E-commerce has revolutionized the payments global industry leading to a number of developments with a rush to capitalize on the market segment using the technology. This is also due to the sudden use of modern technologies such as cloud computing, mobile commerce and portable technologies. In respect to this, there have been a number of developments mainly in the e-commerce sector with companies adopting the use in the operations. Many online enterprises which trade goods are able to sell their merchandise online through technologies such as cloud computing, which essentially means using virtual resources on the internet platform (Furht & Escalante 2010), to facilitate the exchange of goods and services between buyers and sellers participating in online marketplaces.
The sudden growth also has been a result of the uptake of mobile technologies, with manufacturers of these gadgets developing their devices to support these technologies. This has been visible, with key manufacturers such as Apple computers, and other android based mobile phone developers creating android phones that can integrate with mobile technologies, such as payment systems. The future portends that there will be a drastic increase and uptake in the use of mobile based e-commerce, commonly called the m-commerce which basically refers to commercial transactions which involve the use of mobile gadgets (Huang, Wang, &Day 2008). An intense competition in the online landscape is anticipated, with many firms increasingly embracing online payments made through mobile phones. Its growth, capitalized by the strong presence of online marketplaces, shops and other services which are paid for on the online platform is an indication of the likelihood of the high intake in the e-commerce industry as a whole. Mobile commerce has been envisioned as the new frontier of mobile payments in the online marketplace. There has been an unprecedented uptake of the technology with widespread acceptance of the mode of payment despite certain ethical, business and security considerations (Mennecke 2003).
Mobile commerce has been on the rise due to the emergence of various technologies that utilize the online platform. These technologies have given rise to new models of businesses such as business to consumer, where businesses trading on the online environment sell directly to consumers (Longenecker, Petty, Hay, & Palich 2014), their products and services hence bringing the need for online payments through handheld devices. This forms the largest segment in the online consumer marketplace which is visible in various spheres. By these means businesses directly sell to consumers thus stimulating the need for m-commerce and the ability to make payments irrespective of the locality.
Compared to the year 2000 when there were less active mobile phone users in the m-commerce segment, current statistics indicate a staggering 1.5 billion active Facebook accounts, a phenomenon that is comparable to a disruptive force, since it has changed the way a society operates, functions and does business. Thus, many multinationals in the retail segment such as Wal-Mart and K-Mart, United States’ largest retail operators, have seen a surge in the number of e-commerce sales. Chinese Alibaba was affected as a result of the stiff competition due to the development of online marketplaces, the e-commerce concept, where businesses sell to consumers directly without involving third parties through their online platform (Armer, Thiel, & Noble 2015). This trend is gaining popularity with recent survey indicating that nearly 18% of Northern Americans use m-commerce, with projected figures of $28 billion in 2016. Its acceptance rate is not only visible in the United States, but also in China, where a number of consumers adopting the use of mobile payments on online purchases is rapidly growing. There is a greater number of smartphone users making online purchases, with the number expected to grow 3 times faster than the usual e-commerce mode of sales, due to the sudden increase and use of cloud based platforms by many companies. In addition to the business to consumer models, business to business models also adopt e-commerce as a form of conducting business. This occurs especially where the economy of scale is a factor, where business capitalizes on cheap online product offerings due to high availability, to purchase goods from global multinationals, and thereafter sell to other small entrepreneurial ventures.
M-commerce, as a technology, will revolutionize the retail industry, with indicators relating it to the internet bubble burst of the 1990’s. It will be impossible for forward looking organizations and multinationals to operate without the concept, with statistics indicating an upward trend in the uptake of cloud based technologies. These, together with a population that embraces technology, will change and revolutionize the buying and selling activities between people and business, and businesses among themselves. The shift towards such cloud based technologies will be unstoppable, and there will be the need to embrace such concepts and implement them in the center of business operations to maintain competiveness and viability of enterprises, especially in the ever changing business landscape in the United States and China. The acceptance of e-commerce by major US retail giants has seen the technology grow among various retail businesses with smartphone retailing doubling due to much smoother buying experiences (Emarketer 2016). There has been an upward trend in mainstream sales gained by retail shops with such achieving double digit growth rates every year with the bulk of them emanating from smartphone sales.
