbers with tokens that reduce credit card numbers leakage. The problem with this is that the system needs a database to store the tokens. The databases grow over a period and it becomes challenging to manage-they even become security targets!
There is no argument that a lot still needs to be done in a bid to boost security in e-commerce and m-commerce systems for the sustainable growth of the industry. The ball is in the court of cybersecurity experts to solve the puzzle that would surely represent a major change in the way we conduct businesses globally. On a positive note though, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for m-commerce judging by the stats around the world. It is just a matter when we will see the trend at its utmost level. Time is always the best scale or let us just say time will tell what direction m-commerce will take in the coming years.
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