E-commerce focuses on commerce through electronic means and as of late newer developments are changing the e-commerce scenario and these days new technologies and new way of doing commercial activities are emerging like mobile commerce, social media commerce, etc.
Newer technologies like HTML5 and app stores have drastically changed the e-commerce scenario by not only standardizing web site development with rich multi media content as with HTML5 but with proliferation of app stores which act as one point storehouse of device specific software applications, access and usage of e-commerce has drastically increased.
Mobile commerce refers to services and commercial activities done by internet-enabled mobile devices like smart phones and tablets. Mobile commerce builds on the advances made by ecommerce like automated, electronic processes but makes interaction available to a wider audience in a more personalized way as for example downloading a ring tone is m-commerce.
In early days of wireless devices when pager and PDAs were prevalent, information based m-commerce was widespread like getting an update on weather, stock exchange index, etc. But with proliferation of smart phones and newer wireless technologies like 3G or 4G, interactivity has been added along with increased functionality like online groceries being accessed and purchases made by a mobile phone.
- Ubiquity – Wireless devices enables users of the device access needed resources from anywhere and anytime.
- Personalization – Mobile devices uniquely identify their user as to access the mobile network, both smart phones and tablets utilize the cellular network and use a Subscriber Identification Module (SIM card)
- Localization – Mobile devices can be geo-located as they may have a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver which can communicate their position to any software application running on them
M-commerce based mobile applications which are extensively offered and used are
- Personalization services (ring tones, ring back, logos, etc)
- Full-track music downloads
- Imaging (streamed, broadcast, downloaded/uploaded and interactive)
- Information services (paid-for and free)
- Mobile payments
- Mobile banking
- Mobile wallet
- Mobile ticketing
- Location based services
- Entertainment (e.g. games, gambling)
Even though due to increase spread of internet enabled wireless devices, mobile-commerce is seeing an increased usage but still m-commerce has to face many challenges before becoming an platform of choice for commercial activities. The challenges usually includes
- Malicious domains
- Loss or theft of device
- Wireless technology support
- Monitoring user’s private information
- Location-based user tracking