Mobile Commerce Trends B2B Businesses Need to Know About

Allen Malapit
December 2, 2015

It has proven true time and time again: what catches on in B2C soon takes off in B2B as well. Things are no different when it comes to mobile commerce, which is why it’s important for B2B businesses to be informed about mobile commerce trends in B2C so they can predict and prepare for these trends to hit the B2B space (and they already are). Let’s take a look at some of the biggest mobile commerce trends out there today.

What is Mobile Commerce?

At a basic level, the term “eCommerce” refers to transactions that occur online. Mobile commerce, or M-Commerce, takes things a step further by allowing customers to make purchases online from a mobile device like a tablet or smartphone. Mobile commerce is already huge in the B2C space. In just a few short years, mobile has quickly become the preferred channel for online shopping. According to eMarketer, mobile surpassed desktop for eCommerce site traffic between May 2014 and May 2015. But what about B2B eCommerce? Well, it seems that things are once again following suit in the B2B world. According to mobile usability pioneer Usablenet, 78% of B2B companies believe mobile is the future of online commerce; half of B2B vendors surveyed already had the capability to support mobile commerce, and 75% planned to offer it by the end of 2014.

Mobile Commerce Trends for B2B Organizations To Watch For

1. Internet of Things

People have been talking about the Internet of Things (IOT) – or the ability to track and access information about physical objects via the Internet – for more than a decade. The technology is still in development, so there is still plenty of time to get educated about what it will mean for B2B companies and get out in front of the trend. What will IOT mean for mobile commerce? The biggest thing IOT is likely to do for B2B companies is deliver access to better information about what happens to products when they leave your warehouse: who buys it, how they use it, and how well those products sell. B2B companies will be able to use this information to improve their products and better target their marketing and sales efforts at the most lucrative customers.

2. Multiple Engagements

Brands are figuring out how to expand beyond a one-off transactional relationship with their mobile commerce customers. For instance, Google now offers mobile app engagement campaigns that can allow advertisers to connect with people who already have their app. Let’s say you have a mobile B2B shopping app and one of your customers leaves some items in the shopping cart of your mobile commerce site. These campaigns will allow you to use mobile remarketing to encourage these customers to return and purchase those items.

3. Mobile Advertising

eCommerce sellers can use your browsing history to keep tabs on the pages you visit and use that information to target advertising that is most likely to appeal via a process called retargeting. Mobile device users can also be tracked and targeted in the same way. Apple and Android are already supporting this: both can target ads using unique but anonymous identifiers that allow advertisers to track where their ads appear and how users engage with them. However, with mobile commerce, this can go even further. Users can be targeted based on their location, sites they’ve visited, and more. This will allow wholesale companies in the B2B space to better understand their customers’ needs and decision-making processes and target advertisements and promotions specifically for them.

4. Mobile Payments

With the advent of ApplePay, Square and similar mobile payment apps, mobile payments are a driving force behind the growth of B2C mobile commerce. Mobile payments are not just a method of paying for purchases made on a mobile commerce site; they are also being accepted at more and more local brick and mortar retailers. For B2B, there’s room for improvement here, as the ability to accept mobile payments will need to be a major focus if the promise of mobile to make transactions simple and convenient is to be realized. In this area, data security is likely to be the biggest stumbling block that needs to be addressed before mobile payments will become commonplace in B2B. Wholesale companies that are able to successfully address this concern will be able to lead in the B2B mobile commerce space.

5. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Companies have been slow to realize and adjust to the impact that mobile devices can have on their internal data security. Companies that have become aware of this have implemented policies stating that employees cannot use personal mobile devices for work, or have required employees to use devices provided and managed by the company. This has been a hindrance in the adoption of B2B mobile commerce. However, web based tools are becoming available that are able to separate corporate from personal data on mobile devices. As more companies begin using and trusting these tools to keep their data safe, business customers will become more comfortable with the use of mobile devices as a platform for B2B transactions, so this is definitely a trend that B2B companies need to watch. These are just a few of the mobile commerce trends that we think B2B companies should be watching in the coming months. What mobile commerce trends are you watching? Tell us in the comments.