Are Smartphones the New Credit Card? Where e-Commerce is Heading

While it may seem a little early to be talking about a smartphone as a form of currency, the reality is that new uses are being found for these devices every single day. As the user base of mobile phones increases, so do the number of apps aimed at this young and burgeoning market. It is now estimated that half of all American adults now own a smartphone.

In some cities, you can actually use your phone to purchase train or bus tickets on the go, showing your digital ticket stub to the driver as proof of payment. If you didn’t think that a mobile device could become as good as money, perhaps it’s time to rethink the usefulness of this popular technology. After all, we’re not just talking about some toy, we’re talking about a…

mobile payment

Money Making Machine

Mobile technology has almost entirely changed the way we think about eCommerce. Now, more than ever, Americans are using mobile devices to do a lot of their shopping. Entire industries have modified the way they do business in order to profit from this new market. For instance, the video game industry has taken to offering “Freemium” games, which are free to download and include extras at a price.

Incredibly, it is estimated that these titles earn an average of almost $13 a month from virtual goods alone. In addition to these recurring purchases, the free-to-play model typically takes advantage of ads, with some of the more popular examples earning up to $6 million per month from that revenue source. Don’t take mobile commerce for granted!

What Does the Future Hold?

While experts are divided on just where the mobile market is headed, it’s clear that there is definitely a call for customization. There are certain limitations built into eCommerce; you can’t touch the product or experience it in person, you just have to trust your instincts. For many consumers, this simply isn’t a good enough option, which is why brick and mortar stores still exist and have their place in the world.

Perhaps the future of e-Commerce via the technology of the smartphone includes a more hands on user experience. After all, we’re talking about a device that utilizes a touch screen and gives you the power of a computer in your hand. Surely there is a way to make shopping online a little more personal with your mobile phone. There are already apps being designed to allow mobile users to purchase goods they find in a traditional store simply by reading the barcode, but who knows how far this kind of customizable experience could go?

mobile shopping

Who Needs a Credit Card?

While we’re on the subject of purchasing goods with a phone, let’s touch on the fact that mobile technology now allows us to buy items with the click of a button. Some online retailers have implemented a one click model where users need only to click through once in order to purchase certain items. As long as you have your credit card information saved on a trusted website, you can use that website’s mobile app to purchase anything without even using a physical card.

We’re only a step away from literally using our phones as a credit card. Heck, some online banks actually allow you to make purchases at stores with your smartphone. The future is almost here and one thing is clear: It’s time to take the mobile e-Commerce market seriously!

The Sky is the Limit

With mobile sales quickly becoming a big part of eCommerce, it’s safe to say that we’ve only seen the beginning of the potential for this market. Whether smartphones make shopping more personal or take the place of a credit card (or both), the future is undeniably bright for this young industry. Nobody knows for sure what the future holds, but if these concepts are any indication, it looks like we’re going to be using mobile devices for a lot more than just playing games and making phone calls.

Nick Rojas is a passionate online journalist and researcher. He currently blogs about emerging tech and it’s overall effect on business relations. He hopes the readers of enjoy this article as much as he enjoyed writing it!