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The critical role of consumer behaviour research in mobile commerce

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The changing role of mobile communications is reflected in the increasing use of mobile devices for e-commerce purposes. Supported by the penetration of mobile devices and the evolution of mobile technologies, mobile commerce promises to change the way certain business-to-consumer (B2C) activities are conducted. Focusing on B2C markets, this paper underlines the critical role of consumer behaviour research in mobile commerce and investigates, through an exploratory research approach, the critical success factors towards mobile commerce diffusion. To that end, an online consumer survey ran in three European countries (Finland, Germany and Greece). The results showed that mobile commerce (m-commerce) penetration in Europe is in its infancy. In addition, significant differences regarding consumer attitudes towards mobile commerce were observed among the countries investigated. Lower prices, improved security, improved devices and effective customer support, proved to be the critical success factors towards accelerating m-commerce consumer adoption. It is concluded that the customisation of the marketing mix to the specific characteristics of each target market is a key success factor for mobile operators in Europe.
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Int. J. Mobile Communications, Vol. 1, No. 3, 2003 329
Copyright © 2003 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.
The critical role of consumer behaviour research in
mobile commerce
Adam Vrechopoulos*, Ioanna Constantiou,
Ioannis Sideris and Georgios Doukidis
The eBusiness Center (ELTRUN),
Department of Management Science and Technology,
Athens University of Economics and Business, 47A Evelpidon Street,
11362, Athens, Greece
Fax: +301 8203685 E-mail: avrehop@aueb.gr
E-mail: ioanna@aueb.gr E-mail: isideris@aueb.gr
E-mail: gjd@aueb.gr
*Corresponding author
Nikos Mylonopoulos
ALBA – Athens Laboratory of Business Administration, Athinas
Avenue & 2A Areos Street, 16671 Vouliagmeni, Greece
Fax: +3010 8964532 E-mail: nmylonop@alba.edu.gr
Abstract: The changing role of mobile communications is reflected on the
increasing use of mobile devices for e-commerce purposes. Supported by the
penetration of mobile devices and the evolution of mobile technologies, mobile
commerce promises to change the way certain business-to-consumer (B2C)
activities are conducted. Focusing on B2C markets, this paper underlines the
critical role of consumer behaviour research in mobile commerce and
investigates, through an exploratory research approach, the critical success
factors towards mobile commerce diffusion. To that end, an online consumer
survey ran in three European countries (Finland, Germany and Greece). The
results showed that mobile commerce (m-commerce) penetration in Europe is
in its infancy. In addition, significant differences regarding consumer attitudes
towards mobile commerce were observed among the countries investigated.
Lower prices, improved security, improved devices and effective customer
support, proved to be the critical success factors towards accelerating
m-commerce consumer adoption. It is concluded that the customisation of the
marketing mix to the specific characteristics of each target market, is a key
success factor for mobile operators in Europe.
Keywords: Mobile commerce; consumer behaviour research; changing role of
mobile communications; critical success factors for mobile commerce
diffusion; strategic marketing planning in mobile commerce.
Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Vrechopoulos, A.,
Constantiou, I., Sideris, I., Doukidis, G. and Mylonopoulos, N. (2003) ‘The
critical role of consumer behaviour research in mobile commerce, Int. J.
Mobile Communications, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp.329–340.
330 A. Vrechopoulos et al.
Biographical notes: Adam P. Vrechopoulos is a Visiting Lecturer at the
Department of Management Science and Technology at the Athens University
of Economics and Business (AUEB). His research and teaching areas are
electronic commerce, digital marketing and information management. He holds
a PhD from Brunel University, UK.
Ioanna Constantiou is a PhD student on ELTRUN (the eBusiness Center) at the
Department of Management Science and Technology at the Athens University
of Economics and Business (AUEB), Greece. Her research is in the area of
network economics. She focuses on pricing policies in the internet and mobile
communications markets. She is also coordinator of the MobiCom project.
