According to a recent study by Frost and Sullivan, a global market research company, m-commerce in Australia has considerable room for improvement.
The survey was jointly commissioned by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and NetSuite Inc, a California-based cloud software service company, to study the mobile commerce operations of 120 SME members of the ARA.
Conducted in June of this year, the published report found less than one-third of retailers have a website that is currently accessible through smartphones and just 21 per cent have a developed mobile phone app for customers to shop on.
This is disappointing news, considering that 65 per cent of Australians own a smartphone. The fact that mobile retail offerings in the country are so poor is further reinforced through the results of the survey, which highlighted a significant 14 per cent increase in the number of people who use smartphones in the retail process.
This figure originally stood at 38 per cent in 2011 and after the June 2014 results has now reached 52 per cent. With more than half of smartphone owners using their devices when shopping, the need for suitable mobile platforms to be provided byretailers in Australia is obvious.
Despite the report revealing that retailers recognise the need for improved mobile retailing, many business leaders are unable to implement changes due to “cost and complexity” in integrating the new mobile systems into existing business operations.
However, companies will need to incorporate this aspect of commerce into the retail sector to keep up with global developments and retain a secure national customer base too.
According to Mark Dougan, managing director for Australia and New Zealand at Frost & Sullivan, “the rapid growth in ownership and usage of smartphones is revolutionising the way that Australian consumers shop”.
This reinforces the need for effective m-commerce platforms to retail strategy, for improving operations as well as profits. Retailers should focus specifically on providing free Wi-Fi access and stock information to be available on mobile devices, as these are the two factors that consumers rank most highly to aid the shopping process, with 68 and 58 per cent of respondents selecting these categories respectively.