With the development of mobile industry in India and easy accessibility of internet connections to the common people, the electronic commerce is changing its face and turning into mobile commerce. M-commerce has become an easier tool in the hands of users due to its better features and simplicity in its learning and using. M-commerce, being the non-complex way of using the technology, has seen tremendous growth in the recent years and has become very popular among common people of India for online shopping and paying various utility bills. M-commerce is more user friendly as it requires only a smart phone with internet connection in it. But still many people are hesitant in shifting from e-commerce to m-commerce due to security and privacy issues and complexity of mobile applications. This paper strives to understand the concept of m-commerce, analyse its growth drivers in the country and the problems faced by the users.
Mobile commerce was introduced by Kevin Duffey at the launch of the Global Mobile Commerce Forum. It is the process of delivering electronic transactions directly into the customers’ hand, 24*7, using wireless technology. It connects the people through wireless networks without requiring heavy and costly gadgets like computers and laptops, thus enabling them to execute transactions with the touch of a screen. M-commerce is a step ahead of electronic commerce as e-commerce provides the services at doorstep whereas m-commerce facilitates services into the hand of the customer. India has witnessed an impressive rise in m-commerce. According to a report released by Consulting firm Zinnov, the market share of the country in m-commerce was $2 billion in 2014 and is estimated to grow up to $19 billion by 2019 (Srinivas, Feb 2016). The basic reason of this growth is the availability of cheap smart phones and the offering of low priced mobile data plans by numerous companies prevailing in the market. M-commerce has recently become an easy and affordable channel for reaching customers.
Objectives of the study:
- To understand the concept of M-commerce.
- To study the benefits and growth drivers of M-commerce in India
- To find out the issues and challenges of M-commerce in India
M-Commerce – The Concept
“M-commerce is the use of mobile devices to communicate, inform, transact and entertain using text and data via a connection to public and private networks.” (Lehman Brothers)
“The core of mobile e-commerce is the use of a terminal (telephone, PDA, PC device or custom terminal) and public mobile network to access information and conduct transactions that result in the transfer of value in exchange of information, services or goods.” (Ovum)
“Business-to-consumer transactions conducted from a mobile device.” (J.P.Morgan)
“The use of mobile handled devices to communicate, interact via an always-on high-speed connection to the internet.” (Forrester)
The different areas that come under M-commerce are money transfers, bill payments, purchasing airline tickets, purchasing movie tickets, restaurant bookings, hotel booking and reservations and shopping products and ordering food. M-Commerce is online anywhere, anytime and on any device and it is providing new opportunities to the world. So, we can sum up m-commerce as
M-Commerce = Internet+ E-Commerce+ Wireless
Review of Literature:
Habib and Sarwar (2012) believed that m-commerce is being focused for future growth by telecommunication industry and other businesses and m-commerce players in India needs to work fast to improve user interface and offer innovative pricing structures.
Batra and Juneja (2013) lists the issues being faced by mobile industry in India. They reflected that it is adding significant value to the businesses in India and in times to come Mobile Commerce is expected to become more safe and secure as both government and the companies are investing on security aspect to provide better services to users and safeguard their interests.
Chauhan and Dalal (2014) studied the future prospects of m-commerce in India. According to them, use of e-commerce has become easier as mobile commerce led to the growth of e-commerce. The increasing trend of smart phones and online shopping in the developing India promoted the growth of m-commerce. With the introduction of faster internet technologies such as 4G and improved security, m-commerce has grown rapidly in the country.
Gupta and Vyas (2014) identified the factors affecting the adoption of m-commerce and made an attempt to find out the benefits and hurdles faced by m-commerce in India. They also discussed the spectrum of m-commerce in India and how could it be enlarged.
Srinivas D (2016) reported the facts of feasibility of m-commerce in India and stated that no doubt there is an increasing trend towards usage of e-commerce but still people hesitate to use m-commerce due to security problems, payment issues and complexity of mobile applications.