Ioannis A. Sideris is a researcher at the Athens University of Economics and
Business (AUEB), Greece. He is also a part-time PhD student at the Brunel
University, UK. His research focuses on strategic planning in the context of
developing a scenario planning methodology for high-tech markets with
applications to mobile commerce.
Georgios I. Doukidis is Professor of Information Systems at the Department of
Management Science and Technology at the Athens University of Economics
and Business (AUEB) and a Visiting Professor at Brunel University. His
research and teaching areas are information systems management, electronic
commerce, decision-support systems, and simulation, and he has published a
total of 12 books and 90 research papers. He has acted as guest editor for a
number of international journals. He is Director of the ELTRUN eBusiness
Center and a member of the executive board of GeM (Global eManagement
MBA).
Nikos Mylonopoulos is an Assistant Professor of Information Systems at the
Athens Laboratory of Business Administration (ALBA). His teaching and
research interests are in the areas of information systems management,
electronic commerce and applications of economic theory in these areas. He
has taught at Loughborough University Business School, Warwick Business
School, Groupe ESC Bordeaux, Birkbeck College (University of London) and
the Athens University of Economics and Business.
1 Introduction
Although business-to-consumer (B2C) mobile commerce (m-commerce) is getting
considerable publicity, most of today’s applications support organisational rather than
consumer requirements. A large number of wireless applications have been implemented
at the intra-organisational level (e.g. mobile sales force automation), while the integration
of business processes along the supply chain is increasingly supported by B2B wireless
information exchanges [1]. Nevertheless, B2C m-commerce applications (e.g. e-banking,
e-shopping, e-booking, etc.) are growing rapidly, supported by the innovative
technological outcomes, the pioneering business initiatives and the continuously
changing consumer behavioural patterns [2,3].
There are many research streams in the area of m-commerce available at the moment
(e.g. emerging technologies, marketing research, etc.). Green et al. [4] report that there is
a growing literature in the social sciences that traces the diffusion of mobile
communications throughout the population. To that end, they consider the critical role of
The critical role of consumer behaviour research in mobile commerce 331
consumer behaviour research in the diffusion of mobile telecommunications
technologies.
Following these trends, this paper investigates consumer attitudes and behaviours
against m-commerce services in Europe. The objective of this paper is to provide an
initial understanding of the changing role of mobile communications from the consumer
perspective, along with a list of critical success factors towards the effective
B2C m-commerce diffusion. To that end, an exploratory consumer survey was conducted
as part of the MobiCom project [5]. The research findings could be effectively utilised by
entrepreneurs within the situation analysis of their strategic marketing planning for
electronic commerce [6], and by researchers for formulating specific research hypotheses
to be tested within corresponding conclusive research designs [7].
The paper is structured as follow: Section 2 presents mobile commerce dynamics and
identifies the need for consumer behaviour research in this area. Section 3 describes the
research methodology used in the consumer survey. Section 4 includes the analysis of the
results. Then, Section 5 discusses the results and provides recommendations for key
market players. Finally, Section 6 presents conclusions and implications, and proposes
further research directions.
2 Mobile commerce dynamics and the critical role of consumer behaviour
research
Global e-commerce is predicted to reach $ 6.9 trillion by 2004 [8], of which more than
$200 million will be delivered form m-commerce [9]. At the same time, mobile phone
penetration in Europe is expected to be 85% in 2005 [10]. The m-commerce dynamics
are also indicated by the Jupiter Research [11] predictions that the global m-commerce
revenues will reach $22.2 billion in 2005, of which $7.8 billion (i.e. 35% of global
revenues) will come from Western Europe.
The changing role of mobile communications indicated by the aforementioned
evolutions, has generated series of critical research questions and challenging business
opportunities. Mobile telephony constitutes an emerging alternative shopping channel,
targeting a specific group of customers with specific characteristics, preferences and
behaviours [4]. While the available research in the area of online consumer behaviour is
focused on the web, m-commerce dynamics has created a strong need for corresponding
research initiatives tailored to the characteristics and needs of this emerging shopping
channel. However, there has been little social science research on the consumption and
use of mobile technologies, and it is only recently that industry and academia have begun
to focus on the behaviour of mobile consumers [4].
