M-Consumer Concerns

A wide range of consumer concerns arise within the m-commerce environment. The main concerns are summarized below:

  • Privacy: In the information context, privacy refers to a user's fear of other people/organizations knowing what he or she is interested in ("Big Brother syndrome"). Tracking user Internet-browsing behavior and information requests on the wireless Web is a sensitive topic, as it is for its wired counterpart. The ability to know the exact location of a user at all times further escalates the sensitivity of the Big Brother syndrome. Another type of privacy concern for consumers in this area is that their location might be revealed to interested businesses at all times. Knowing the whereabouts of each mobile user may be perceived as threatening to the m-consumer, as this information could be dangerous if intercepted.

  • Security: Consumer fears regarding the safety of the information exchanged over a wireless network increases with the degree of interaction and the sensitivity of the information exchanged. Security is a critical component in protecting consumer privacy.

  • Reliability: For any extent of network coverage, it is important that the connection quality be maintained. The inherent concern here is that loss of the connection can result in loss of data (Nielsen, 2000).

  • Download times: Mobile users should not be forced to spend excessive amounts of time to access desired content (Cole, 2001).

  • Cost: Users of wired Internet access have the option of subscribing to different transfer rates, which come at different cost levels, subject to their individual needs. Aside from the cost of connecting to the wireless Web, there is also a cost concern for the accessed information.

  • Usability: Information on the wireless Web should suit not only people's needs but also the medium and the environment. For instance, content needs to be repurposed for mobile devices, so that users can access easy-to-digest pieces of news, not replicated long articles from the wired Web (McGinity, 2000). This notion ties in with usability, which raises the following questions: How easy is it for the mobile user to access the information sought? What is the quality of the overall experience? Factors influencing the quality of the overall experience include a user's ability to read the screen, input data, manipulate files, and access sites of interest.

  • Content: Limited content availability is a consideration that prevents customers from accessing the Internet wirelessly. Further user frustration is experienced when they are victims of "walled gardens" (i.e., when they cannot access desired content because it is available only to users of other network carriers).

Wireless Communications and Mobile Commerce
Wireless Communications and Mobile Commerce
ISBN: 1591402123
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 139

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