Australian consumers, much like those in other regions of the world, are making the shift mobile shopping in rapid leaps, according to a recent announcement by PayPal/Ebay. The emergence of new, portable devices is working hand in hand with an increase in behavioural shift on the part of consumers.
The great many of us now own and enjoy mobile devices, and the widespread proliferation of mobile retail websites and shopping apps is growing on us. According to the report, that tech is not limited to online purchasing; offline shopping is showing a spike in web-integrated product discovery. All of this is good news for consumers.
Developed in conjunction with Nielsen and the Australian Centre for Retail Studies (ACRS), the report reveals how mobile technology is driving dramatic change to the path to purchase, connecting consumers with products in multiple ways. And how, for retailers, the future is about playing a role in aiding consumer discovery – helping consumers find what they want, when they want it be it online or in store.
Technology in motion
Recently I had the perfect chance to test the integrated nature of the modern shopping experience. I was shopping for a new tablet in a local small box electronics retailer. While in the store, I used a comparison shopping app my smart phone to scan the model the salesperson was demonstrating.
As I stood there in the store, I received notification that the big box store across the street had the tablet on sale for $30 less. Showing the info on the app to the salesperson and, subsequently, the manager, I was offered the same price right there on the spot. Of course I took home the tablet, and the store banked the sale rather than its staunch competitor.
Of course this example showcases how mobile discovery can help the consumer during the otherwise-offline purchasing process. But businesses still benefit, and can gain insight on staying competitive through transactions just like the one I’ve written about.
The big picture
Regardless of the final purchase location (online or offline), technology is aiding the consumer discovery process with Australians using desktop (92%), smartphones (47%) and tablets (25%) to search and discover products and services . While desktop remains the most dominant screen that Australians use for discovery, eBay data shows consumers are more engaged on mobile screens. Australian consumers are visiting eBay.com.au more often and spending more time in total on an iPad than through the desktop. An item is purchased on eBay.com.au via a mobile every two seconds.
According to the PayPal and eBay research conducted by Nielsen, smaller, more portable and accessible devices like smartphones and tablets continue to grow in popularity as a shopping companion in all environments, including in store. Australian consumers are increasingly using mobile devices while they are out shopping for price comparisons, locating retailers, reading reviews, and checking product availability. And, with PayPal’s point of sale payment announcement today, they can now make purchases in store via their phone.
Jeff Clementz, Vice President, PayPal Australia said: “The ritual of visiting shops, trying on clothes, and interacting with sales people is not dying, but how people get to your shop and what represents value and convenience – this is changing and technology is enabling it. The research today shows that Australians are increasingly starting their shopping journey online then buying offline. So, it’s imperative for retailer to have a presence at every stage of the path to purchase. We believe the retailers that understand discovery and take time to understand their customers’ behaviours will enjoy the benefits.”
Making it personal
The report released today discusses how offline and online seamlessly integrated into a better shopping experience creates a new retail paradigm. At the core of new retail and the future of commerce is personalisation.
The connected consumer wants personal, curated experiences relevant to them and controlled by them. For retailers, the future is about utilising data to take customers from unknown to known in order to provide them with personal shopping experiences both online and in store.
“As the retail industry undergoes change the opportunity for PayPal is to provide our partners with products and services to help them address the needs of new retail. Our focus is to innovate at point of sale – wherever that is. Connected devices make it easy to engage with consumers on the go, in store, or at check-out. Drawing on the power of the cloud we are working to connect the owners of our 4.6 million Australian accounts with retailers of all sizes,” said Jeff Clementz, Vice President, PayPal Australia.
As my own shopping excursion recently proved to me, mobile tech is leveling the retail playing field in the favor of the customer.
A more informed shopper is a confident shopper, which is always good for conversion.
PayPal/Ebay’s report reinforces the reality we all exist in at this point: a world in which tech is driving sales by creating a demand for transparency in sales practices.
In short, shoppers are sending a clear message that we want to shop, and we want to do it wisely.