It used to be a sideline act, but now the mobile selling revolution is hotting up to be the main event.
But the mobile revolution should be seen as an “opportunity” rather than a threat to business, according to the Retailers Association here.
“Growth in mobile commerce is phenomenal while stores have flat growth,” says Jennifer Cromarty, from the Association.
“Mobile commerce is abruptly altering the retail landscape and is set to rocket in 2011” the association has warned, with $155m in payments being made through Smartphones and web enabled mobile devices last year.
Online players are already stepping up to the mark. Auction giant eBay just his week has revamped its iPhone application, which now includes selling functionality alongside RedLaser barcode scanning techology.
This looks set to revolutionise m-shopping , enabling consumers to compare in-store prices with internet / eBay prices by scanning items with mobile phone cameras.
5-10% of Australian iPhone owners are logging into their eBay app every day, the online giant says. One of the founding fathers of intenet selling, eBay also confirmed 25% of Australians already use their mobile phone to shop. The Apple app is also soon to hit the Android market.
eBay also recently purchashed e-commerce expert GSI for a cool $2.4bn.
The purchase is seen to be a move by John Donohoe’s online giant to lure larger retailers into its business web and a defense against the ever increasing prowess of rival e-tailer Amazon, which has morphed into the biggest online seller globally and is one of the most visited retail websites in Australia.
Amazon already has a free app allowing consumers search and compare prices from local retailers for over a million products sold on Amazon.com for iPhone, Blackberry, and Android devices.
And it looks like many leading retailers locally are heeding the call. Harvey Norman has just confirmed it is fine tuning its site into a fully fledged trading platform, something the retailing giant shied away from, until now. It is also a safe bet to assume these sites will be fully functional for mobile consumers.
“By this time next year you’ll see Harvey Norman with a pretty sizeable internet presence. My heart’s beating very strongly on whether we make any money out of it,” Mr Harvey said.
This will catapult Harvey’s up with the likes of Dick Smith and JB Hi Fi who already have significant presence in this space.
And PayPal have also quickly stepped in to meet demand revealing mobile payment volumes grew by 25 per cent in the last quarter.
“With the arrival of m-commerce we expect to see more change in the retail industry in the next three years than we have seen in the last decade,” said Frerk-Malte Feller, MD PayPal Australia.
“It is time for Australian retailers to form strategies addressing multiple channels. Retailers must have a presence wherever their customers are – be they in store, online or on their mobile phones,” Cromarty who is Deputy Exec Director of Retailers body warned.
“Consumers want to work with Australian retailers but if they aren’t offering the range, the consumers will start to look somewhere else.”