Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Look out, SMS! High Risk Merchants' Guide to New Trends in Mobile E-Commerce

What does mobility mean to you?

To be honest, I'm not a big fan of Short Message Service (SMS). I hate punching on the small RAZR alphanumeric keyboard and I hate doing it a fifty-five times a day. But I have friends that do it effortlessly, and my hats are off to them. I don't mind sending text messages to my folks and colleagues as long as I'm in the mood for a little bit of sacrifice. I don't think it's atypical of me at all. It's just that I'd rather make a quick call than take forever to send a TM to the president of the socks-shoes company.

SMS: The New E-Commerce Cult?

But how convenient can a single text message be! It's cheap, it's fast, and it certainly is hip. In most underdeveloped countries, text messaging is simply an excellent way to communicate without having to spend sevenfold for a local call. And there are so many ways to pull off a TM these days. You can use Yahoo SMS, register at Chikka (hey if you haven't heard of it, come out of the cave, will ya?), or use Verizon's onsite TM service. What I like about it is that 90% of the time the TM reaches your recipient pronto. Two billion subscribers sending out their voices to people they know without having to spend for more than a dime per TM.

Now, veering off a little from the track, we can spot the E-COMMERCE sign on the turnpike. Or better yet, the M-COMMERCE. What exactly does the road sign mean? Most mobile operators have done their share of advertising to consumers with the help of mobile phones. I wouldn't say it's as hardcore as traditional media like TV, radio, newspaper, and the Internet, but I'd say that because it's a powerful and snowballing communication medium these days, it has a huge potential for marketing. Online merchants can take advantage of creating a bridge between mobile phones and the Internet to increase their sales. And a great percentage of the market remains untapped.

How Mobile Phones Can Help High Risk Merchants

Although I sympathize with mobile operators undergoing through hurdles in order to profit from mobile advertising, I would like to focus on the emerging trends that affect e-commerce in general. For one, high risk merchants can easily jump into the possibilities that one day, any kind of service or product can be advertised on the mobile phone. Whether it's through the service provider self-generated ads or WAP, that will be the question.

Another thing is that online consumers who may or may not be able to log in to the Internet using their mobile phones can easily pay their bills and purchases if this mobile phone billing phenomenon takes off. Now that's some real mojo high risk merchants should look forward to happening. Why? Because once that happens, it will be as prevalent as credit card processing online (with or without the help of merchant accounts). As long as the payment process is secure for customers, they will be able to shop on virtual stores through their mobile phones, pay through the online shopping cart through their mobile phones, and manage their credit and other banking activities through their mobile phones. They can do that wherever they are in the world. Nothing could be easier.

First Things First!

If these trends develop, the future of mobile buying, selling, and banking looks rosy. In fact, that might even convince me that SMS is not so bad (in other words, way, way excellent). I have been communicating with people I know through SMS anyways. In the future, you and I will find it so essential that we may not be able to take a morning shower without first checking if Wells Fargo had really transferred some five thousand dollars onto our checking account. Or not.


Anonymous said...

this article is very insightful but i wish you'd go into the details abuot mobile banking though. Keep me posted on what's new

Anonymous said...

I think e-commerce as a e-commerce payment medium has a promising future but only when there's a global service provider that will enable users to transfer money, make calls, or do all kinds of stuff wherever they are in the world. See, the trouble with mobile phones is that you can't use them in another country if they have a different local service provider. If they cross that barrier, that will be a big leap in the e-commerce industry.

Ms. T

Anonymous said...

I think e-commerce as a e-commerce payment medium....

That's not e-commerce but mobile phone commerce, haha. Erratum

Ms. T