Development of secure M-commerce application for SMEs during COVID-19

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Development of secure M-commerce application for small and medium enterprises

Introduction

Mobile commerce, also known as m-commerce or mcommerce, is the use of wireless handheld devices like cellphones and tablets to conduct commercial transactions online, including the purchase and sale of products, online banking, and paying bills. The use of m-commerce activity is on the rise. According to market research company Statista, mobile commerce sales in the United States were an estimated $207.2 billion in 2017.

Technology is  changing changes  our lives  at a  pace faster  than ever. Businesses  and  societies  are  being  shaped by  the  new  technological advancements. Mobile apps are growing at an enormous rate, it seems there is the app for everything, from food, groceries, clothing, booking a taxi ride to renting or sharing a home. SMEs need to adopt and keep pace with this ever-changing technology to grab these opportunities available in abundance.  M-Commerce or mobile commerce is an online channel for  sale  and  purchase  of  products,  services  and  information  through smartphones,  tablet PCs, iPads  and laptops  using wireless  technology (Laudon et. al., 2016). Extensive use of ICTs is shaping our societies and businesses world today. The use of internet in general and smartphones, in particular, has grown at an unprecedented rate worldwide. Smartphone users have grown tremendously and is projected at 2.32 billion by the end of  year  2017  (www.statista.com/statistics).    In  Pakistan  alone,  the smartphone users reached 40 million by the end of 2016. Further, over 2 million internet users in Pakistan every month look to buy a smartphone making it the number one selling item in all of the E-Commerce platforms in  the  country  (tribune.com.pk).  Smartphones  bring  a  wealth  of opportunities  to  businesses  (Causse, A.  2012)  especially  in  terms  of knowledge management (Hopkins, John L. 2012), profiling  customers, recording and tracking purchase history and buying patterns. Usability of mobile  apps  makes  shopping  more  convenient  and  time-saving (Holzinger, et. al. 2012) as people almost at any time have access to their phones. In today’s busy world people are connected through various ICT devices,  such as  laptops, Tablet  Pcs,  PDAs, iPads  but predominantly smartphones which are more portable and necessary for staying in touch with work, family, and friends.  Life without smartphones in this age of high technology and digitized economy is unimaginable. According to the World Bank from 1960 – 2015 the cellular phone subscription grew from 0 to 98.6%, further, low and middle-income world population had 94% cellular subscription (data.worldbank.org).  According to the  same data source, the internet usage worldwide accounted for 43.99% and for low and middle-income population 36.80% by the year 2015. The smartphone usage  statistics  worldwide  and  even  in  developing  countries  show exponential  growth,  30.90%  of  the  world  population  will  be  using smartphones  by  the  year  2017  (www.statista.com/statistics).    These statistics are too big to ignore for any business operating in this strongly interconnected  world  of  digital  economy.  Particularly  SMEs  being flexible  business  enterprises  can  hugely  benefit  from  M-Commerce. These are  typically the  enterprises  with  limited  resources in  terms of finance and HR, in addition, with significant barriers to financial access (Zhao,  et.al. 2016),  larger SMEs  comparatively have  better  access to Finance (Owen, et.al. 2016) but they are a very few in number compared to micro and medium size SMEs.   Limited resources mean that SMEs cannot spend much on marketing, advertising, exploring new markets. M-Commerce has the potential to help SMEs reach vast markets around the globe at a much lower cost, faster speed and instant communication would mean less ambiguity for both the buyer and sellers.

Objectives

The main objective of this study is on the development of secure M-commerce application for small and medium enterprises during Covid-19

Specific Objectives

  • to design an automated mobile based system for sales of goods and services for Covid-19 pandemic
  • to develop a system that store product details using secure database
  • to automate a system that will provide services to users upon request
  • to design a system that will manage every user’s information on the database

 

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