Matskin and Tveit [12] state that with the increasing number of e-commerce services
for mobile devices, there are challenges in making these services more personalised
through investigating consumer preferences and behaviours, taking into account the
constrained bandwidth and restricted user interface these devices currently provide. To
that end, Nohria and Leestma [13] agree that the promise of m-commerce requires a deep
understanding of consumer behaviour, and that significant opportunities arise not just for
providers of telecommunications services but also for companies that have a rich and
thorough knowledge of consumer behaviour. According to Barnes [2, p.106]:
332 A. Vrechopoulos et al.
“… a fresh, creative look at the needs of the wireless consumers will break
some of the constraints that are holding m-commerce back.”
Similarly, Schiffman and and Kanuk [14] and Kotler [15] report that consumers
constitute the basic source that provides the requirements to the organisation regarding
the development of marketing strategies.
Along the same lines, Green et al. [4] state that the behaviour of the mobile consumer
is important in any understanding of the process of technological innovation and
diffusion. The opportunities in mobile commerce, therefore, abound for any company
that thoroughly understands how specific consumers can benefit from mobile services
[13]. Furthermore, Vrechopoulos et al. [16] state that e-commerce applications and
services implemented through various interactive channels (i.e., PC, mobile devices,
digital TV) must be designed according to the needs and wants of the consumers, in order
to be effective. In sum, several researchers [2,4,17-19] have already identified the need to
conduct extensive consumer behaviour research in the fields of e-commerce and
m-commerce, towards identifying business opportunities, effectively meeting customer
needs and gaining competitive advantage.
3 Methodology of the research
An extensive quantitative consumer survey was conducted as a part of the MobiCom
project. A questionnaire was used as the data collection instrument of the study. The
questionnaire was launched on the web at the end of March 2001 and the survey lasted
for four months. The sample size comprised 4105 internet users coming from Finland,
Germany and Greece (i.e. 1908 in Finland; 1422 in Germany; 775 in Greece). The
sample could be considered as representative at the European level as it includes one
country from Scandinavia (i.e. Finland), one from Western Europe (i.e. Germany) and
one from Southern Europe (i.e. Greece). Convenience sampling was used. According to
Churchill [20], Hair et al. [21] and Malhotra and Birks [7] this sampling technique is
suitable for the requirements of exploratory research designs.
The questionnaire was first developed in English and then translated into the
languages of the participating countries. Then, the questionnaire was pre-tested for
potential problems, before it was given out to the sample. Finally, consumers were
informed about the survey through several communication channels (e.g. web site,
conferences, press releases, newsgroups, public mailing lists, vertical and generic portals,
meetings, etc.).
4 Analysis of results
The profile of the three samples under study in terms of demographic information is
summarised in Table 1. The samples are well balanced in terms of some basic
demographic characteristics (i.e. age, gender, household size) of the respondents, and
more skewed in terms of income and education.
The critical role of consumer behaviour research in mobile commerce 333
Table 1 Demographic characteristcis of the samples
DemographicCategories Range Samples
Finland Germany Greece
Age groups 18-31 52 49.5 48.5
32-40 33 24.5 31
41-64 9.5 24 19
65+ 5.5 2 1.5
Gender Male 54 63 52
Female 46 37 48
Household size(i.e. no.
