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Online retail optimism driving move to mCommerce: eBay

After a year of phenomenal growth, Australia’s top online retailers are now beginning to embrace mobile commerce, according to the latest Online Business Index (OBI).

The results of the 2012 OBI revealed enormous success for Australia’s top online retailers last year, with eBay’s top 2000 local sellers increasing their revenue by 45 percent over the previous year. The eBay ‘Millionaires Club’ also grew by 31 percent, with 157 businesses surpassing the $1 million mark in eBay sales.

These revenue jumps have boosted confidence amongst eBay sellers, with more than half reporting they feel optimistic about the year ahead and are anticipating growth in sales.

But if 2011 was the tipping point for online commerce, 2012 is expected to be the tipping point for mobile commerce, or mCommerce.

Last year, eBay saw $5 billion transactions processed through mobile devices globally, a figure expected to rise to $8 billion this year.

The OBI also identified Australia as one of the fastest growing international mobile markets, with an item being purchased every 15 seconds in Australia through eBay’s mobile app.

“There is great opportunity for Australian businesses to invest in innovative mobile solutions to reach the new mobile customer,” eBay vice president Deborah Sharkey said.

This potential has been recognised by some of the country’s top online retailers, with most OBI participants planning to use mobile technology to boost their business prospects. Some 72 percent of online retailers said mCommerce will play an important role in their 2012 business strategy and nearly half of these respondents said they’ll optimise online content for mobile. A further 24 percent said they would develop a mobile website and 21 percent said they would develop a mobile app.

Despite the fact many Australian eTailers have recognised the mobile market’s enormous growth potential, the OBI revealed many are handicapped by their lack of knowledge and infrastructure when it comes to reaching mobile consumers.

Of the retailers who planned to invest in mobile technology in 2012, 61 percent had never made the foray into mCommerce, 17 per cent said they didn’t know how to invest in mobile commerce and a staggering 40 percent said they lacked the knowledge to make effective and informed mobile investments.

The survey also found that unreliable coverage and slow internet speeds are creating barriers for retailers to expand into mobile commerce.

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Carly McKenna

Carly McKenna

Carly McKenna is currently working as a journalism intern for Dynamic Business. She is also a third-year Media student at Macquarie, a music enthusiast, and a lover of all things literary.

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