Customer Service, New Channels Lead M-Commerce in Europe

M-commerce in Europe is primarily being driven by companies wishing to gain new channels to market and improve customer services according to a study by Datamonitor.

Datamonitor’s “European mCommerce Study 2001” surveyed more than 200 European companies to examine their attitudes and opinions of m-commerce, and found that 54 percent perceive new channels to market and customer services as the main drivers for m-commerce. But the role companies perceive m-commerce playing in their enterprise varies from nation to nation.

Half of the companies interviewed in Britain and Spain consider customer services to be the main driver for m-commerce. In Germany, however, increasing the reactivity of the company, streamlining business processes and improving employee communication are each rated as the most important driver by around 20 percent of companies. In contrast, just 3 percent of those interviewed consider customer services as the main driver for m-commerce.

“The most important message here is not that German companies consider customer services as unimportant but that they consider the ability of m-commerce to improve their business as the driving force of m-commerce,” said Markus Siivola, technology analyst with Datamonitor.

As with any new technology used for business transactions, payments or mission-critical business applications, security features are paramount. More than half (58 percent) of respondents said they are prepared to trust mobile devices and networks for both business transactions/payments and business applications, with a further 10 percent prepared to trust them for one another. However, 42 percent of companies are not prepared to give access to their networks via mobile devices and networks. This suggests that the companies have higher levels of trust in processes that are not directly involved with their own network.

Many respondents did, however, point out that they did not believe that the necessary security features were in place yet, but were confident that the higher bandwidth in UMTS [definition] and faster processing power of future devices would enable this issue to be resolved.

The uncertainties over next-generation networks and the lack of knowledge of which mobile solutions are available now that do not need wireless technology, are holding the market back.

“Despite there being misconceptions about the capabilities of the technology available now, the research shows significant demand for m-commerce solutions going forward,” Siivola said. “Vendors and operators will have to cut through the hype and tell companies exactly what can be done now and what will be possible tomorrow.”

Datamonitor’s mCommerce Study 2001 is based on 208 interviews with companies across Europe, covering France, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, Spain, Britain and the Benelux countries.

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