Naware (2016) stated that development of low cost smart phones and low mobile tariffs led to tremendous growth in mobile internet subscribers and m-commerce in India. Mobility, flexibility, reachability are the features and tiny screen, low processing power of mobile device, security of mobile transactions are the limitations of m-commerce.
Mobile Commerce: A Winning Edge
There are numerous features of mobile commerce which make popular among the people of the country. Some of these are described as below:
- Easy to use:
The various applications used in mobile commerce are simple and easy to be used by a common man. These applications do not require any special skills or knowledge.
- Savings in time and energy:
The users of m-commerce are benefitted in terms of savings in both time and energy. The user can pay various bills like electricity bill by using his internet enabled smart phone. Various recharges can be done comfortably by the user within very less time. In this way the user is benefitted in terms of savings in time and energy.
- Secure transactions:
To save the user from frauds, the proper system of security has been provided for the m-commerce users. The users are given login ID and password to operate and perform the transactions. One time password is also generated to confirm the authenticity of the user. Thus, there is proper security of M-payments.
- Facilitates better deals:
Using mobile applications, the user can search the required product on various shopping applications like Myntra, Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon. The customer can check the available designs, colours and reviews of the products previously used by another customers and can compare the prices at different sellers’ outlets.
- Issues and Challenges:
Numerous factors are responsible for the slow growth of mobile commerce in India. There are direct and indirect issues and problems which are proving to be hurdles in its growth among the common people. The main issues and challenges are:
- Limited data transmission bandwidth:
It is the major obstacle in the growth of mobile commerce in the country. The data transmission bandwidth is very limited in India as compared to the other countries of the world. Even the user has latest hardware gadget, one cannot have a faster access to web contents.
- Less development of wireless internet infrastructure:
Indian government has not yet provided such sufficient infrastructure for the growth of wireless industry without which the mobile commerce market is handicapped.
- Security issues:
Hackers and viruses are major security issues which demotivates the users for frequently using mobile commerce for their routine transactions like paying of bills through Google Pay and making electronic payments for online shopping.
The users are required to disclose their secret information while performing the monetary transactions and there exists the fear of hacking of secret information by the hackers. This factor will continue to hamper the growth of mobile commerce market even if the other issues like low speed and poor connectivity are taken care of.
- Language barrier:
Still a large portion of Indian population is not familiar with English language and many are not good in writing and reading skills, so language becomes major barrier in development of mobile commerce in India.
- Less awareness:
Indians are still not aware about uses and benefits of mobile commerce. People are reluctant to adopt mobile banking for making payments and buying goods due to several reasons.
- Research online and purchase offline tendency of people:
A large number of people who have access to smart phone, have adequate internet connection but use the facility only to view the variety of products available with the companies but tend to buy or make payments by visiting the shops and stores. People are using m-commerce to make comparisons of prices but do not tend to buy online due to lengthy and cumbersome returning policies.
Complex mobile applications:
The m-commerce applications are more complex than e-commerce websites. Indians are generally less technology literate, so they find it difficult to use these applications and hence they prefer to make payments through cash or bank drafts.
Indians are more technology lovers and less technology users:
People love to purchase new generation smart phones but tend to avoid purchasing and making payments through mobile phones.
In a developing economy like India, there is a greater scope of growth of mobile commerce industry. This is due to the rising income of the people of developing country, which raises their standard of living and induces them to buy new gadgets like smart phones and use internet connection. But some factors puts obstacles in its high growth as people belong to poor and lower income class which could not fulfil their basic necessities of life. Moreover, those who wish to use m-commerce do not have confidence in the system due to presence of hackers and fraudulent people who hack the bank accounts of m-commerce users and transfer the money in their own pockets fraudulently. The confidence in m-commerce among the common people can be built by the stringent laws and regulations and punishments to hackers and those involving in cybercrimes.
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