In a hyper connected and mobile age, retailers are waking up to the fact that they need to offer 'anytime anywhere' mobile shopping experiences for their customers, giving rise to what is now known today as mobile commerce or m-commerce.
In the Philippines, the adoption of mobile commerce is expected to be accelerated by the growing smartphone market. An Intel report reveals that the country is the fastest-growing smartphone market in South East Asia, while statistics from Mobile Monday shows the country is the 12th largest mobile market in the world.
Meanwhile, World Bank's 2013 projection shows that the country's mobile penetration rate is expected to be at 114% by end of 2016.
With low-cost smartphones flooding the market, mobile commerce could soon become the common method of buying and selling of goods and services.
WHY BUSINESSES SHOULD UTILIZE M-COMMERCE
Two years ago, microfinance expert and chief of party to Microenterprise Access to Banking Services, John Owens, predicted that Philippines is set to be a leader in the m-commerce space. Having worked with two large local telecommunications companies, Owen has seen how their initiatives can become promising for the then 76 million mobile phone subscribers in the Philippines, a number that was more than double the country's bank accounts of 33 to 34 million.
During the heydays of MMS, Owens saw how mobile would largely take part in commercial transactions. "Mobile commerce reaches all levels of society. From those who are considered the unbank (people with no bank accounts), to rural household where the whole infrastructures putting ATMs, and physical bank networks won't reach—the mobile phone does," Owen said. "I think it will be natural that the Philippines will be a leader in using the phone more and more and you don't just see it happening, but it's happening in a much bigger scale; much more dramatically than people realize."
Today's trends support this prediction. Businesses who enable m-commerce allow their customers "to shop and buy with convenience through their phones anytime, anywhere," says Mau San Andres, sales and marketing manager at payment gateway AsiaPay. M-commerce, she adds, gives consumers the opportunity to choose among different payment options such as debit cards, credit cards, and electronic wallets—cashless transactions without going to the physical store.
Jan Pabellon, Sr. Product Manager for APAC at m-commerce solutions provider, Netsuite, says in developing countries like the Philippines, there are more mobile device users than traditional desktop computer owners.
"Not only do mobile devices provide consumers with a more convenient, and often times richer and more personalized experience when dealing with retailers, service providers, and other businesses; it also provides businesses access to a much larger market," says Pabellon.
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