Will m-commerce overtake e-commerce?
Advances in payment methods and application improvements forecast a bright future for mobile e-commerce
1992 was a very special year. With much anticipation, the European States ratified the Maastricht Treaty, and made the free movement of persons within Europe possible, and one of the best Olympic Games in history was held in Barcelona. Nonetheless, despite these major achievements, another one, in particular, was silently released to the general public. In November of the same year, the multinational technology giant, International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) premiered on the mobile phone market with the IBM Simon, a device that was part of the now obsolete Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), and the first Smartphone was born.
Today, 25 years after the introduction of the first “smart” phone, and the first corresponding text message was sent from one device to another, mobile phones continue to steal the technological innovation spotlight for their great capacity to adapt to market needs, thanks primarily to mobile applications. Because of this, it is not surprising that electronic commerce, or “e-commerce“, has found a few powerful allies in mobile devices and apps.
An electronic marketplace developed specifically for mobile apps, known as “m-commerce”, is growing more popular every day. And we are not talking about simply using a mobile device to access web pages. Online retail applications such as Wallapop or Amazon are extremely well-known, but passenger transport companies (airlines, trains) are also making the most of mobile phone usage thanks to apps.
And this is primarily due to the fact that downloading, for example, an airline app onto your mobile, choosing a destination, selecting a form of payment, obtaining a QR code, and adding it to your “Wallet” (if you have iPhone) and thus avoiding long lines at airports when travelling to your favorite destination is priceless. It is pure convenience.
A convenience, which exists, in large part, since the bulk of the population always has their mobile phone with them, and because apps make it easy to embed discounts and promotions. Apps are continually improving their functionality as well, therefore, it is not surprising that the m-commerce is directly challenging the “traditional” e-commerce market. A mobile phone is easier to carry than a computer, and apps, as a sales channel, are better suited to the needs of customers who, in general, prefer to reserve in advance and have already decided on the services they will be using.
Technological advances are improving the mobile shopping experience
In this regard, in an article published by the North American website Business Insider (BI), The Rise of M-Commerce: Mobile Shopping Stats & Trends, indicates that companies within the sector are addressing problems that affect the user when making purchases via mobile phone. Among the obstacles that trouble consumers are payment options, but the Chinese market seems to have found the key thanks to mobile payment platforms such as Alipay, that surpassed the all-powerful Paypal in 2013, and thanks to its greater than 520-million active users who execute more than 100 million transactions per day. The growth of Alipay is closely linked with its ability to innovate, and this past September, as reported by Pere Condom-Vila’s blog, Technology & Entrepreneurship,facial recognition has even been incorporated into their mobile app.
This is driving m-commerce to such an extent that a 2016-study by Lexis-Nexis, a company dedicated to computer-assisted legal research, points out that this type of transaction will quickly become the preferred choice of American consumers. And to put this into context, this same publication estimates that by 2020, m-commerce in the United States could reach the dizzying number of 284 billion dollars, or in other words, 45% of the total U.S. e-commerce market. Impressive, right?
But there is more. Studies performed and published by Google this year illustrate how web sites and mobile applications influence user behavior in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (the EMEA region), and demonstrate that 60% of respondents think applications loaded faster than web sites, and 62% believe they are easier to navigate. In addition, 41% of the survey have already discovered the practicality of downloading commercial applications that allow users to find the best deals since they are using their mobile device more and more to investigate, reserve and evaluate their leisure travel experiences.
E-commerce in the snow business
This is why it is not surprising that an increasing number of businesses are integrating a mobile retail outlet and investing in the improvement of their online stores with the aim of increasing sales. This is also true for the world of snow where it is important to point out the spectacular growth of the American firm, Liftopia, who electronically sells lift tickets using a yield management system (the same system used by airlines and hotels on their websites) that can propose skiers the best offers.
Europe has not done too badly either. Old Continent companies such as Skioo, which offers a shared multi-station ski pass in Switzerland, Travelski or Esqui.com, use their own apps to pitch their promotional ski passes and packages to customers, and know the vital importance of adopting clear e-commerce and m-commerce retail strategies. These companies, along with the Aramon Group in Spain, are breaking new ground in snow commerce.
The Aramon Club
In the community of Aragon, the Aramon Group, composed of four ski resorts, has rolled up their sleeves and gotten down to business, and so far, it is paying off. Just last season, their newly implemented application, developed by Skitude, was still in its infancy, yet was downloaded by more than 20,000 customers.
Rated over four stars, out of a possible five, the resorts’ app was classified in the Top 10 of all sports related downloads in the country. This year brings new developments such as the integration of a native based online store to the app and the creation of the Aramon Club.
The Aramon Club is a loyalty program and a business strategy that does much more than simply make it possible to purchase and recharge, or “top-up”, lift tickets. It also offers several benefits to members such as on-slope savings or reduced prices for online purchases. Add to this the fact that, with the same account and username, it is possible to access Skitude‘s gamification platform so skiers can record their ski days, check stats and share experiences with other Club Aramon members.
Visit the Club Aramón website https://www.clubaramon.com/