As a business major with a concentration in information systems operations management, the subject of m-commerce is of great interest. My interest in it comes from the possible business boom that m-commerce will produce. M-commerce stands for the mobile electronic market place for businesses to consumers. M-commerce first started out with the development and success of smart phones. Without the development of smart phones and now electronic pads like the Ipad, mobile commerce would never have been thought of since it first needed a platform to function. M-commerce was developed for the business on the go, basically meaning the consumer with no time to shop at a physical store and stuck in between a commute. As best put by authors Jarvenpaa, M-commerce was an idea that “Business pundits have enthusiastically prognosticated about a seamless, mobile world where commerce occurs on an anywhere, anytime basis. This type of commerce has been referred to as mobile commerce or, more simply, m-commerce” (Balasubramanian, Peterson & Jarvenpaa). Examples of M-commerce include the I-Tunes store, the Android market, Groupon, and etc. Its rapid success in some of these examples has influenced other businesses to join this new electronic business revolution. M-commerce has had so much success that even the government has developed a mobile app for city parking meters that can be downloaded to any smart phone or electronic pad.
The Technology behind M-Commerce
The technology that supports the backbone of M-commerce is WiFi, electronic mobile devices, and software written into electronic stores. Electronic mobile devices are needed so that the consumers can have a platform to make their business transactions on while on the go. WiFi is used to connect the mobile electronic devices to the vendors (electronic stores). The electronic stores which are code written software are used as the portal where all the consumer and business transactions can take place on the web. Out of all the technologies that are used by M-commerce, the internet is arguably the most important. As stated by Wiley and Sons, “technologies have been chiefly based on the infrastructure provided by the Internet and the Web”
The benefits of M-commerce are not only applied to the businesses that are profiting from another method of selling but as well by the consumers who gain an advantage of convenience as well. Businesses who are actively participating and expanding the capabilities of M-commerce are raking in millions of dollars worth of profits. Businesses like Groupon which would never have been possible if it were not for M-commerce made around $1,122,935 (in thousands) during the 2011 year (Groupon). Businesses who in the past were not able to reach customers due to busy work lives are now to reach them during their commute to work or short breaks by using M-commerce. This new method of reaching customers has allowed these businesses to increase their sales and attract new customers. Customers on the other hand are benefiting from M-commerce by having a new way of conveniently shopping on the move and getting products that were unavailable to them before. Customers are also benefiting from M-commerce businesses like Groupon in that they are purchasing discounts on services or products from either E-businesses or brick and mortar businesses.
Legal, Ethical, and Social Issues
M-commerce like any other way of doing business have to follow and prevent legal, ethical, and social issues from interfering with its development. With M-commerce being a new branch of IT it suffers from the same issues. As author Ali Salehnia points out in her book, “IT has created new social and ethical dilemmas by influencing and producing situations that can conflict with existing laws, rules, traditional ethical and moral principles” (Salehnia, 2002). M-commerce has to obey legal laws regarding the protection of consumer identity and monetary assets. One of the ways that M-commerce can follow and prevent identity theft is the use of secure online servers like https. Internet privacy laws and other laws help M-commerce fight through these legal issues. Ethical issues that effect M-commerce are those that affect the consumers directly like the right to equal opportunity, the sale of age restricted items, and the protection of consumer rights like returns and exchanges. Social issues that can affect M-commerce is the social acceptance of mobile technology in certain culture and age groups.
Security of M-Commerce
The security of M-commerce is one of the biggest issues that it will have to face as daily threats to its well being are tested. As author Chari states in his article about M-commerce threats, “The newness of this area—and the rapidness with which it is emerging—makes it difficult to analyze the technological problems that m–commerce introduces—and, in particular, the security and privacy issues” (Chari, Kermani, Smith & Tassiulas, 2001). Although with its newness in commerce threats against M-commerce can be predicted to be in the form of hackers, cyber criminals, and other private data threats. Security has to be M-commerce number one concern and goal as it needs to make sure its customers and businesses feel confident and have its trust to do transactions over its channels. If at any time this trust and false sense of security happens M-commerce will suffer a severe lost of business. Security can be solidified in M-commerce by the use of secure servers, encrypted data for private information like bank accounts, and the use of secure pay sites like PayPal or Google Wallet. Like any normal form of commerce, the potential for stealing and crime is high so it is always important to have safe guards already in place to detour such actions and behaviors.
Future of M-Commerce
The future of M-commerce looks as it can be one of great prosperity and growth. M-commerce is still in its growing stage of its life cycle as it has just recently appeared. With the success of it so early on it can only lead to one thing for its future, and that is one of even more success and better features. We as humans are always on the go and as smart phones and electronic mobile pads become a regular item in everyone’s bag than the use of M-commerce will only increase. Good examples of where M-commerce might go in the future can already be seen in countries like South Korea and other Asian countries that use M-commerce to shop for groceries and other novelty items and then have it delivered to their homes at the same time they get home from work. The possibilities for M-commerce are endless, its only limits are that of the technologies it will use and of its developers. Now that governments are starting to get with the trend of M-commerce, its use can only be expanded upon. The world of regular commerce is in for a change as M-commerce will soon be the leading way of conducting commerce.
Balasubramanian, S., Peterson, R. A., & Jarvenpaa,