of members)
1 30 26 21.5
2 34.5 31.5 23
3 12.5 18 24
4+ 23 24.5 32
Monthly gross income
(in euros)
0-1000 25 16.5 14
1001-2000 19 14.5 25
2001–3250 21 22 17
3251–5000 11.5 18 6.5
5000+ 23.5 29 37.5
Education Below high school degree 22.5 31 6
High school degree 32 33 6,5
College/University 34.5 32.5 39
Postgraduate 11 3.5 48.5
Size of town Less than 20.000 21 19 3.5
20.000–100.000 44 19.5 7.5
Over than 100.000 35 61.5 89
Occupation Employed in the commercial
sector
24.5 13 34.5
Executive/manager 6.5 9.5 18
Computer Engineer 8.5 12 9
Student 22 12.5 8.5
Employed in the social sector 1,5 1,5 7,5
Professional 2,5 3 6
Technician/Engineer 2,5 4,5 4
Academic/Educator 3,5 5 3
Self-employed 5 6 2
Looking for work 1.5 1 1.5
Employed in the public
administration
8 9 1
Tradesman/Craftsman 1.5 3 1
Retired 2.5 2 0,5
Homemaker 7.5 15 0.5
Other 24.5 3 3
Note: Numbers refer to percentages (%)
334 A. Vrechopoulos et al.
The majority of respondents owned a mobile device. However, it should be mentioned
that as the sample includes only internet users, this finding should be interpreted with
caution. The most preferred type of mobile contract (i.e. subscription vs. prepaid) was
found to be the subscription type (98% in Finland; 77% in Germany; 80% in Greece). As
far as the purpose of mobile use is concerned, 44% in Finland, 40% in Germany, and
14% in Greece, reported that they used their mobile devices exclusively for private
purposes.
Finland seemed to be a comparatively more mature market in terms of mobile
telephony diffusion, since 32% of the respondents reported that they had had experience
of mobile devices for four to six years, as did 19% of respondents in Germany and in
Greece. On the other hand, regarding the age of the mobile device, it was found that the
majority of German users (42%) owned a device that was less than six months old, while
most of the Greek users (36%) owned a mobile device that was between six months and
one year old. Finally, most Finnish users (31%) owned a mobile device that was between
one and two years old.
A considerable number of respondents in all countries reported that they would buy a
new mobile device only when “their old phone becomes useless” (42% in Germany; 33%
in Greece; 49% in Finland). However, German and Greek users (28% and 32%,
respectively), reported, “supports new technologies”(e.g. GPRS) as their second most
important criterion for buying a new mobile device, (e.g. GPRS), as did 21% of users in
Finland. On the contrary, the least important criterion for buying a new mobile device for
all the countries under study was “better games and sounds offered” (1% in Germany;
1% in Greece; 2% in Finland). Finally, the majority of the respondents (84% in Germany;
67% in Greece; 72% in Finland) reported that their average daily calling time fluctuated
between zero and 15 minutes, while the monthly mobile phone expenditure of most
respondents in the investigated countries was an average of 38 euros (91% in Germany,
92% in Greece; 89% in Finland).
The most important reason for using mobile devices was found to be the ‘good
price/service ratio’ in Finland and Greece, and the ‘independence of time and space’ in
Germany. The aforementioned criteria along with ‘comfort’ and ‘better information’
were found to be most important in all the investigated countries.
Respondents were asked to report their problems and comments regarding the use of
their mobile phones. The ‘high price of mobile access’ was found to be the most
important problem in all the countries under study, while ‘poor quality of service’ was
found to be the second most important. As far as consumers’ recommendations towards
the improvement of mobile services were concerned, ‘lower price’ was found to be the
most desired characteristic in the three countries under study. The second most important
criterion was ‘improved comfort of device’ in Finland and in Greece, and ‘improved
security’ in Germany. Table 2 provides a direct comparison between the consumers’
problems is using mobile phones and their corresponding recommendations towards the
improvement of mobile services, in the three countries under study.
