Mobile commerce, also being called m-commerce, has become one of the hottest topics among the marketing and wireless industries as experts attempt to decipher how to use it to their best advantage.
Every week, there are handfuls of new partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions of companies or product initiatives that have been designed to exploit mobile commerce and marketing to its fullest. At the end of it all, the same question remains, which involves what the consumer actually wants from commerce in its mobile form.
Due to the novelty of the industry, the answer isn’t easy to define. Market researchers are scrambling through this significant change in the industry to help to identify the answer, which the consumers themselves haven’t yet pinpointed.
New ideas are being tested and marketed by the dozens, from using a mobile device as a digital wallet in conventional stores, to actually making purchases by way of the cell phone, without entering a physical shop.
When all is said and done, though, what these experts are discovering is that consumers don’t seem to be seeking revolutionary new changes. What is different in the American marketplace from other areas where m-commerce has truly taken off – such as Africa – is that consumers here already have their convenient habits established.
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In order to keep their lives organized, they typically have one or two credit cards and a debit card. They may also have a points card or a charge card for one or two favorite merchants. Online, they may have a PayPal account, and an account with a favorite online company such as Amazon or Apple, so that they can use a “one click” purchasing system.
That number of “wallet” items, to most consumers, feels perfectly manageable and doesn’t need to be further compacted with technology. This is not to say that there is no chance for m-commerce at all. Many people love technology, and many people have a wallet full of credit cards. Initiatives geared toward those individuals may take off quite quickly.
On the whole, though, experts appear to face struggles in North America as too many established alternatives already exist.