While experts have been predicting mobile commerce (m-commerce) to grow by leaps and bounds for years, most of the attention has been given to scenarios where phones are used to speed up the payment process – for instance, paying for coffee by tapping the phone, or people being lured to a store by location-based advertising when they are in the store’s proximity.
However, a surprise offshoot of the use of m-commerce is not very mobile at all – it’s people conducting commerce on their smartphones or tablet computers while they are relaxing on their couches. It could be while they are watching their favorite TV show and using the phone to check their e-mail during a commercial break, or it could be while they are watching streaming video, playing a game, or socializing with friends on Facebook using their tablet.
In an ironic twist of events, couch commerce may even become the most dominant part of the m-commerce universe. Recent data from companies such as eBay and PayPal show that this new m-commerce venue is building up steam. For instance, eBay reported a twofold increase in shoppers, a fivefold increase in total sales volume, and a sixfold increase in global mobile payment via PayPal this Cyber Monday compared to what they received during the same period in the previous year. Many attribute this spectacular rise to couch commerce.
Incidentally, well-integrated mobile wallets such as the ones designed by PayPal or Google also do away with the one thing that often turns people off from impulse buying on the the internet: the need to enter a whole lot of information. So when the ad for Angry Birds plush toys comes up while the target customer is playing an Angry Birds game, the player/buyer won’t need to interrupt his or her bird slinging for too long to make a purchase. After all, it only takes half a second to click on Buy!
Yash Talreja, Principal, The TechnologyGurus.