M-commerce is not a fad but a consumer behaviour that is here to stay, according to a new report from online payment service provider Paypal.
The research shows that Australians are shopping on their mobiles more than ever before with close to three quarters (72%) of respondents engaging in mobile shopping. However, there remains a significant gap between the high m-commerce adoption by consumers and retailers’ readiness to accept optimise their mobile experience, with only 51% of businesses currently optimised to accept mobile payments.
The figures come just ahead of Amazon’s imminent arrival in Australia which is tipped to be as early as November, which does not look good for our retail sector. As the Australian online retail market continues to become increasingly competitive, it is now more important than ever for businesses to invest in a solid mobile strategy.
Paypal’s survey, which looked at the shopping preferences of more than 1,000 Australian consumers, found that 48% of Australians buy via mobile at least once a week, which is a sizeable jump from 36% in 2016, and a quarter of those surveyed now prefer smartphones over any other device for making online purchases – a jump of almost 40% YoY (18% in 2016).
Julie Mathers, founder and CEO of eco-friendly online retail store Flora & Fauna says that for retailers, a mobile-first approach has never been more important than now. “Customers are now not just researching on mobile, but shopping. There used to be quite a big gap between conversion on desktop and mobile and that’s reduced significantly; we find customers in the evening are shopping more on mobile than desktop which is different to the trend a few years ago. It has to be easy, engaging and clear for customers.”
“M-commerce is clearly not a fad, but a consumer behaviour change that’s here to stay. Australian businesses have work to do to bridge the gap between consumer expectations of m-commerce and their ability to offer a streamlined mobile shopping experience,” adds Libby Roy, vice president and managing director of PayPal Australia.
Gen Z: The Next Generation of Shoppers
And the figures amongst the younger demographic are a lot higher with 82% of Gen Z shoppers (18-22 years old) using their smartphones for shopping.
This generation has higher expectations than millennials, with their digital dependence making them more attuned to a frictionless mobile experience. Gen Z are the most likely to make a spontaneous purchase or payment on their mobile device (58%), compared to 51% of millennials and 36% of Gen X.
However, experience is everything with this generation. The report found that the majority of Gen Z mobile shoppers (55%) have abandoned a purchase or payment on a mobile device if it was too long or difficult.
“The emergence of Gen Z onto the shopping scene presents Australian retailers with an opportunity to engage with a generation whose buying power will only increase. It has never been more important for Australian businesses to invest in the future of their business with a mobile-first or even mobile-only approach,” adds Roy.
While Mathers agrees on a mobile-first strategy, she says a retailer can’t be “mobile exclusive”. “We have to give the best experience to a customer wherever they are so whether that is on desktop, tablet, mobile, in person, on the phone, on Facebook or anywhere else. So we optimise the content and experience based on what they are doing, when they are doing it and where they are doing it. A lot of people are saying we need to design mobile first and I agree but it can’t be mobile exclusive. There are many people still using other methods, including desktop, so we look at what we do customer first.”
Key Features of a Great Mobile Experience
“It’s an oldie but the pinch policy – If a customer has to enlarge your content whether that be on mobile or email it’s not a great experience,” says Mathers. “You also need to make it really easy to search and find products; your search is key on mobile and it has to be very, very easy to check out with all the options available. Don’t forget content; there was a time when we de-prioritised content on mobile so it was more transactional but customers engage with content so make it mobile and customer friendly.”