On Wikipedia mCommerce is described as ‘the delivery of electronic commerce capabilities directly into the consumer’s hand, anywhere, via wireless technology’. To implement an eCommerce strategy you will need to classify what you deem to be mobile by looking at the ‘consumer’s hand’ part of this definition.
Traditionally mobile would be defined as feature phones, those that were used primarily for calls, text messaging and basic productivity e.g. calendar. In terms of hardware they have dial pads, a small screen and possibly a basic internet browser. But in the past few years this has changed, with the advent of the smart phone. Smart phones can be seen as mobile computers that have powerful web browsers and the ability to download and install third party applications. The hardware tends to be a full touchscreen or in some cases it might have a hardware keyboard e.g. Blackberry.
Now things start to get interesting. With the advent of the smart phone, there became a market for the same device but on a bigger scale. The first company to recognise this were Apple, who bought out the hugely successful iPad tablet. But it does not end here. There is also a device that sits between the smart phone and the tablet – the phablet. These tend to have a screen size of around 5″ as opposed to 4″ for a smartphone and 7/10″ for a tablet. It does not end here either. What about laptops? They fulfill all of the criteria from the Wikipedia definition as well as hybrid devices that are a tablet that can dock onto a keyboard, again these fulfill the criteria.
Stretching this definition a little bit, there is also wearable technology e.g. Sony Smartwatch the and rumoured competitors from Samsung and Apple. These have mobile operating systems inside and are capable of running third party applications.
Then there is Google Glass. What if you were able to see a product through the using Glass, which would then recognise it as an object and allow you to search online retailers for that or related products?
So, by the look of it mCommerce by device is everything except desktop? What about cars? They can go almost anywhere.
What about internet enabled televisions? Although this does not satisfy the definition of mCommerce in terms of ‘anywhere’, they ‘satisfy in your hand’ – just and also wireless.
As you can see, a mobile strategy is not as simple as as it used to be, with a large number of channels to be taken into consideration.