An analysis by Emarketer (2016) indicates that the upward trend is likely to hit $50 billion mark in the coming years, just a third of ecommerce sales, with smartphone sales likely to account for half of retail mobile ecommerce payments. In addition, there is continued growth in the grocery shopping trends with a large chunk being sales achieved through mobile phones. This is largely due to the convenience of being able to order products with subsequent delivery, an element that has led to the sharp increase in ecommerce and m-commerce business models, primarily driven through handheld gadgets.
In the footwear and clothing industry, there has been an unprecedented growth due to the online experience. This is because firms have been able to tailor their products by customizing their views making them viewable through handheld devices. This has also been successful due to innovative mobile digital marketing techniques which involve the use of digital platforms such as the internet to market products (Miller 2012). This is mainly done by integrating the shopping apps with such e-commerce sites by enabling consumers to view, choose and buy products from the online shops, as evident in both business models where firms use these platforms to establish and grow their e-commerce sales.
The continued adoption, penetration and use of cloud computing technology have led to the establishment of various online retail segments in the United States. This has also directly influenced consumer behavior patterns with the current business landscape being directed to the online world. It is depicted among US major brands with the majority of retail stores implementing online stores to tap into e-commerce and m-commerce sales. The largest and most active US consumers own at least one device, with nearly a third estimated to own three or more devices which can be used in online shopping (Moovweb 2016). E-commerce attracts online users and helps reduce the gap between online and physical mediums commonly used in trade. This technology is unpredictable due to other trends brought about by digital marketing such as social shopping, where some of the social groups are influenced by a given social web towards some brands (Turban, Strauss, & Lai 2016), and a concept that will re-define the online retail market segment in the future. This is due to the continued use of social webs by online users who try to locate best deals for merchandise, a concept of online consumer behavior that is emerging and affecting various B2C and B2B models (Dasgupta 2013).
The social web strategy of online consumers will drive e-commerce sales in the future, with businesses such as Amazon increasing their online presence, while disregarding the traditional showroom experience. Customers are gravitating more towards online marketplaces with traditional brick and mortar models also facing the heat. Businesses are recording increased sales and revenue largely as a result of e-commerce. A recent study indicated that about one tenth of consumers use handheld devices to shop and pay for a product from the online shops (Invisia Marketing + Webdesign 2016). Additionally, m-commerce will grow due to the sharp increase in e-commerce sales, with the US market projected to achieve sales of close to $303 billion and $284 billion for total e-commerce sales (Meola 2016).
M-commerce adoption is becoming a reality with many online merchants currently offering the m-commerce option, with a majority of shoppers reportedly using devices to compare products in inventory among different stores which affect their preference. This phenomenon will affect the online retail business in the future, with outcomes likely to affect sales. There is a number of ways the online retail business will be affected by m-commerce. In the first instance, the technology will result to a change in the operational strategy employed by many stores to lure and maintain customers in the online environment where firms offer competitive prices. Through the element of social shopping it will affect both B2B and B2C business models as the growth of social networks will leverage the online environment by forcing firms to use strategic pricing attributes in order to maintain and achieve growth. Given that m-commerce also compasses a greater number of impulse buyers, retail online stores will have to create ways of maintaining customers as lower prices offered by competitors and easily shared across such social webs, are likely to reduce sales. Firms will therefore have to implore other tactical methods to minimize movements as a result of low prices of products offered by different online shops. With such as craze in m-commerce, various retail shops will have to employ strategic tactics rather than static selling techniques. Firms will have to reach customers through deals, unique product offerings mainly in price of products, while at the same time offer goods resonating with the unique customer characteristics.
In addition to implementing a strategic approach, online retail businesses will have to re-define and implement innovative online platforms to increase customer experience (Joynt 2016), product display and the ability to purchase. Online retail businesses will implement solutions aimed at maintaining customer interaction through user friendly interfaces, rather than the use of outdated technological solutions in implementing online presence. This will enable such firms to stay ahead in the competition, interact with potential users and also create online listening tools, a customer relationship management approach common in social e-commerce.