The critical role of consumer behaviour research in mobile commerce 335
Table 2 Problems vs. recommendations regarding mobile services
Evaluation
(1: very important – 5: completely unimportant)
DIMENSIONS ATTRIBUTES
Finland Germany Greece
Complicated to use 2.3 2.2 1.3
Lack of security 2.3 2.1 1.2
Poor quality of service 1.9 2 1
High price for mobile access 1.7 1.4 1
Not personalised enough 2.9 2.7 1.5
Problems
Inconvenience of device 2 2 1.3
Improved ease of use 2.7 1.9 2
Improved security 2.5 1.7 1.9
Improved support 2.8 2.3 2.1
Lower price 1.4 1.3 1.4
Recommendations
Improved comfort of device 2.1 1.8 1.8
Note: Numbers refer to average scores
Consumers were asked to report which mobile services they will use in the near future,
independently of which services they have used in the past. ‘Entertainment’ was found to
be the most desired one in Finland, ‘e-mail’ in Germany, and ‘information and news’ in
Greece. The least desired mobile service in all the investigated countries was found to be
‘shopping’. A considerable number of respondents in all these countries reported the
intention to use ‘banking and financial services’, and ‘information and news’ in the near
future. Finally, in all three countries, ‘travel booking’ and ‘ticket reservations’ were
found to be the least desired mobile services to be used in the future, after ‘shopping’.
Consumers were also asked to report, which mobile services they had used in the
past. Almost 50% of respondents in Finland reported that they have used their mobile
devices for ‘entertainment’ purposes, which was found to be the most frequently used
m-commerce service in this particular country. Correspondingly, 28.7% of German users
had used their mobile devices for ‘e-mail’, while 31.3% and 31.02% of Greek
respondents reported that they had used their mobile phones for ‘information and news’
and ‘e-mail’, respectively. On the contrary, ‘shopping’ and ‘travel booking’ were found
to be the least used mobile services in all the investigated countries.
Table 3, provides a direct comparison between the most desired mobile services to be
used in the future and the mobile services that had already been used by consumers in
each country. However, it should be noted that a considerable percentage of mobile users
had not used any of the alternative mobile services in the past (33.24% in Finland;
57.04% in Germany; 38.23% in Greece) and did not plan to use any of them in the near
future (21.43% in Finland; 29.21% in Germany; 38.23% in Greece).
336 A. Vrechopoulos et al.
Table 3 Desired vs. used mobile services
Services Finland Germany Greece
Desired Used Desired Used Desired Used
Banking and
financial services
20.03 14.86 17.04 9 17.17 17.17
Shopping 2.05 2.49 3.56 1.4 5.26 5.26
Entertainment 56.32 49.89 10.11 5.5 16.07 16.07
Information and
news
23.56 19.69 29.59 18.9 31.30 31.30
Travel booking 3.12 2.11 5.62 2.33 7.20 7.20
Ticket reservation 7.22 6.13 5.62 2.88 7.48 7.48
E-mail 16.58 11.66 46.44 28.7 31.02 31.02
None 21.43 33.24 29.21 57.04 38.23 38.23
Note: Numbers refer to percentages (%)
The criteria that consumers used in order to select a mobile operator differed between the
investigated countries. More specifically, the most important criterion for Finish users
was found to be the ‘my friends have chosen the same provider’ (49.81%), while at the
same time, this criterion was found to be the least important one for Greek users (3.8%).
‘Low pricing scheme’ constituted the most important criterion for German users
(53,77%), while ‘good coverage’ was evaluated as the most important one for Greek
users (42.53%). On the other hand, the least important criterion for Finish and German
users was ‘good customer service’ (10.14%), and the existence of ‘company telephone’
(i.e. their mobile phone is provided by their company) (6.69%), respectively. Table 4,
provides a direct comparison between the investigated countries regarding the criteria
that customers use in order to select a mobile operator.
Table 4 Mobile operator selection criteria
Criteria Finland Germany Greece
Low pricing scheme 42.05 53.77 40.08
Special offers for new subscribers 23.33 17.74 18.07
Good coverage 37.38 49.65 42.53
The phone provided was bundled with the contract 11.77 30.51 18.21
Reputation 22.25 20.08 19.84
My friends have chosen the same provider 49.81 32.06 3.80
Company telephone 13.19 6.69 22.01
Good customer service 10.14 14.16 15.35
Note: Numbers refer to percentages (%)
A major classification between mobile users (i.e. those that have not used any of the
services included in Table 3) and mobile shoppers (i.e. those that have used at least one
mobile service included in Table 3) was conducted towards investigating whether there
were significant differences between the evaluations provided by each of these groups in
the three countries under study.
