Mobile phone shopping - the future of e-commerce
Australians are increasingly using their smart phones to compare prices and track down the best bargains, so business owners need to be prepared if they are going to maximise the opportunities provided by mobile phone shopping, according to Adrian Mullan of E-commerce Websites.
Mullan established E-commerce Websites in 2001 with the aim of helping businesses of all sizes transition into the online shopping arena. He has since assisted thousands of businesses, including some of Australia's biggest retailers , make the most of the opportunities provided by e-commerce.
It is estimated that about 94 percent of Australians have mobiles phones, with a 2011 report (PayPal's mCommerce: Secure Insight) showing Australians spent $155 million online via their mobile phones.
That figure is expected to grow sharply over the next few years as smart phone usage increases - almost 70 percent of those surveyed said they expect to use a mobile for purchases, transactions and payments in the near future.
Mullan believes retailers need to take action now to capture this burgeoning market.
"While figures show a smaller percentage of people actually buying on their phones at the moment, the majority of people research products on their phones before making their purchases on their main computer," he said.
"Even if customers don't currently buy from their phone - you need to have a mobile site that makes it easy for them to get to the information," Mullan said.
"This means establishing a mobile version of your website, which may have similar content but presents it in a simpler fashion.
"A good example is the importance of having an easy-to-use 'store locator' so customers can find the closest store while out and about," Mullan said.
He said the explosion of price comparison apps was also making it easier for people to use their phones to browse 'in-store' but buy online at greatly reduced prices.
"Another growing trend was the increasing number of people "couch shopping" where they can see a product on television and buy instantly online using their smartphones/or tablets," Mullan said.