M-Commerce, a War On A Tiny Screen 

5.5 inch. That’s the size that we’re talking about as the average size of smartphones. It tends to grow by 0.1 inch year over year. The boundary between smartphone and tablet devices might be blurring. Tablet market sees modest growth as a tablet has a much longer refresh cycle than a smartphone as newer models only offer nothing more than minor spec upgrades lately. 

Mobile game development is a profitable industry. All game developers and publishers are striving towards making the next big success. Developing and monetizing mobile games are getting more complicated. Game development method is a complex process. Putting game plays on a tiny little screen requires more simplicity while customer expectations are high as they long for more immersive experiences and sophisticated visual impact on a tiny little screen. 

There is no doubt on how advanced mobile apps and the digital ecosystem in China have contributed to set the nation on a right path towards a swift growth of mobile Internet.

Over 90% of digital e-commerce sales are now done through mobile devices in China versus approximately 50% in the U.S. Smartphone users in China are approximately 930 million while the U.S. totals 270 million. The U.S. smartphone penetration is over 80%, but China has more room to grow as its smartphone penetration rate is yet only above 60%. China is on the fast track to become a mobile first nation faster than anyone else bypassing the PC-based Internet era.  

Alipay and WeChat are known as de facto standard super apps in the Greater China. Other popular apps such as Meituan (food) and Didi (ride-hailing) are quickly joining this circle of superpower.

As Apple and Google have done with their App Store and Play Store, the main app acts as a window accessing the world of mobile Internet and contains many sub apps or mini programs developed either by the main app operator or a third-party partner. 

Super apps essentially act as a single best route to a wide range of ‘mobile first’ lifestyles. You can chat and socialize with friends, read news, learn a new hobby, buy stuff, pay bills, make investments, book a taxi, order food, check COVID-19 health status, or make donations. People can do everything they can think of with super apps and see less reason to be on a mobile web browser or sit in front of a computer. You may get a new computer once every 5 to 6 years, but the smartphone replacement cycle is much shorter than that. Smartphone’s computing power and data capability will surpass personal computers soon.

Consumers want convenience and simplicity. Like a mobile game, mobile commerce service providers should make their user experience simple and frictionless on a tiny little screen. Consumers want their goods to be delivered as quickly, safely, conveniently and cheaply as possible.

Consumers’ overall mobile experience would play a critical role to convert prospects into leads. Primary product purchase decisions are made within their tiny little screen, rather than a store or a wide computer screen. So visual design, images, headlines and functional information are all important to communicate the brand’s personality and attractiveness, but all their communications have to be optimized for mobile audiences to be fully engaged and to make them willingly pay for products and services. 

Alibaba achieved $84.5 billion in sales over the Singles Day shopping festival campaign. Growth rate this year was much lower (8.5%) than the previous years due to tightening regulation of tech companies in China. 9 out of 10 shoppers joined this shopping spree at their own comfort on their palms.

People speed swipe on shopping apps for different reasons. The majority of decisions to stay or not were made in a second based on looks and attractiveness of the deals offered by brands or retailers. Again, a large sum of shopping was all done on a tiny little screen of their smartphones in their pocket anywhere and anytime.

Live commerce and short form video social networks are also transforming online shopping into more interactive, fun, and entertaining experiences and that’s what social commerce is all about. Sales from live commerce sales have already reached $157 billion. Again, they were mostly done on a tiny little screen. 

Therefore, let’s forget any content production method that belongs to the old legacy e-commerce era if you really want to play the long game in the mobile age. What could have worked for PC-based e-commerce won’t be relevant anymore for next generation mobile consumers.

Retailers would find a way to survive by offering excellent customer service and different experiential elements that physical retail can only offer. Retailers will increasingly put more emphasis on people on the move and give more incentives to those who are willing to reveal their footprints throughout their customer journey across the border between on and offline.

It is not really about how much money people would spend but how much time and attention span brands and retailers could win over on a tiny little screen. So, let’s think of how to win over the war on a 5.5 inch screen, all else is not necessary.