The critical role of consumer behaviour research in mobile commerce 337
More specifically, as far as mobile users’ evaluation of the importance of mobile
attributes is concerned, an ANOVA test with post-hoc comparisons revealed that there
are significant differences between the three countries in most of the corresponding
attributes (Table 5). This implies, that there is a need to design customised marketing
strategies tailored to the consumers’ characteristics and preferences in each country, in
order to effectively convert mobile users to shoppers.
Table 5 ANOVA test results for ‘importance of mobile attributes’ reported by mobile users
Evaluation (means)
(1: very important to 5:
completely unimportant)
No. Attributes
Finland Germany Greece
F Sig.
Tukey HSD post-hoc
comparisons
>>: significant
>: not significant
1 Improved ease of use 2.65 1.89 2.01 71,097 .000
Finland >> Greece
Finland >> Germany
Greece > Germany
2 Improved security 2.46 1.74 1.85 66,691 .000
Finland >> Greece
Finland >> Germany
Greece > Germany
3 Improved support 2.79 2.26 2.12 42,103 .000
Finland >> Greece
Finland >> Germany
Germany > Greece
4 Lower price 1.35 1.33 1.46 3,536 .029
Greece >> Germany
Finland > Germany
Greece > Finland
5 Improved comfort of
device 2.14 1.83 1.85 13,844 .000
Finland >> Germany
Finland >> Greece
Greece > Germany
Table 6 ANOVA test results for ‘problems in using mobile commerce services’ reported by
mobile shoppers
Evaluation (means)
(1: very important to 5:
completely unimportant)
No. Problems
Finland Germany Greece
F Sig.
Tukey HSD post-hoc
comparisons
>>: significant
>: not significant
1 Complicated to use 2.25 2.17 1.77 18,520 .000
Finland >> Greece
Germany >> Greece
Finland >> Germany
2 Lack of security 2.28 2.14 1.58 42,036 .000 Finland >> Germany >>
Greece
3 Poor quality of
service 1.92 2.04 1.38 43,392 .000
Germany >> Finland >>
Greece
4 High price for
mobile access 1.71 1.42 1.28 34,987 .000
Finland >> Germany
Finland >> Greece
Germany >> Greece
5 Not personalised
enough 2.94 2.73 2.08 64,647 .000
Finland >> Germany >>
Greece
6 Inconvenience of
device 2.03 2.04 1.81 5,209 .006
Finland >> Greece
Germany >> Greece
Germany > Finland
338 A. Vrechopoulos et al.
On the other hand, an ANOVA test with post-hoc comparisons was conducted for mobile
shoppers in order to investigate whether there were significant differences between the
three countries in terms of the reported problems in using mobile services. The findings,
in this case also, indicate that there are significant differences between the three countries
in most of the corresponding dimensions (Table 6). This implies that there is a need to
offer customised marketing mixes in order to effectively satisfy different shopping
patterns and gain competitive advantage.
5 Discussion and recommendations for key market players
Elaborating on the aforementioned results, a generic list of critical success factors
towards accelerating mobile commerce diffusion in Europe is provided:
provide lower prices
improve quality of service
improve comfort of devices
improve security
design ‘ease of use’ interfaces.
However, it is clear that some factors that proved to be very critical in some markets are
not so important in others. For example, opinion leaders could play a critical role in
Finland towards affecting consumers’ selection of mobile operators, since the ‘my friends
have chosen the same provider’ attribute was found to be the most important criterion
that customers use when selecting a mobile operator.
