Evolution of the mobile phone and its role in e-commerce

In 2007, Steve Jobs of Apple fame took the stage to announce the iPhone. While some scoffed, scorning the idea that such a product could break into the market that was dominated by the business-centric Blackberry, others recognised the potential. Now, ten years on, mobile phones have become indispensable second screens. But how we reached this point?

Evolution of the network

It’s easy to take mobile data through 3G for granted, or even complain that it isn’t as fast as 4G, but it’s important to remember how much more advanced 3G is when compared to its predecessors.

Mobile phones used to use the Global System for Mobile (GSM) and the 2G standard to get online. These services were revolutionary at the time because they allowed very basic functions like text messaging and a bare-bones internet service.

This evolved into 3G, which meant that mobile devices could access the whole of the internet, not just a walled off section. But this evolution was only half the e-commerce solution.

Evolution of web design

In the early days, a website was an investment that a company would make when they wanted to stake their digital presence. Very few companies in the early dot-com era were actually selling products online. As internet access evolved, from dial-up to broadband, so too did websites.

With the arrival of 3G and smart phones such as the iPhone, the challenge became adapting websites for mobile. Compounding the challenge was Apple’s insistence that the programming language Flash, popular for its simplicity, would not be allowed to work on the iPhone. Web designers had to account for this as well as providing the optimal experience for the different screen sizes.

Evolution of the phone

The original iPhone was bulky, slow and had a fraction of the power of the phones that followed. Convergence, the idea of one product being able to perform the functions of many products, became an obsession for technology companies and this led to an arms-race in phone development.

Today, we have phones that contain more computing power in the palm of our hands than it took to land astronauts on the moon. This gives these phones a greater capacity to load advanced websites, with advanced e-commerce features.

The pay off

So why did so much work go into catering to the mobile phone demographic? The simple answer is that it opened up a huge e-commerce opportunity. People can browse and shop online while sitting on the bus or in front of their television.

In 2016 alone, smart phones provided 45.1% of e-commerce traffic. This number is predicted to reach 60% in 2017. Apps, dedicated pieces of software, give consumers instant access to music, films and books. In e-commerce terms, the mobile phone is the store that is open 24/7 and caters to the consumer’s every whim.

With so many ways to capitalise on e-commerce, how can you cut through the noise to reach the customers that matter to you? Neat Ideas can give you the competitive edge, an online rewards platform that will encourage your customers to keep coming back. Contact us today on 08 6389 0055 to see how we can help.