Australian businesses miss mark with mobile commerce strategies

The stark truth is that many Australian businesses are not up to speed with the behaviour of smartphone-loving consumers when it comes to mobile payments and social media commerce – and it could be costing them dearly.

One of the key findings in the inaugural mCommerce Index, a new biannual report on the state of mobile commerce in Australia, is that 71% of Australian consumers use mobile devices for payments.

Despite customers showing a clear preference for mobile payments, businesses have been slow to embrace technology that could help them tap into this ever-growing market. Businesses can do more to take advantage of mobile payments technology as they seek to satisfy customers and drive growth, according to a report from electronic payment company PayPal.

“There are significant gaps between consumer behaviour and business readiness, with only 49% of online businesses optimised to accept mobile payments,” PayPal Australia’s managing director Libby Roy commented in the report: “This presents a clear opportunity for Australian businesses.”

Other alarming figures include the fact that 31% of businesses have no plans to optimise for mobile sales, while 26% of online businesses get no sales at all via mobile devices.

Opportunities abound

The task for businesses is to work out how to cleverly engage with the huge number of consumers using their mobile devices for an increasing range of purposes. From a restaurant or café offering orders through an app to making payments with the swipe of a finger, or simply increasing their presence on social media, plenty of opportunities exist.

The picture for business’ engagement with social media platforms is also enlightening. The PayPal report, released in September 2016, reveals that 89% of businesses have no intention of accepting payments via social media platforms “within the next 6 months”.

“Social media is shown to be a strong channel for driving purchase behaviour, with 18% of respondents buying something after seeing it on social media, a figure that jumps to 24% for the 18-34 age group,” Roy commented. The implication is clear: although online businesses may think they do not need to optimise for mobile now, they will have to if they want to stay relevant with younger customers.

Big spenders

Statistics in the report highlight the significance of mobile payment technology. The average mobile commerce outlay of Australians is $330 per month; 22% of respondents are spending more than $500 a month; and one in 10 is spending more than $1000 a month.

According to PayPal, bill payments is the category that dominates mobile transactions, with 74% of respondents making phone, utility, insurance and other bill payments on a mobile device during the past six months. Tickets (53%), clothing and accessories (43%) and travel (38%) are other top-performing categories.

The report indicates that Australians shop on their mobile devices because they love the convenience, it saves time and it is easy. That means they are not going to abandon it any time soon – and businesses need to get on board or miss the boat.

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