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3 Opportunities for Mobile Commerce in Australia

With Australian consumers shopping on mobile devices more than ever, now is the time to capitalise on the small screen.  In a guest post from Oracle this week, we gain an insight into their findings from a recent study of the mobile commerce capabilities of over 100 Australian retailers.  Oracle has identified for us three key opportunities for Australian retailers to provide a better mobile commerce experience on smartphones and tablets. This is a guest post written by Mark Tawadrous, Commerce Strategy Consultant at Oracle.


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Fresh Research Uncovers Three Key Opportunities for Mobile Commerce in Australia

Written by Mark Tawadrous, Commerce Strategy Consultant, Oracle

3rd June 2015

With Australian consumers using mobile devices more than ever, now is the time to capitalise on the small screen. Our research has uncovered three key opportunities to make the best use of the most recent advances in technology to reduce costs and provide a better customer experience.

The mobility research team at Oracle analysed over 100 pure-play online retailers and multi-channel brick-and-mortar retailers in Australia to assess their mobile web and application capabilities.  Our expectation was that pure-plays (online only retailers) would be more advanced than their counterparts in their mobile presence given their customer-facing organisation structure is already 100% digital.  To our surprise, we found no major differences between pure-play and brick-and-mortar retailers.  The use of mobile strategies across both pure-play and brick-and-mortar organisations was consistent. Of the businesses we analysed, we found that:

  • the vast majority had a mobile friendly website (85%)
  • a significant minority (12%) had no mobile capability at all
  • a very small proportion were using an application exclusively (3%)

Over the 2014 Christmas shopping period, Nielsen carried out research to track the mobile shopping behaviour of Australian audiences. They found that 44% of Australians use mobile phones to search online when shopping for gift ideas.  It won’t be long before more than half of online shopping searches take places on mobile devices.  Based on our research, we have identified a number of strategies that will help retail businesses maximise returns from an increasingly mobile customer base.

  1. Explore creative mobile applications

Mobile applications are heavily under utilised in Australia.  According to the IAB, Australians are spending up to 86% of their mobile device time time using mobile applications, yet our research found that 69% of businesses did not have a mobile application at all.

In Australia, mobile application usage is currently dominated by social media and gaming, however a significant opportunity remains to leverage device features that enrich the shopping and product discovery process.  Creative uses for mobile applications might include push notifications for nearby in-store promotions, for example inside a shopping centre. Leveraging in-store beacons to engage brand advocates, and using mobile applications for in-store payments directly linked to a loyalty program.

Mobile applications need not be limited to smartphones.  With tablet usage at home now at 55% in Australia, it would be prudent to respond to consumer behaviours while leveraging the increased screen real estate. Targeting tablets would provide retailers with greater opportunities to create exciting and engaging applications. For example, a personalised look book leveraging Instagram and Pinterest hash tags for an apparel retailer could provide the fashion-forward a new source of inspiration, and increase market share for the business.

  1. Mobile Search

Consumers researching products or services on mobile devices typically turn to on-site search to find the products and services they are looking for, often using browser based keyword search and refinement based navigation together. Having a sophisticated mobile site search coupled with a mobile friendly website is a lucrative opportunity to capture customers during the product discovery stage.

Our research found that 22% of all businesses had no mobile friendly site search, and just 11% implemented user friendly features such as type-ahead, refinements and various sorting criteria. Of those that sold a large number of products such as department stores, a mere 3 out of 18 exposed advanced search features to navigate large catalogues.

Specific retail verticals that typically hold large ranges of products and brands across categories will benefit the most from this strategy. Examples include stationery, sports and recreation, and department stores and. Mobile site search provides an ample opportunity to engage customers, drive conversion and capture further market share.

  1. Move to responsive design

Our findings showed that just 35% of retailers were using responsive design frameworks, where a website dynamically adjusts to the appropriate screen size.  Adaptive design techniques, in which a specific website is created for each device, were in use by 49% of retailers, whilst the remainder weren’t doing anything at all.

Those using adaptive design techniques need to author and publish content (such as images) multiple times across a number of sites for desktop, mobile and tablet.  This increases time to market and misses an opportunity to convert a shopping customer. With 79% of Australian adults frequently using a mobile device to research a product or service before buying, strategies to reduce time to market should be a priority for retailers.

The dynamic nature of responsive design simplifies and speeds up the management of web publishing across desktop, mobile and tablet devices.  Content is only authored once for multiple screen sizes and reduces time to market through one time publishing.

Finally, there is a search engine optimisation benefit to using a responsive design framework. Having a single site that uses a responsive design framework ensures that an SEO strategy only needs to be implemented on one set of pages, for all devices, and without having to identify the mobile equivalent. There are substantial savings here in implementation costs, ongoing management and gains in search rankings that shouldn’t be underestimated.

Conclusion

Rising device usage, increased network speeds and new technology such as beacons have created a market in which customers have higher expectations and demand immediate results.  Many customers already choose to transact with businesses that can satisfy their needs in the present moment. Increasingly, this means they expect to transact on mobile devices. There is significant opportunity for growth in mobile commerce in Australia, and by considering the strategies we recommend, Australian retailers can increase their capacity to leverage this growth.


About Our Guest Post Author

Mark Tawadrous

Mark Tawadrous is a Commerce Strategy Consultant for Oracle, and the Team Lead of the Oracle Commerce (ATG and Endeca) Pre-Sales team covering Asia Pacific. His team provides customers with best of breed business and technical expertise in E-Commerce customer experience solutions across industries.

 

 


 

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