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The advantages and disadvantages of mCommerce

Dan Bond
August 17, 2023

mobile shopping is no longer a trend but a fundamental aspect of modern retail.

According to a report by Statista, in 2023, mCommerce retail sales in the UK amounted to nearly £92 billion. Forecasts suggest that this amount will steadily increase in the coming years, surpassing £109 billion by 2027.

With mobile devices becoming the primary form factor l a lot of shoppers use, businesses must adapt to this shift by optimizing their platforms for mobile access, offering a seamless and intuitive shopping experience to stay competitive.

What is mCommerce?

mCommerce, or mobile commerce, refers to commercial transactions carried out through mobile apps or websites. It involves purchasing and selling goods and services using devices like iPhones, iPads, Android smartphones, etc.

With ongoing improvements in mobile technology, mCommerce has emerged as a vital component of online shopping. It allows businesses to increase retail sales via integrated shopping channels, mobile banking, and emerging innovative opportunities.

The five primary forms of mCommerce

  1.  Mobile shopping

This common form involves customers using their mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets, to navigate mobile-friendly online stores, compare items, and make purchases.

  1.  Mobile banking

Mobile banking apps allow customers to manage their accounts, transfer money, and carry out various financial transactions.

  1. Mobile payments

Users can make contactless payments in stores or online through digital wallets, mobile payment apps, and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.

  1. Mobile ticketing

Tickets for various events, including airlines and movies, can be bought and stored conveniently on mobile devices.

  1.  Mobile coupons and loyalty programs

Mobile apps often offer discounts, vouchers, and loyalty rewards, enhancing the shopping experience.

The difference between eCommerce and mCommerce

eCommerce and mCommerce power the modern shopping experience, yet they stand on distinct grounds. eCommerce, or electronic commerce, operates through the broad digital landscape, encompassing transactions over any electronic device.

On the other hand, mCommerce, or mobile commerce, is explicitly tailored for transactions conducted via mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. This tailored approach allows for convenient and personalized shopping experiences, leveraging the power of mobile technology.

The primary difference lies in their accessibility and usage context. While eCommerce offers the flexibility of shopping from any device with internet connectivity, mCommerce capitalizes on the ubiquitous nature of mobile devices.

Mobile commerce is not just about shopping from anywhere but with ease and efficiency, using interfaces designed explicitly for smaller screens and on-the-go interactions. Push notifications, mobile wallet integration, and location-based services enhance mCommerce, bridging the gap between physical and digital realms in ways eCommerce cannot.

mCommerce thrives on the potency of immediacy. The ability to make purchases or conduct transactions instantly, bolstered by biometric authentications like fingerprint and facial recognition, defines the mCommerce experience. In contrast, although secure, eCommerce transactions often require a more time-consuming authentication process.

The benefits of mCommerce for retailers


Mobile commerce allows customers to shop at their own pace and time, despite their location. This means they can browse products, compare prices, and purchase with just a few taps on their mobile devices.

The ability to shop on the go without the constraints of store hours or physical locations significantly enhances the shopping experience for a customer. This increased accessibility simplifies the shopping process and encourages impulse buying, which can lead to increased sales.


Mobile apps can collect and analyze user data such as browsing habits, purchase history, and location. With this information, businesses can offer personalized recommendations, creating a shopping experience tailored to each individual's preferences.

This level of personalization helps build customer loyalty and increases the likelihood of repeat purchases.

Conversion improvements

Many businesses have noticed a substantial increase in sales after adopting mCommerce strategies. The reasons are that mobile platforms can attract a more extensive customer base, provide a more straightforward user experience, and tend to be used by a more loyal audience.


mCommerce provides businesses with the opportunity to use geolocation targeting. Mobile devices with GPS capabilities allow businesses to target customers with location-specific promotions.

For example, a retail store could send a promotional offer to customers who are in or near their store, increasing their chances of purchasing.

The disadvantages of mCommerce for eCommerce retailers 


Mobile devices are particularly vulnerable to data breaches and theft due to the broad range of networks and connections they access. This susceptibility raises significant concerns for online transactions, where sensitive information like credit card numbers and personal details are exchanged.

Secure transactions are paramount for businesses to gain customer trust and prevent potential financial and reputational damage. Retailers must invest in robust security measures, such as encryption and secure payment gateways, to mitigate these risks.

