Differences between e-commerce, m-commerce, c-commerce and t-commerce

According to projections by the National Confederation of Commerce (CNC), Brazilian e-commerce should close 2021 with a 38% increase in sales compared to the previous year. The estimated collection is around R$ 304 billion!

E-commerce in the country has been showing steady growth for years, high growth spurred by the pandemic. Now, many more Brazilians have acquired the habit of buying all kinds of items online, and sections of the population that were averse to e-commerce have also surrendered to the possibilities of online sales channels.

As a result, digital commerce has expanded, more ways to shop online have been created, and new conditions have emerged.

You may already know that e-commerce is a general term for electronic buying and selling transactions. But have you heard of m-commerce, c-commerce and t-commerce? How do these means of buying and selling differ from e-commerce? Find out below!

What is m-commerce?

The term m-commerce comes from mobile commerce, i.e. shopping via mobile phone. This type of online shopping has already overtaken computer negotiations and is a favorite among Brazilians.

A survey published in 2021 by MeSeems/MindMiners pointed out that 62% of Brazilians use their mobile phone as the only channel for online shopping.

According to Ebanx, in 2020, 59% of Brazilian e-commerce purchases were made via mobile phone. In 2019, that rate was only 15%.

Another interesting piece of information comes from the Panorama Mobile Time/Opinion Box survey, which points out that 91% of Brazilians with a smartphone have made at least one purchase via mobile phone.

There are many reasons for this national preference for m-commerce, including:

  • greater ease of access for people to the Internet via mobile phone;
  • most of the big Brazilian virtual stores have invested in the creation of applications (apps);
  • greater practicality and agility when purchasing, with simpler screens and a few steps to complete the purchase.

However, experts point out that there is still much to improve. A significant portion of Brazil’s virtual stores still don’t have apps, and many of those that do still offer poor or unintuitive apps.

To make matters worse, many e-commerce websites do not have simplified versions of their sites for mobile devices, making life difficult for those accessing stores through their mobile browser.

Much more investment is needed before m-commerce reaches its potential. When that happens, it’s likely that a good portion of e-commerce will be sold via smartphone.

What is c-commerce?

The term c-commerce means conversational commerce and refers to buying and selling transactions conducted through messaging applications such as WhatsApp and Telegram. Such online sales channels are characterized by interaction between the merchant and the consumer to complete the sale.

Just to give you an idea of ​​the potential of this type of online sales, 99% of cell phones with internet in Brazil have WhatsApp installed and 93% of people use the app every day. The data is from the Panorama Mobile Time/Opinion Box survey.

Compared to other popular messaging applications, Facebook Messenger is present in 78% of Brazilian mobile phones and Telegram in 27% of mobile devices in the country.

Selling through c-commerce is a very common practice, especially among small retailers. As the business grows and the sales volume increases, it becomes difficult to manage all the negotiations. That’s why larger companies are turning to bots, small robots that automate part of the sales process through messaging apps.

In any case, the power of c-commerce cannot be ignored. Many consumers love the ease of speaking directly with a salesperson via instant message. In this sense, using the professional resources that these channels offer, such as WhatsApp Business, can make the entrepreneur’s day easier.

What is t-commerce?

The term t-commerce means telecommerce, i.e. sales transactions via television. Although this is not new, since television has been used to conduct sales for decades, this resource has been reinvented and given new life with the addition of modern technological possibilities, such as QR-codes.

Today, a viewer can watch a TV ad or sales program and in a few seconds point their phone at the screen, read the QR code and be redirected to the brand’s website or app to complete the purchase.

If desired, the customer can send a WhatsApp message from the virtual store or even call the sales center (an option that modern consumers use less and less).

Therefore, we can understand that t-commerce works alongside the other online sales channels mentioned above. T-commerce sales can include e-commerce, m-commerce and c-commerce.

Advertising on TV is still very expensive, so t-commerce is limited to a small part of brands and virtual stores, which is ultimately the biggest disadvantage of this type of channel. On the other hand, mass reach usually brings large amounts of sales to brands that advertise on television.

E-commerce, m-commerce, c-commerce or t-commerce: which online sales channels to use?

There is no standard answer to this question. This is because every business has its own peculiarities. However, a good starting point to find the answer for you is to ask yourself: where are my customers?

In addition, simple attitudes such as opening a WhatsApp business account for c-commerce customer service and checking that your online store website works well in a mobile browser are also important.

More complex steps — like building an app or investing in television ads — are future paths your business can take once you have enough infrastructure and investment to do so.

It’s important to remember that thousands of merchants selling on marketplaces already have the benefits of the app, as most of the major players in the market have an app.

A tip for those starting out in e-commerce and intending to open their virtual store (or change website for a more complete solution) is to check if the chosen e-commerce platform works well in m-commerce.

Analyze all screens, retrace the consumer journey from product selection to purchase conclusion, and choose a platform that serves mobile shoppers well. Keep in mind that most Brazilians already use their smartphone as their main online shopping tool!

After all, the most important thing is to be effective in the online sales channels in which you operate, so that the customer knows that he can count on your virtual store when he needs it.

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