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Comparing E-Commerce and Mobile Commerce

Oct 19, 2023

A young adult on her phone and holding out her payment card as she is shopping online.

In today’s digital age, shopping has evolved beyond the traditional brick-and-mortar stores, paving the way for e-commerce and mobile commerce (m-commerce) to become more prominent (if not preferred) methods used by current consumers. So as our lives become increasingly intertwined with technology, understanding these concepts is essential for both consumers and businesses alike. In this article, we'll delve into the world of e-commerce and m-commerce for merchants, highlighting their significance in shaping the retail industry.

Defining E-commerce and Mobile Commerce


E-commerce (short for “electronic commerce”) is the practice of buying and selling goods and services online. It has become a fundamental part of the modern shopping experience — customers access e-commerce platforms through desktop computers or laptops, where they can browse product catalogs, make purchases and complete transactions. This means they can shop your products like furniture, tires, electronics and appliances without leaving their home. For businesses, e-commerce offers a wider reach, reduced operational costs and the ability to operate 24/7, providing convenience and flexibility to customers.

Mobile Commerce (M-commerce)

Mobile commerce (or m-commerce) takes e-commerce to the next level by involving mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. It extends the accessibility and convenience of online shopping beyond traditional e-commerce because customers can shop anytime, anywhere, using their mobile devices. This includes making purchases, accessing mobile-optimized websites or using dedicated shopping apps — all while on the go. So, regardless of where they are, they can easily find and shop with just a few clicks on their smart device — making shopping with your business a seamless fit into their mobile lifestyle.

Key Differences Between e-commerce and Mobile Commerce:

Device Usage:

E-commerce primarily depends on desktop computers, designed for traditional computing devices. In contrast, m-commerce centers around mobile gadgets like smartphones and tablets, offering a distinct user experience and accessibility.

Mobile-Specific Features:

While e-commerce often lacks extensive mobile-specific features, m-commerce fully utilizes these capabilities. It harnesses location services, push notifications and mobile wallets to create a more dynamic and user-centric shopping experience.

Shopping Context:

E-commerce is typically linked with planned and structured shopping scenarios, where customers commonly use their home or office computers to make purchases. Conversely, m-commerce caters to spontaneous and on-the-go shopping, driven by location-based recommendations and timely offers.

Screen Size and User Interface:

In terms of design, e-commerce prioritizes larger screens and may not offer the same level of user-friendliness on mobile devices. On the other hand, m-commerce focuses on optimizing websites and apps for mobile devices, ensuring a seamless and optimal shopping experience on smaller screens.

Payment Convenience:

E-commerce provides a variety of payment options, including credit cards, online banking and online payment apps. Conversely, m-commerce places emphasis on mobile wallet solutions, allowing for convenient and secure payments with just a few taps on a mobile device.

Location and Geofencing:

Traditional e-commerce typically lacks extensive location-based services (unless users manually provide their location). In contrast, m-commerce leverages location services to deliver real-time information, such as nearby stores or available deals based on the customer’s current location.

Exploring Advantages

Understanding the unique benefits of each approach is essential for tailoring strategies to meet customer preferences and market demands. While e-commerce provides an extended reach and comprehensive product offerings, m-commerce excels in accessibility and personalized user experiences. Let’s explore the specific advantages of each approach.

Benefits of E-commerce:

  • E-commerce provides an extended reach, allowing businesses to connect with customers without geographical limitations.

  • It enables businesses to showcase extensive product catalogs, offering a comprehensive array of products and services.

  • E-commerce operates 24/7, providing customers with the convenience of shopping at any time that suits them.

  • Customers can comfortably browse and shop from the convenience of their home or office computers.

  • It often offers a wide range of payment options, including credit cards, online banking accessibility and online payment apps.

Benefits of M-commerce:

  • M-commerce offers instant accessibility, allowing customers to shop anytime and anywhere using their mobile devices.

  • It provides a personalized user experience, tailoring recommendations and offers based on location and user preferences.

  • The flexibility of m-commerce caters to on-the-go shopping.

  • Businesses can take advantage of mobile-specific features like push notifications and mobile wallets to engage customers more effectively.

  • M-commerce taps into the mobile lifestyle of users, providing a seamless shopping experience on the devices they use most frequently.

The Future of Shopping

All that said: As technology advances, the distinction between e-commerce and m-commerce is fading. Responsive web design ensures e-commerce sites adapt seamlessly to various devices, offering a consistent user experience. Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) further bridge the gap, combining mobile app convenience with web accessibility. These advancements make shopping smoother and faster for users.

Omnichannel retail, integrating e-commerce and m-commerce, is another emerging trend that connects online research, in-store experiences and mobile purchases into one unified shopping journey. Shoppers can explore products online, visit physical stores and make mobile transactions, all seamlessly connected. 

Clearly, the divide between online and offline shopping is vanishing. These trends signify a future where shopping is convenient, interconnected and user-centric. So businesses that embrace responsive design, PWAs, and omnichannel strategies are poised for success in this evolving landscape; this convergence promises to redefine how consumers interact with brands and products, offering a more integrated and enjoyable shopping experience.

Acima Leasing Knows E-Commerce and Mobile Commerce

Acima Leasing and our ever-growing list of online retail shopping options is already poised to offer a lease-to-own solution* to your customers as just one more e-commerce and m-commerce advantage. So why not use it to transform your online shopping experience or elevate your business? Our Acima website provides the option for your potential customers to find you in relation to the product they are searching for with our online store locator. Our Acima MarketPlace app also offers the chance for potential customers to shop from your store online. As a business aiming to provide your clients with unprecedented ease and flexibility, our innovative lease-to-own solution* has you covered. 

With Acima Leasing, shopping becomes incredibly convenient for your customers. We’re designed to elevate your customer’s shopping journey and supercharge your business. Dive into our lease-to-own solution* now and begin empowering your customers without using credit*.

Common Questions about E-commerce and M-commerce

What are the primary devices used for e-commerce and m-commerce?

E-commerce primarily relies on desktop computers and laptops, while m-commerce revolves around mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. This distinction influences the user experience and accessibility.

How can the shopping context differ between e-commerce and m-commerce?

E-commerce is often associated with planned and structured shopping experiences, typically from home or office. In contrast, m-commerce caters to impromptu and on-the-go shopping, driven by location-based recommendations and timely offers.

What payment options are available in e-commerce and m-commerce?

In e-commerce, customers enjoy a range of payment options, such as credit cards, online banking and online payment apps. These traditional methods provide flexibility for users to complete transactions seamlessly. Additionally, platforms can also offer lease-to-own solutions, allowing customers to acquire products through a manageable payment option.