M-commerce VS. E-commerce

By on December 22, 2010

M-commerce VS. E-commerce

There are a few fundamental differences between m-commerce and e-commerce in terms of their origins, technologies and the nature of the services they can offer. Not to mention the way people choose, buy, access and use mobile apps is different from the way they behave on the web.

Unlike PC users, mobile users are on the move, in a hurry and easily distracted. They want the service they’re looking for right here and right now, without long instructions, long installation or loading time.

Although the marketplace for mobile apps is still relatively young compared to web, it is rapidly growing. The development of e-commerce was due to the rapid growth of the Internet; the growth of mobile segment is due to its convenience, ease of use, and sophistication of smartphones.

On the world wide web, much is given away for free or at discount prices with the hopes to monetize sites (using ad revenue) based on traffic. M-commerce however, is rooted in paid-for-service in the mobile phone industry where business competition is growing in Canada, especially with introduction of new entrants such as Wind Mobile, Public Mobile, Mobilicity, and so on.

An extension or explosion?

Many might think of m-commerce as an extension of e-commerce; we however believe that it’ll definitely have a greater impact on the daily routines of consumers and more importantly the businesses.  It’s more an explosion than an extension primarily because:

  1. People have a more intimate relationship with their Mobile phones vs. their computer.
  2. Mobile phones are not limited by location and by their very nature, are everywhere.
  3. Mobile devices are filing up “boredom time” on the go that retailers have never before had access to.
  4. Tempting mobile trends are constantly introduced to more than ever before sophisticated mobile devices. In a nutshell, mobile is hot!
  5. M-commerce is supposed to enable us to buy everything from anywhere over the Internet without the use of a PC.
  6. M-commerce is not limited by the same barriers initially faced by e-commerce in the mind of users.  For example, users do not have the same level of apprehension providing their credit card details digitally as they did with the first wave of e-commerce. The analogy I like to use is, M-commerce is like the younger sibling of e-commerce: e-commerce dealt with all the hardships and paved the way for m-commerce to lead a fairly hassle free journey with the consumer.

M-commerce, E-commerce, how they differ?


  • High cost is one of the major characteristics of m-commerce. In the telecom world, users pay for airtime as opposed to almost free internet access in the e-commerce world.
  • In m-commerce, the services are usually delivered to a specific region, via wireless providers. In e-commerce on the other hand, the wide accessibility of the internet makes any service globally available.
  • In contrast with E-commerce, M-commerce applications are rather simple, more personalized, location-specific, and time-sensitive.
  • A mobile device usually accompanies a person wherever he or she goes; therefore m-commerce creates a more intimate relationship with the user than other mediums.
  • For time sensitive, simple transactions such as movie ticket purchases, banking, and travel reservations, m-commerce is seemingly more useful than e-commerce.
  • For location-based applications such as traveler navigation, emergency response, and etc, m-commerce tends to be better as it is not limited to being in a place with a computer or laptop.







In general we believe that we can categorize internet based e-commerce into B2C and B2B, while classifications to  m-commerce are P2P (Person to Person) and P2S (Person to System).