Monday, January 31, 2011

Mobile Shopping Exploding

We all like the idea that mobile phones are beginning to develop greater capabilities. This is being seen dramatically in the use of apps and the availability of information at our fingertips, wherever we are.

A dramatic development being witnessed in the US is how smartphones are now becoming a shopping companion – both to make actual purchases and also to help us research product information, locate stores and do comparison shopping.

A report released earlier this month by Foresee Results highlights new research which shows consumers are using their mobile phones more than ever for retail purposes. The study of nearly 10,000 visitors to the biggest e-tail sites in the US (as determined by revenue) showed that:

  • 33% of respondents have used their phone to access a retailer website and an additional 26% indicated they plan to access retailer websites or mobile apps by phone in the future.
  • 11% of shoppers reported having made a purchase from their phone – compared with only 2% at the same time the previous year.
  • 56% of shoppers used their phone to compare price information, 46% to compare different products, 35% to look at product specifications and 27% to view product reviews.
  • While in a physical store, more than two-thirds (69%) of mobile shoppers used their phones to visit the store's own website, while nearly half (46%) also used their phones to access a competitor's website.
While this highlights a significant shift to mobile for shoppers, overall they still rate the satisfaction with retailer's website higher than that of their mobile sites. This is likely to be more an indication of the maturity of the internet retail sites over the mobile or app experiences.

One final statistic worth noting was that "shoppers who are highly satisfied with a mobile experience say they are 30% more likely to buy from that retailer online and 30% more likely to buy offline, as well as being far more likely to return to the main website, recommend it, and be loyal to the brand."

For more detail on the report, visit Foresee Results.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Click of Approval

S 23 Jan 2011
It's always enjoyable to read an article which starts to reflect the true perspective of a situation. With all the discussion about online shopping lately, there's been an overdrive about online taking away bricks-and-mortar business.

While this is undoubtedly true to a degree, it does not mean the end of in-store shopping, simply the expansion of the ways we have to shop. Online and physical stores will continue to live side-by-side, although the full dynamics of their relationship is still being established.

This article by Kate Waterhouse nicely puts the good and the uncomfortable of online shopping versus in-store. Essentially the case for online is the convenience and 24/7 availability, while the case against is the lack of individual service compared with what you get in-store and the problems if something goes wrong with your order.

In the end, each channel will find the balance of value in individual's lives.

Read the full article...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Shop With A Conscience at the Salvos

It's official – all the major retailers in Australia definitely have a strategy to go online this year, if they haven't already. And how do I know this?

Well, this week the Salvation Army launched their first online store. And you know when charity op-shops see the benefit in shopping online, then it goes without saying, so is every other retailer.

Ok, it's a bit of tongue in cheek, but with the strong Aussie dollar and the recent news about the GST being exempt on overseas orders less than $1,000, Australian consumers are clearly going online for a bargain and it's great to see the Salvation Army engaging with online shoppers.

The site is a result of the Salvos community members suggestions, saying that "an online store would save them the hassle crawling through clothing rails."

You can buy a range of high-quality, boutique and rare items, such as vintage dresses and crockery with prices ranging from $2 to $1,250. You can visit the store at and purchases made before April 19 will receive free delivery.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Australia's Online Retail Market Heating Up in 2011

The recent debate in Australia about the imposition of the GST on overseas online sales for orders less than $1,000 dominated the news over the Christmas/New Year period. It is a sign that online retail is starting to have an impact on traditional retailers and it's hurting.

To gain a broader idea of this it's worth taking a quick look at the way in which the Australian online retail market has been emerging from its period of "don't go there" that the last decade represented and how retailers are now scrambling to get their businesses online.

During 2010 we saw a significant shift in the thinking and investment towards ecommerce by some of the bigger players in the market. Well known retailers like Clive Peeters, Strathfield and BigW launched their online stores and we saw the re-entry to online sales by the large department store chain David Jones. This was notable because of the huge failure of their original venture back in April 2000 at the same time as the dotcom bubble burst.

The biggest entry into the market in 2010 was that of Westfield, who is now beginning to carve its niche in cyberspace. Much as it has become the dominant player globally for its quite extraordinary shopping centres, it also has shown that it can equally produce brilliant online experiences. Launching in November 2010, the site provides more than 150,000 products representing over 3,000 brands across 50 retailers. An impressive line-up.

One of the benefits to customers of the Westfield site is the services it offers customers: the approach to managing orders (a single invoice for a variety of products across many suppliers), free delivery from many of the stores (although usually with a minimum order value) and straightforward returns management (although this is managed at the store level).

It is this level of service, not the issue of GST, which will ultimately benefit Australian consumers and bring them back to supporting Aussie stores. Westfield becomes a champion of the Australian shopper, something Gerald Harvey and Myer may want to look at.

We can expect this retail revolution to continue to gain momentum in 2011. Gerald Harvey has indicated that he is finally taking Harvey Norman online in February. Meanwhile, we will also see the entry of new players, such as Taste. This is the retail ecommerce project that I have been project managing with a specialist team of programmers, content editors, interior designers and retail experts. Taste promises a new experience in homewares and home transformation and is building one of the most comprehensive clicks-and-mortar approach to retailing Australia has seen.

With all this competition, Australia is finally beginning to enter the world of sophisticated online retail that markets such as the US and Europe have been enjoying for many years. These are exciting times.

My Blackberry Isn't Working.

A very funny look at the fruit that the technology world has become. Ronnie Corbett and Harry Enfield star in this sketch from The One Ronnie Show.

Another Facebook Privacy Concern

TechNewsWorld reports another 'P' bomb by Facebook with the latest privacy change allowing it to "make a user's address and mobile phone number accessible as part of the User Graph object. That means that users' addresses and mobile numbers are now available to third party developers of such apps as, say, FarmVille."

While Facebook acknowledges the sensitive nature of the data in their blog post on the announcement, to counter concerns it has created a special opt-in permission requirement for the phone number and address to be made accessible to the developer.

Read the full article on TechNewsWorld.

adiVerse – Retail Future or too much hype

Adidas, in collaboration with Intel, has just released a new entry into the retail shopping experience with the adiVerse Footware wall.

Designed to help shoppers choose from the full range of Adidas shoes that can't be all stocked in store, the wall provides an impressive range of shoes with information on what surfaces the shoe can be used on, what other people are saying about the shoe on social networks and detailed specifications.

While the wall looks impressive and will no doubt be a hit with shoppers from a wanting to "play" with it point of view, it will be interesting to see how effective it is in creating sales. Obviously there will be a limit to how it can be used and by how many, and then there are those who want to try the shoe on first. But with the right fulfilment and being able to determine the right size in the store, this is likely to be a fun way to buy shoes, without the need for the store to stock them.

I'm sure there will be many more virtual shopping experiences developed for bricks-and-mortar stores. Given this is a collaboration with Intel, it's the start new dimensions on the store floor.