Posted by Nicole Hambleton / Article, Mobile /

Australia’s love affair with the smart phone means that it’s only a matter of time before mobile transactions exceed desktop transactions.

In May 2012 Google’s research indicated that 59% of mobile shoppers made at least one mCommerce purchase a month, indicating that once they start, the experience leads to a continuation of this behaviour.

It’s not all about the purchase, it’s about the overall mobile commerce experience. Consumers are using their mobile to compare products, gather information, read product reviews, frequent forums, enter a competition, scan barcodes, make an enquiry or even a complaint. The mobile shop needs to cater for the type of user behaviour that is unique to online shopping, on the move.

Who is shopping online

An Australian survey conducted for PayPal in 2011, by Nielsons found that almost 70 percent of respondents said they would use mobile devices for purchases, transactions and payments in the near future. 

Generally speaking the younger generations are more tech saavy and likely to make purchases online or using their NFC enabled mobile devices. For some of them it’s second nature now to make transactions and enquiries on a mobile instead of a desktop or even in person. A whole new generation, namely Generation Z (or the Internet Generation), of mobile saavy consumers are starting to come into disposable income and they are comfortable spending online. 

Even though the younger generations are smartphone savvy, discounting the older generations is not recommended. They are also using mcommerce facilities, however their online behaviour may vary. 

Why do they frequent online shops

We have become a society that expects instant communication; social media and mobile technology have changed the way we communicate. We now expect that no matter where we are, we can be connected to the information we require then and there and the shopping experience is no different.

Mobile commerce is also gaining traction because there is a growing social need to obtain instant feedback. The shopping experience is evolving, often faster than retailers are able to keep up. A larger percentage of shoppers have their smartphones with them in store and are using them to compare specifications, costs, enter competitions, review peer approval or even research brands on the go. mCommerce isn’t all about making a sale then and there, it’s also about having the information on hand to drive a decision making process.

Integrated online marketing

A mobile shop on its own isn’t an online marketing campaign, just like a website on it’s own isn’t an online strategy. Online coupons, Facebook applications, community media management, CRM integration, a responsive layout enabled eCommerce site and forums are all combined tools that can drive sales for a company looking to embark on an mCommerce strategy.

Understanding your target market will help you decide what approach to take with mCommerce. The retailer needs to understand what external stimulus is encouraging the consumer to access the store on their phone. Are they making a purchase, comparing prices, comparing products, getting feedback or accessing online reviews? Social media platforms now mean people can like sites, make recommendations to friends, review a product and generate social acceptance for a product or service. These are quite strong drivers for decision makers, with 84% of mobile phone users, using social media to enhance or influence their shopping experience.

The ability to compare products and their specifications can allow the user to make an informed choice and compare the intended purchase to their competition, retail stores. Sometimes it’s just being able to see more about a product, it’s technical information, the people who have used it and endorsements.

Trends to look out for

  • Location based marketing is going to surge with mCommerce. Using GPS check-in makes sense and the clever innovations that will start to appear are only just emerging now.
  • Coupons and discounts for online purchases or to reward loyalty among mCommerce users, this is a growing industry and is gaining traction. Soon they are expected to overtake paper or emailed coupons, making them easier to access and redeem, even as a cross promotion between in-store and mobile stores. Technologies like the digital wallet will make managing these more centralised.
  • Social commerce is just an extension of existing online networking and social sites that play on a basic need to gain acceptance from peers and authority figures. Look out for online campaigns, vouchers, apps and loyalty programs all stemming from social media.
  • Integrated and innovative payment gateways and facilities. Security is always a big issue for any transaction and the more common place mCommerce becomes the more solutions will be built to cater for this need. Apple is working on iWallet for it’s iOS customers for secure payments on the iPhone, other applications will surely follow and PayPal has already identified that Australia is a market serious about mobile adoption.
  • NFC to enter competitions, subscribe to a newsletter, redeem a prize, open an ebrochure or even order a coffee in store.  

If you haven’t embarked on an mCommerce site or application yet don’t worry, you are not alone. The concenus from most digital firms though is clear, the consumer is ready and waiting. Most retailers just need a nudge and some facts and figures about their target market. If you need some technical questions answered we are here to help you make the transition and pitch a knowledgeable strategy to your client. Next month’s newsletter will talk more about the technical elements of mCommerce.