Nearly half of Australian adults own a smartphone, a figure that has grown over 100-per cent since May 2011.
It is fair to say we are becoming, if we aren’t already, addicted to mobile. This comes as no surprise however, considering Australia’s community place among the earliest adopters of mobile in the Asia-Pacific Region. This is old news, but the mobile-commerce boom that Australians are starting to fall in love with isn’t.
Mobile commerce in Australia is expected to reach $5.6 billion this year, growing substantially from the $155 million market it was in 2010.
Even more staggeringly, mobile commerce in the USA will generate $39 billion in sales, cementing mobile’s place as part of the future of the global retail industry.
Forbes magazine also named mobile as one of the three big retail trends of 2013, alongside social, which is already a mobile-centric field, as well as the ever-increasing alignment of offline and digital commerce.
There’s an app for that…
The most obvious way to cash in on this new growth is through a feature-rich mobile app, allowing consumers to not only browse and search for goods, but also act as a point of sale, providing a direct link between consumers and the store through home delivery. Examples of this include fashion behemoth ASOS and eBay, the latter of which sells a car is sold every nine minutes, a handbag every four minutes and a pair of shoes every other minute on its mobile app.
Furthermore, Apple’s Passbook application and the multitude of payWave-type apps have created a new way for shoppers and retailers to conduct a transaction, with plenty of success. Studies show that redemption of paper coupons only happen at a rate of one per cent, while mobile coupons are redeemed at a rate of ten per cent, driving much more traffic to the store than otherwise.
But, retailers can go much farther than that, according to mobile commerce experts. Mobile retail platform Swirl CEO, Hilmi Ozguc, in an interview with Forbes, once stated “Retailers have a huge opportunity to use mobile to create value for shoppers by delivering personalized content and offers where they matter most – while they are shopping in stores.”
So, uh, what’s, ya know, the problem?
Retailers are simply not giving shoppers a reason to engage with them with their phones, missing out on the ability to enrich customers experience when shopping in their stores. They can use location targeting to give shoppers special discounts at local stores, or provide more information on the items they see while they are in the store.
Mobile commerce moving into the mainstream is essentially an issue of when, not if. The only if, is if you’re going to be on crest of the wave, taking advantage of the consumers screaming out for an innovative mobile-commerce experience, or on the tail end. I don’t need to tell you where the money is.
Matt Edwards is working at Sydney app development firm Fuse Mobile, and has an interest in digital and mobile media