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M–commerce: the commerce of the future

It is hard to believe it today: in the mid-90’s there were people who were able to predict that in a matter of a few years no one will remember what life looked like before e-commerce platforms. Those who can’t remember those days would be advised to imagine a world in which the internet is used at most to exchange emails while the phone, often stationary, only to speak to other people. Electronic commerce? Before the new millennium, the expression might have brought to mind a bard’s well-known quote – the one about a new thing that takes time before the sugars in it crystalize like on a fig or before it is cured like tobacco.

Making accurate forecasts about the future of e-commerce seems an impossible task in such circumstances. And yet! One has to have an amazing foresight to see years into the future, let alone a determination necessary to embark on a project whose significance will dawn on the competitors only in the next decade.

Contemplating the phenomenal rise of e-commerce in the last two decades makes it hard to resist the temptation to think in precisely the same categories about the world today. Which market trend will be the talking point in a few years in much the same way as e-commerce is today? Which path of development offers as many opportunities as e-commerce did at the dawn of the new millennium?

The answer does not call for a great amount of intuition. M-commerce is not a novelty in the same sense as e-commerce two decades ago – a development totally unknown previously. M-commerce is a logical consequence of market development where the use of the internet with the aid of mobile devices has become commonplace. Online commerce evolves along with the internet and the behaviour patterns of its users.

Data show that today nearly every (sic!) owner of a smartphone uses it to engage in behaviours which constitute an element of a buying process. For most of us this comes down to searching for products and comparing prices, but nearly half of all mobile customers eventually settle on an item and go through with the purchase. This is true of course about B2C, but even the B2B sector is not resistant to market trends. The role of m-commerce with regard to B2C and B2B is precisely the same: it is simply yet another and very effective indeed – as shown by the data – sales channel. I would wager that in the case of B2B the growth of mobile commerce online will turn out to be even more dynamic than where the sales are directed at individuals. I know of course that growth in the B2C sector can top 100 per cent, which seems impossible to beat, even though many online shops have yet to optimise their websites to be accessible to mobile devices. However, business transactions are something entirely different than the purchases we make for our own needs. An individual customer can spend a lot of time comparing offers before they home in on a product which best meets their expectations. A reseller on the other hand, having secured an order, will make a purchase in a flash, without hesitation.

No one doubts today that in order to take full advantage of all sales channels they have to enable m-commerce as well. Without it, one cannot talk about an omnichannel strategy. Moreover, data show that it is an opportunity-laden channel, which will generate more and more profit online.

You will have guessed what I am getting at. Our recent launch of the mobile version of the InterLink system represents a milestone in ABC Data’s history. The e-commerce platform designed with business partners in mind and widely seen as the number one tool on the market has undergone many improvements. This time we can see it not only in its new guise but also, and most importantly, complete with a new mobile application: m-InterLink.

Chamber of Digital Economy report on m-commerce:

The same report from two years ago (makes an interesting comparison with the most recent one):

One more interesting article:

It is interesting to see what has been said about the development of m-commerce over the years. Here is a nice example:

The quotation about figs and tobacco comes of course from Dziady (Forefathers’ Eve) by Adam Mickiewicz (Part III, scene VII: The Warsaw Salon). It suggests itself naturally whenever reference is made to an unjustified delay in taking business decisions. Perhaps it is the bard’s only quotation that can be successfully used in business contexts.

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