Brian McDonnell, the Director of Mid-Market and Small Business Segments at PayPal Australia, looks at the impact mobile commerce is having on consumer habits.
There is a key ingredient to successful mobile commerce that retailers often overlook: fun. Yes, mobile shopping has joined the ranks of leisurely Australian pastimes like watching sport, beach swims, and smashing avocados. While mobile shopping might have had modest beginnings as a convenient way to shop on-the-go, it has evolved into a form of entertainment so popular it even rivals watching television.
According to the PayPal mCommerce Index: Trends Report 2018, two thirds (67 percent) of Australian smartphone owners browse online retailers via their device for fun, despite having no intention to buy. Of these entertainment-seeking browsers, 77 percent make impulse purchases anyway. That’s huge. In fact, that’s an enormous market to be missing out on because your mCommerce experience isn’t up to scratch.
Australian shoppers’ expectations of mobile shopping experiences are on the rise. This growth in ‘retailtainment’ means that mobile shopping is no longer just a functional experience, but an emotional one. We’re shopping to relax and enjoy ourselves, meaning Australian retailers are part of Australians’ leisure habits. The retailtainment trend is particularly prevalent among younger Australians, with over two thirds (69 percent) of Gen Z respondents shopping on their mobile device for relaxation and half (50 percent)of millennials shopping on their mobile before going to sleep.
In retail, there are a number of hurdles that remain for consumers when it comes to shopping online: 88 percent of respondents were concerned they won’t be able to identify correct clothing sizes, and that’s before they’re even sure if the item suits them at all; and 82 percent were concerned that even if it was the right size, they wouldn’t know how the item looked on them or in their home.
New technology such as Augmented Reality (AR), when applied to online commerce presents an exciting solution to this problem, as it enables shoppers to virtually try items on, checking sizing and style, providing peace of mind and reducing barriers to purchase – 44 per cent of Australians say they’d be more likely to make online purchases if they could virtually sample items first.
AR allows shoppers to experience what was once a traditionally offline experience, try-before-you-buy, in an online environment, revolutionising mCommerce for Australian retailers and consumers alike. It sounds futuristic, but AR has the potential to make positive waves for Australian business. Only five percent of Australian retailers currently offer an AR experience, but I predict this will grow in line with global trends, particularly as mobile shopping becomes ubiquitous and consumers start demanding new and innovative mobile experiences to hold their attention.
Technology solutions like voice assistants are similarly positioned, with only four percent of Australian businesses having them integrated into their customer offering, despite 20 per cent of Australians having used Siri, Alexa and their ilk to make retail enquiries. Our data tells us that 54 percent of Australian mobile shoppers believe that as technology develops, voice-assisted shopping will be useful.
Now that mobile devices have overtaken the humble laptop and desktop as our go-to method for engaging with the online world, it is crucial for Australian business to provide a mCommerce experience that is easy, accessible, and most of all fun. Because those that don’t will find their customers leisure browsing elsewhere in no time.
For tips on starting your businesses mCommerce optimisation, check out the PayPal mCommerce Index: Trends Report 2018.