Online retailers are embracing mobile functionality as consumers demand more flexible options, new research shows, with more than 50% now selling through mobiles.
According to joint research conducted by Online Retailer and Forrester Research, just 16% of online retail professionals said their business was selling through a mobile touchpoint in 2010.
Sign up for SmartCompany newsletter.
Free to your inbox every weekday
Two years on, that figure has soared to 55%, which, according to Online Retailer’s Andrew Jones, marks a promising trend for retailers and consumers.
“The majority of Australian online retailers should be commended for already being ahead of the curve in meeting the needs of customers,” Jones said in a statement.
“This push to optimise the shopping experience across mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets is no exception.”
“However, with the fast-moving pace of this industry, retailers must continue to adopt the latest technology like mobile web optimisation to remain on the front foot.”
Jones said ecommerce continues to achieve exponential growth, referring to recent data released by Forrester Research.
According to Forrester, online retail in Australia is set to reach $33 billion in 2015, which is almost double the $16.9 billion recorded back in 2009.
“We would certainly expect this trend to continue with strength and vigour. Successful online retailers are embracing mobile platforms as a critical shopping channel,” Jones said.
But StartupSmart mentor and online entrepreneur Fred Schebesta has issued a warning to online retailers with regard to mobile digital advertising, which is also seeing phenomenal growth.
A recent survey by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, with its IAB Europe affiliate and research firm IHS, found $5.46 billion was spent on mobile digital advertising in 2011.
Alain Heureux, president and chief executive of IAB Europe, described mobile as “hyper-personal and always on”, insisting it has “tremendous potential” as an advertising medium.
But Schebesta, who heads up CreditCardFinder.com.au and Finder.com.au, says it’s not worth it unless you have exhausted all of your other online advertising channels.
“Avoid it. Use search marketing, get some customers, then come back and experiment,” he says.
Schebesta says online retailers should “make your ads seem like part of the website you are advertising on”.
“Users have advertising blindness but are trying to do something on the site. We make all our Finder.com.au ads for our comparison services seem like they are part of the website,” he says.
Anyone interested or involved in online and multichannel retailing is invited to attend the Online Retailer Conference and E-Commerce Expo, to be held in Sydney from July 16-19.