While mobile commerce offers retailers many opportunities, it also has its challenges. The most important ones are technical.
What are the technical limitations of mobile commerce?
The nature of mobile commerce comes with several technical disadvantages:
- Screen size: While mobile phones and tables screens are becoming bigger, the screens are still significantly smaller than those of laptops and PCs. As a result, information has to be condensed or, often better, simply not be offered. The same applies for certain features that may work well on larger screens but are nearly impossible to use on a small screen, like product configurators.
- No keyboard: While several technologies have made it easier to fill in forms on a mobile screen, it is still tough compared to keyboards of laptops and PCs. Retailers have to be aware that on mobile devices they should offer as little information as possible. It is best to store preferences as delivery address and payment preferences as much as possible in the user profile so that he does not have to retype these.
- Bandwidth: While bandwidth is in most countries improving rapidly (most countries now offer 4G next to 3G with 5G being introduced in the first countries in 2018. However, while bandwidth is improving, it is by far stable. Depending on the number of people in the neighborhood, actual Internet speed may still be low. Retailers have to be aware that their mobile websites have to be kept “light”.
- Payment: Depending on the country, the number of payment methods suitable for mobile usage may vary between many and zero. Entering credit card details on a website using a mobile phone is tedious. In China, mobile wallets like those of WeChat and Alipay were built for mobile devices.
Too many kinds of devices
At the start of ecommerce, life was easy (although most ecommerce managers did not perceive it that way at the time). An online shop only had to support one kind of Internet browser, with a clear (and very limited) set of technology on large PC screens.