How Mobile Technology Has Influenced E-Commerce

With more and more advancements in the digital products we use every day, it’s no wonder the technology behind it has a shelf life of roughly 18 months. And with mobile technology at the forefront of this digital revolution, e-commerce and e-money have have become viable practices for those who understand their scope.

So what concrete effects has mobile technology had on these industries? Here’s a look at how the advancements of mobile devices has changed consumers’ buying patterns, as well as how businesses handle sales and money.

Consumer Behavior

Perhaps the most encouraging sign for e-commerce is the rate at which sales have grown since the advent of mobile devices. Consumers now have more opportunity and freedom to purchase items anytime, anywhere. For example, 97 percent of tablet users and 72 percent of smartphone users say they have made a purchase on their device at some point in time.

In addition, mobile technology has streamlined consumer purchases. The average time a purchase decision is made on a mobile device is a matter of minutes or hours, rather than days or weeks. In short, mobile technologies have made it easier for consumers to gratify themselves with instant purchases.

Purchase Process

No matter how consumers make a purchase online, they no longer do so in a vacuum. While mobile technology allows consumers to make purchases anywhere, it has also given them research tools. Consumers typically read consumer and third-party reviews, and even ask friends and family before they make a purchase. The mobile e-commerce revolution is double-edged in this way and doesn’t allow companies to skimp on service or quality; in fact, if the product doesn’t live up to industry standard, a similar one is readily available.

What’s Considered E-Money?

Of course, none of this would be possible without the advancement of e-money, which is the electronic alternative to physical cash. Any monetary value that’s stored electronically is considered e-money. This includes online bank accounts, stock investments, PayPal or Venmo transactions, as well as electronic payment methods such as Android and Apple Pay.

Mobile Technology and E-Money

Mobile technology has all but made physical cash obsolete. While some consumers have been wary of electronic wallets, like Android and Apple Pay, most brick-and-mortar businesses have already adapted to this elegant and streamlined way of making purchases. Security concerns over personal information stored on a smartphone, however, have been addressed with more thorough physical security in case of phone theft, such as finger print locks and now iris scan locks in the Samsung Galaxy Note7.

Online bank options have been expanded by mobile technology as well, as every major bank now boasts its own mobile app, which provides the option of online bill payments and mobile, electronic deposits. Today, most companies no longer provide physical paychecks and instead use direct deposit systems. While it seems the use of digital currency as the sole means of payment is something of the future, one country wants to buck that trend: Sweden.

In December 2015, The New York Times published an article that explored the viability of Sweden’s vision for the future. From churches allowing texted tithes to homeless street vendors accepting payment through mobile credit card readers and the Abba Museum refusing any physical cash, it seems the rest of the world is acting quickly to go digital. In fact, one member of Swedish pop group Abba, Bjorn Ulvaeus, who helped found the museum, addressed the issue and proclaimed the museum didn’t want to be left behind as cold hard cash dies out.


This page was last updated on September 16, 2016.

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