Innovative technologies such as m-commerce will also affect online retail stores in relation to security. This is because hackers are becoming increasingly innovative in their hacking attempts, a phenomena that is common with financial and payment systems. M-Commerce as a technology that relies on real-time purchase and payment for goods in the online environment will be critical in the future if online stores are to maintain credibility in their operations. These stores will be affected by the technology as they will have to implement secure payment channels such as E-wallets (Lazar 2017). This issue will be difficult for smaller firms to implement due to the changing nature of criminal activities and the cost element of maintaining proper systems to safeguard financial information. Nonetheless, the battle for m-commerce will affect device manufacturers due to the growing need for devices with unique customer experience. The main players in the manufacture of handheld devices will have to create gadgets compatible with the changing lifestyles of online consumers. To counter the effects of Android smart phones, Samsung electronics intends to manufacturer smart phones with premium looks to drive customer experience a notch higher. Samsung intends to build its products on superior technology to rival Apple’s android based smart phones. The device will in-corporate innovative retail based tools to bring on board unique customer experience in online shopping (Banks 2014).
The battle to control the m-commerce market segment will be related to the design element. There is increased pressure to develop smart phones capable of integrating with different applications such as the mobile wallet (Reisinger 2015). This remains to be a thorn in the flesh for most manufacturers, due to the high growth in e-commerce, with many manufacturers implementing payment systems in order to resonate with the current trend. Designers will likely implement innovative systems to counter fraud related aspects and safety concerns.
According to Euro monitor international, the race for mobile payments will harden in the next coming years, with the major manufacturers aiming to control the flow in digital money as a result of the millions of online transactions recorded across the globe (Evans 2015). Both manufacturers will develop cutting edge technologies in the future to help them build a monopoly over other competitors. It will develop to a war game, to help them achieve growth and prominence, which both are fighting for.
In addition to manufacturing battles, security of mobile payment systems can weigh down a firm as most need to maintain growth and credibility. Credibility of online platforms is important to users (Liu & Ye 2001), and can influence the purchase patterns of customers from such shops. There is a probability that negative perception on the same may hinder growth and use of such platforms by customers. A secure system will increase brand image and draw more customers which will positively impact the business. This is because it remains a deciding factor by users of online platforms. Negative brand perception related to security adversely affects both, enterprise and brand loyalty, as many would need to evade e-commerce related fraud, and subsequently reduce the adoption of mobile commerce on a particular enterprise.
Apart from security, legal issues also affect the role of mobile commerce in online business. This is because online businesses are conducted under the jurisdiction of certain laws and it is important for mobile commerce driven businesses to ascribe to them. In this instance, certain governments enact laws and legislations to help define the online business in order to bring about sanity. However, e-commerce being global in nature can be affected by laws between different boundaries and countries. This depicts the importance of laws in maintaining operations as such online stores may not trade in countries which have not accented to certain laws, due to non-adherence to certain e-commerce laws binding countries in international online transactions (Spindler and Borner 2013). These legal issues affect the adoption of e-commerce where country boundaries are involved, an element that can affect the adoption and implementation of e-commerce technologies across borders.
Additionally, ethics will also play an important role in the implementation of e-commerce in businesses. It is a field that deals with morals, right or wrong deeds of individuals. An ethical consideration in e-commerce is related to data theft where cyber criminals infiltrate an organization’s information system with the intent of stealing personal information, which mostly is financial in nature. However, an internal ethical consideration that firms need to consider is their ability to specify accurate selling prices on their platforms (Lunka 2015). This is an ethical instance involving many organizations that are unwilling to state the final product price. It is perpetrated through stating false product prices on goods with intent to lure customers given the availability of other product substitutes. In addition to this, a products graphical presentation may not reflect the true item due to design elements such as Photoshop, which is an ethical issue that online firms use to falsely misrepresent products.
These ethical considerations may hinder the adoption of e-commerce in certain businesses, due to the perception that customers may have regarding such business models. It is important for firms to implement strategies of reducing such perceptions for their own betterment. In addition to this, the competitive industry needs a number of strategic approaches to help B2B and B2C businesses navigate the competitive environment characterized by the growing trends in the adoption of m-commerce solutions.
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