Difference between E-commerce and M-commerce

Key Difference: The term E-commerce, an abbreviation for electronic commerce, is the process of buying and selling goods, products and services over electronic systems such as internet, telephone and e-mail. M-Commerce or mobile commerce is process of buying and selling products and services through wireless handheld devices such as cell phones or PDAs.

In today’s technology advanced world, everything is fast paced and everything happens online. Long gone are those days, when people would visit two to three stores before deciding where to buy a product from. These days’ comparisons for products are done online and a person either picks up the product from the store or gets it delivered to their doorstep. The term E-commerce has been on the market for a while, but M-commerce is a fairly new term. Both of these terms have different meanings, though both aim at making consumer lives easier.

The term E-commerce, an abbreviation for electronic commerce, is the process of buying and selling goods, products and services over electronic systems such as internet, telephone and e-mail. E-commerce is a big part of e-businesses, where enterprises are completely dependent on conducting business online or electronically. E-commerce was originally identified with the development of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) in the late 1970s, where businesses were allowed to send and receive commercial documents like purchase orders or invoices electronically. E-commerce uses other technologies such as supply chain management, Internet marketing, online transaction processing, ATMs, credit cards, inventory management systems, and automated data collection systems.

The development of the World Wide Web in the 1990, gave E-commerce a brand new identity, making it faster and easier for companies to reach their consumers. In today’s generation, almost every business conducts some sort of e-commerce, whether it means taking credit cards or accepting online orders. Just like normal commerce, e-commerce can be B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to customers). Popular examples of B2C business is Amazon and EBay.

M-Commerce or mobile commerce is process of buying and selling products and services through wireless handheld devices such as cell phones or PDAs. Though M-commerce is a new term, it has become an instant hit and is also being called as the next generation e-commerce. M-commerce lets users carry out financial transaction using mobile phones and does not always require internet. It is has made the process of buying and selling products even easier due to a technology known as WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), which allows users to connect to the internet without dealing with the hassle of wires and electricity.

It also allows businesses to reach consumers even faster compared to e-commerce, as a person may not always have a computer with them, while a person will always have their cell phones on them. Promotional text messages are an example of mobile commerce. Another popular example is downloading movie tickets and airline tickets on the phone. With the constant upgrade in cellular technology, more and more possibilities are available to the consumers. Mobile applications, online banking, online shopping via phone, are also different forms of m-commerce.

Compared to M-commerce, E-commerce is more limited as it requires the use of a computer and internet connection, while mobiles work on satellites. Video conferencing is now available on mobile phones with 3G and 4G networks, without the hassle of internet. M-commerce however is costly compared to E-commerce.

Image Courtesy: ecommercetools.org, starmark.com

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