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M-commerce: Understanding the challenges and opportunities for the D2C ecosystem – YourStory

Popularly known as m-commerce, mobile commerce is essentially the purchase and sale of products or services through portable electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets. A contemporary form of electronic commerce, m-commerce provides users with unrestricted access to an ever-increasing selection of brands on the go, allowing them to conduct purchases from any part of the globe at any given time.

Despite garnering a large consumer base, m-commerce continues to grow exponentially due to its convenience and speed factor, coupled with the widespread usage of smartphones. According to a recent study, m-commerce sales from smartphones alone are expected to cross the $350 million mark by the end of 2021.

The trend is likely to continue since India calls home to the largest online market in the world barring China, with over 560 million internet consumers. Mobile commerce is also dominating the ecommerce space, contributing a mammoth 67 percent to the domain’s overall sales in 2021 worth $2.32 trillion.

Additionally, m-commerce is slated to take the D2C ecosystem by storm, so let us explore the opportunities it could exploit and the challenges it would face along the way.


1. Achieving higher CTRs through mobile advertising

Mobile advertising has emerged as the dominant force in the world of native advertisement, offering impressive click-through rates as high as 0.38 percent on smartphones.

The increased volume in mobile usage coupled with the multifunctionality and improved compatibility of handheld devices have aided in the success of mobile marketing, thereby eclipsing traditional mediums such as desktop advertising in the matters of impact, penetration, and customer retention.

2. Seamless shopping experiences

Customers must be treated to a smooth, visually pleasing, and time-efficient shopping experience on their mobile devices to continually drive sales and thrive in today’s highly-competitive ecommerce environment.

A mobile-optimised platform with low response times and bounce rates makes for not only a seamless shopping experience but also a streamlined browsing and purchasing escapade.

3. Greater reach through social commerce

Social media is often responsible for introducing brands to mobile-first generations such as Gen Z and millennials, who exhaustively consume content through the medium for entertainment, news, and shopping. Gen Z and millennials today are frontrunners in global spending due to high disposable incomes.

Gauging their interests through effective social media marketing and data-driven promotional activities would be beneficial for generating brand awareness and sustainable growth in the long run.

4. Driving engagement, brand loyalty and sales

A trend at the forefront of modern commerce, omnichannel marketing pampers consumers with an abundance of fulfilment opportunities and purchasing options. Whether it’s app-based or in-person shopping, omnichannel marketing enables consumers to engage with the brands of their choice on their terms.

Brands can ensure sustained success through omnichannel marketing by mirroring their core messaging and branding across all their marketing channels, exhibiting a truly consistent brand identity. Maintaining a degree of consistency across diverse channels aids in expanding brand awareness instils brand loyalty among customers, and creates multiple revenue streams for the brand.

4. Personalised experiences

Today, consumers expect brands to be mindful of their preferences, which is why personalisation plays an integral part in creating and maintaining long-lasting relationships between the brand and its customers.

Personalisation is attained when a brand tailors its content, interactions, and offerings to cater to a specific audience based on their particular interests and specifications.

Brands create a customised experience for consumers by addressing them to project exclusivity, relevance, and uniqueness, thereby significantly boosting customer retention, brand affinity, and sales.

5. Location-based marketing

Location-based marketing can prove itself an essential resource for brands with physical stores and an online presence by facilitating foot traffic and mobile engagement. An effective medium for augmenting brand awareness and customer outreach, location-based marketing enables businesses to target a segment of their audience based on interest and proximity.

This tried and tested strategy allows traditional companies to engage nearby audiences and assists consumers in locating the brand’s nearest physical location, driving footfall and potential sales.

7. Immersive experiences using Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality (AR) is a rapidly emerging technology revolutionising the advertising landscape by uniting brands and consumers digitally. The technology involves the enhancement of real-life environments, enriching users with interactive and immersive experiences.

Companies across the globe are leveraging AR to shower their customers with engaging brand experiences and insights into how their unique products can enrich their lives.

Today, AR has also penetrated the world of commerce, bridging the gap between in-person and virtual shopping, and allowing consumers to experience brand offerings and services in an interactive and personalized ecosystem.


1. Slow and unstable connections

Mobile commerce’s effectiveness is predicated on its speed of delivery, and slow or unstable networks and connections are one of its biggest nemeses, negatively affecting load and start render times while repulsing users through page bloating.

Users ought to be empowered with easy access to stable internet networks to truly experience the best offerings of m-commerce.

2. Data privacy

Mobile devices are now portable stockpiles of data, continually storing sensitive information in real-time within installed applications to understand the user’s preferences better. However, the data-sharing mechanism raises several privacy concerns since mobile phones are more prone to theft or misuse than stationary devices.

Governments all around the globe have recognised the need for data security and have proposed the implementation of stringent policies like the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019.

3. Fragmented internet penetration

Despite being the second-largest consumer of internet content, India exhibits a below-par internet penetration rate of approximately 50 percent.

However, the country is witnessing a consistent rise in its internet inclusivity index due to increased smartphone ownership and the abundant availability of affordable plans.

4. Device limitations

A long-standing drawback of smartphones has been the lack of adequate screen size, comparable to laptops or desktops. A small screen size often requires online shoppers to extensively navigate through a myriad of products before arriving at the point of interest, severely affecting shopping rates and volume.

Prolonged navigation also strains the device by consuming resources such as processing power, battery life, and internal memory. With the introduction of newer generations of smartphones and powerful processors, technical inadequacies could be taken out of the equation entirely soon.

Edited by Kanishk Singh

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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