Mobile e-commerce

E-commerce via the mobile phone is increasing. On a mobile phone, contrary to a PC, distance matters more and search costs are higher. The search costs represent the ease of surfing the internet, which is higher when surfing online on a PC. This is mainly due to the fact that a mobile phone has a smaller screen and therefore  requires more scrolling down in finding the right result. (Ghose et al., 2012)

Another way of shopping via your mobile phone, instead of surfing, is with the use of the QR code. On places the company desires, a QR code of the product is depicted and customers can easily scan the code with their smartphone and buy the product. The use of this code enables stores to create a virtual shop where no physical products are needed. Creating a new strategy of mobile shopping. With scanning the QR code, customers can buy the scanned product on the linked site. The goal of using the QR code for daily shopping is to give customers the chance to buy for example their groceries everywhere at any time, making physical stores redundant.

The challenging part of the strategy is the fact it has to ensure that the shopping experience is highly convenient and easy to use. Customers must enter the information quickly because the target group is predominantly a customer on-the-go.

Would this strategy really boost mobile shopping, or is it just a smart marketing move to create more brand awareness?

It is a fact that using QR codes will increase customer awareness by at least 25%. So the QR code will most certainly increase brand awareness. It will also increase the ease of communication between customers and companies, and will most likely appeal innovative customers. Companies should use the appeal of innovative customers to promote new merchandise. So they QR code will have a positive effect on customer informedness and will be used for the promotion and increased availability of products. But will it make customers more willing to shop via their mobile phone?


Ghose, A., Goldfarb, A., and Han, S. (2013). How is the Mobile internet Different? Search costs and local activities,Information Systems Research, Articles in Advance, pp. 1-3


4 responses to “Mobile e-commerce”

  1. 418485lh says :

    I question the effects of QR quotes due to the difficulty of using it. Users have to first download an app, open it and scan the simple before getting to the link. It would be much faster to just write the link into the browser. But interesting article nonetheless.

  2. 418493jc says :

    I would like to share something more about the mobile e-commence.

    Mobile Internet has become more and more important in our daily life. In China, the number of mobile Internet users is 0.5 billion in 2013 and still growing rapidly. Since the popularity of the smart phone, various functions and service are offered through the mobile to the public. According to some recent news and reports, mobiles are gradually taking place of the PC in many aspects, such as searching, online shopping and life service.

    Alibaba Group, which went public successfully on Sep.19 2014, has already shifted their business focus from the PC division to the mobile division since 2010. Exclusive discounts and easy-to-use functions attract people to download their mobile products and get used to shopping by them. Until 2013, the number of frequent users on mobile has already surpassed the PC one.
    Besides, shopping by QR code has been an fashion lifestyle in Asia. In South Korea and China, many online companies and even brick-and-mortars put their advertisement which present their products with a shopping QR code on the public transportations, including subways, stations and bus stops. When people are waiting for the bus or subway, they can be easily appealed by the ads. Just scan the QR code then the product that you choose would deliver to your home directly, which means you do not have to go to the shop and pick it up.

    In addition, Wechat, a famous chatting APP of Tecent in China, has also made e-commence easier by mobile, especially for the businessmen. People can make their commercial business just though the APP. It offers systematic functions and managements, including automatic and clear order lists, customers analysis and promotion suggestions based on the sales history.

    In my opinion, mobile e-commence is not only convenient for consumers, but also provide suppliers with more creative ways to develop their business, especially on the niche markets. Therefore the mobile e-commence may become more and more popular and important in our daily life.

  3. lycoris107 says :

    Mobile E-commerce

    I hold different opinion with what the author said, ‘On a mobile phone, contrary to a PC, distance matters more and search costs are higher.’ Actually, for Mobile E-commerce, mobile largely decreases the distance between consumers and shopping. Although searching internet online through mobile costs more than PC, the time saving is significant.

    Mobile E-commerce is definitely getting increasingly important in people’s life. In China, according to Alibaba’s data, which is the largest e-commerce company, the total turnover of Alibaba mobile-ecommerce in fiscal year 2014 reached 319 billion RMB, representing a substantial increase of 394% on the year 81 billion RMB. The monthly active users of mobile terminal rose to 163 million. At the first quarter of 2014, the proportion of mobile transactions accounted Alibaba Group’s total turnover rose from 10.7% to 27.4%, and the transaction amounted to 118 billion RMB in total. One of the key drivers of mobile-ecommerce is the conveneince. Suppose that you are walking in the street, seeing someone wearing a good-looking gloves, which reminds you that you haven’t got a pair of new gloves for this winter yet. At that moment, you can just take out your phone and use e-bay/taobao app, and spend three minute to finish all the purchasing process. Convenient? Definitely.

    However, Mobile E-commerce bears restricts because of the screen size of mobile. Since lots of people regard shopping as recreational activities, they tend to sit in front of PC and use the whole afternoon to make constract on color, price, comments, promotion activities, etc. The size of mobile screen is doubtlessly too small to do those things. In my opinion, virtural goods are even more suitable for selling via mobile e-commerce, for example, lottery, game cards, etc.

    Therefore, I strongly believe that mobile E-commerce is getting increasingly important in future. But it will never totally replace PC e-commerce. As for the QR code the author said, it is already very common in China. People can see QR code and scan it everyday for different use: twitter following, purchasing, information gaining.


  4. amyfransz says :

    I would like to share my thoughts about the effectiveness of using the QR code strategy in mobile e-commerce:

    Even though I share the concern about the ease of use of the QR codes for customers by first having to download the app, then scan it, and then hoping the link will get you to a mobile-friendly website, I think this strategy can still be effective in many different ways if you would implement the QR code strategy correctly. Below I outline some key pointers to keep in mind when implementing the QR code strategy in your business.

    For the QR code to be an effective tool in your business, I think the first important thing to consider is to promote how and which Apps the customer can easily install on their mobile device to scan a QR code for free. Qrafter and RedLaser are examples of such free Apps. This removes the customer uncertainty on how to use this little black/white box with squiggles and lines and creates an incentive for customers to actually scan the code.

    Second, it is important to create a mobile-friendly site to make the site easy-to-use for your customer. This prevents the customer directly clicking away your website when it´s too slow and not user-friendly.

    Third, just as important as the code itself is the marketing that surrounds and promotes it to create an incentive for the customer to scan the code. It is key to actively market the code on signs, graphics and print advertising with a call to action (Jerome 2014).

    Keeping these three points in mind, I think the QR code could be a very effective mobile e-commerce tool and it will keep evolving with technology in the future.

    Here´s a useful link for companies on how to creat QR codes, how to track and analyse the data, and how to make mobile-friendly pages:

    – Wagner, V. (2011), ¨The Magic of QR codes¨, [Online] 9 July 2011. Available from: [Accessed: 7 October 2014]

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