On the contrary, this particular criterion was found to be the least important for Greek
customers. The opposite stands for the ‘good coverage’ attribute, which was found to be
the most important mobile operator choice criterion in Greece and the third most
important one in Finland. Similarly, ANOVA results revealed that there are significant
differences between consumer attitudes and preferences towards mobile commerce in the
three countries, implying that consumers evaluate differently the importance of mobile
attributes and perceive differently potential problems in using mobile services. In
addition, the findings regarding the ‘desired’ and the already ‘used’ mobile services in
the three countries (Table 3), indicate different mobile commerce penetration rates along
with different attitudes towards using alternative mobile services in the future.
Results included in Table 2 indicate that users from the three countries have different
problems and expectations regarding mobile services. Furthermore, ANOVA results
revealed that mobile users in Germany are more demanding than the corresponding users
in the other two countries, regarding most of the mobile attributes under consideration.
Finally, the ANOVA test revealed that Greek mobile shoppers have the most serious
reservations about using mobile commerce services.
All of the above indicate that mobile service providers’ strategic marketing planning
should be adapted to the specific conditions of each target market. This implies, that the
elements of the marketing mix (i.e. product, price, place and promotion) should be
customised to the characteristics of each customer group towards satisfying different
consumer needs and preferences. Therefore, unified strategic marketing planning, which
more or less is the case in the retailing industry, should be avoided in the mobile
The critical role of consumer behaviour research in mobile commerce 339
commerce industry. For example, the promotional messages’ content in Finland could
underline the ‘comfort of device’ attribute, while the corresponding messages in
Germany and Greece could communicate the ‘improved security’ and the ‘good
coverage’, respectively. Furthermore, different marketing strategies could be designed for
targeting mobile users and mobile shoppers in order to convert mobile users to shoppers
on one hand, and increase the usage of mobile services by current mobile shoppers, on
the other.
6 Conclusions, implications and future research perspectives
Undoubtedly, m-commerce in Europe is in its infancy. Finland was found to be a more
mature market than Germany and Greece in terms of m-commerce adoption, while
Greece was found to be the least mature. In sum, however, it is evident that European
consumers have started using their mobile phones for retailing purposes. Despite
potential problems, it is clear that consumers are increasingly using ‘distance shopping’
alternative channels (i.e. web, telemarketing, phone, fax, mobile telephony,
digital TV, etc.). As soon as technology problems (e.g. bandwidth, devices) are solved,
consumers will be offered a huge plethora of alternative shopping channels.
To that end, the present study revealed on the one hand some critical success factors
towards accelerating mobile commerce consumer adoption in Europe, and on the other,
that marketing experts should avoid implementing the same marketing strategies in
different markets. In addition, the critical role of consumer behaviour research in the
mobile commerce industry was clearly justified.
The changing role of mobile communications creates a strong need for research
initiatives towards supporting business activity. To that end, the present study’s research
insights can be utilised in the ‘market opportunity analysis’ section of an e-marketing
plan’s ‘situation analysis’ [22,6].
As thoroughly discussed in the paper, there is a strong need to conduct in-depth
consumer behaviour surveys focusing on the specific market that the mobile operator
wishes to target. Accordingly, mobile service providers should avoid imitating
competitors’ marketing strategies that have been successfully implemented in other
markets. The present study shows that every market in this particular industry behaves
differently. Multinational companies, therefore, should avoid dictating marketing
guidelines to national headquarters, but provide them with flexibility in order to develop
customised marketing plans, ensure consumer satisfaction and gain competitive
advantage.
The present study provides an initial understanding of consumer attitudes and
behaviours against m-commerce in Europe. Further research can elaborate on the
findings of this exploratory study and develop and test specific research hypotheses
within conclusive research designs. For example, a potential hypothesis could test
whether there are significant differences regarding mobile operator choice criteria
between mobile shoppers that use different mobile services (e.g. ‘security’ criterion for
consumers that use ‘banking and financial services’ vs. ‘improved ease of use’ criterion
for consumers that use ‘grocery shopping’). Such research will provide direct managerial
implications for mobile service operators.
340 A. Vrechopoulos et al.
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