Screen size

While smartphones and tablets offer the convenience of mobility, their limited screen size can complicate the shopping process, especially for certain items or services that require more detailed viewing or complex configurations.

This can lead to customers abandoning their carts or shopping on larger devices, impacting conversion rates and sales.

Network coverage

Connectivity issues can arise in areas with poor or unstable network coverage, leading to transaction failures or slow loading times. These technical difficulties can cause significant customer frustration, leading to a negative shopping experience and potentially damaging the retailer's reputation.

Therefore, retailers must ensure their mobile platforms are optimized for performance even in low-connectivity scenarios.


Not all mobile online stores are compatible with every device or operating system. For instance, an app designed for iOS may not work on Android devices, and vice versa. This can restrict the customer base and affect the business's market reach. Retailers must consider this when developing their mobile apps and strive to make their platforms accessible across different devices and operating systems.

User experience

If mobile apps or websites are challenging to navigate, have a complex checkout process, or are riddled with bugs and errors, it can deter customers from using them. A poorly designed app or website can lead to customer dissatisfaction and potentially result in lost sales.

Therefore, retailers must invest in user-friendly design, regular testing, and updates to ensure a seamless and enjoyable shopping experience.

Recommendations for using mCommerce 

Create intuitive mobile apps

Developing a user-friendly mobile app that offers a seamless shopping experience can make it easier for customers to browse and purchase products. Investing resources in the design and functionality of these apps can significantly enhance the user experience.

A simple, easy-to-navigate interface, fast-loading pages, and a straightforward checkout process are all critical elements of a successful mobile app.

To do so, UX research should be conducted to ensure the interface is optimized for the target audience. Understanding user behavior, preferences, and pain points can guide the design process and create an app that meets customer needs.

Incorporating features like personalized recommendations, product filters, and customer reviews can augment the shopping experience. Personalized recommendations can make customers feel valued and simplify their search for products, while filters help them quickly find what they want. On the other hand, customer reviews provide social proof and can influence purchasing decisions.


With the variety of devices and screen sizes today, businesses must enhance their websites' mobile compatibility. This means making the site easily navigable on smaller screens and ensuring it remains visually attractive.

Implementing responsive web design can help achieve this by automatically adjusting the layout and content of the website to fit different screen sizes. Page load speed is another critical aspect to consider. Slow loading times can frustrate users and lead to high bounce rates.

Businesses should optimize their mobile websites to load quickly, even on slower internet connections. This can involve compressing images, minimizing the use of heavy scripts, and implementing caching techniques.


Establishing secure payment systems is paramount in safeguarding customer information and building user trust. Ensuring transactions are encrypted and incorporating reliable payment gateways can protect sensitive data from being intercepted or misused.

This commitment to security can reassure customers that their personal and financial information is safe, encouraging them to continue shopping through the platform.

Use of push notifications

These can be an effective tool for engaging customers with relevant and timely information. However, excessive messaging can lead to notification fatigue, causing users to ignore or uninstall the app. It's essential to strike a balance, using push notifications to provide value without overwhelming the user.

Analyze user behavior data

Analytical tools allow businesses to track user activity, identify trends, and understand what drives user engagement and conversions. This information can inform decision-making, helping to tailor marketing strategies, improve product offerings, and enhance the overall customer experience.

The future of mCommerce

Observing the practices of businesses on social media platforms like Instagram provides a glimpse into this future. They are finding new ways to promote their products and drive purchases directly within these social media apps.

Furthermore, the capacity to customize notifications sent directly to customers' smart devices creates a close connection between the consumer and the business. With insights into customer preferences, businesses have increased opportunities to secure a sale.

Mobile wallets and contactless payments will also continue to play a significant role in the future of mCommerce. As security measures improve, and with their convenience, more people will likely adopt these digital payment methods.

What's your approach to mobile?

The continuous growth of mCommerce emphasizes the need to adapt your website, app, and overall mobile shopping experience for your customers. Ensuring a smooth and user-friendly experience on all platforms is key to retaining customers and driving sales.

Remember that a successful mCommerce strategy requires continuous refinement based on customer feedback and behavior. Use analytics tools to track user behavior and gather insights to help you further optimize your mobile platforms.

While the shift towards mCommerce presents its challenges, it also offers immense opportunities for businesses to reach and engage with customers in new and innovative ways.