Retailers Must Get Mobile-Ready or Face Being Left Behind

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By Published On: July 2, 20210 Comments

Smartphones have become instrumental to the way we live our everyday lives and the world around us has gradually adapted to accommodate us.

With 80.1 percent of Australians forecast to be using a smartphone by 2025, mobile shopping is not only gaining popularity but is an essential step forward. Increasingly retailers have their own dedicated app, with supermarket giants like Woolworths and Coles going the extra mile and enabling the option to ‘Scan & Go’. Even app-powered driving services such as Uber and DiDi have expanded their alternate payment capabilities to cater to the growing desire for convenience and evolving spending behaviours.

According to Worldpay from FIS’ 2021 Global Payments Report, the pandemic has accelerated Australia’s use of alternative payments, with the use of digital and mobile wallets forecast to nearly double from 8.1 percent in 2019 to 15.5 percent in 2024. As smartphones continue to dominate, a mobile-first approach is essential for merchants who want to come out on top in the competitive e-commerce landscape.

Attention moves to shopping apps

In Australia, desktop sales are set to grow at four percent per annum, while mobile is forecast to grow an incredible 14 percent in the same timeframe.  With convenience at the forefront of this shift, retailers have looked at new ways to create easy to navigate online options – resulting in a rise in shopping apps. 

A local gold standard for this model is the fashion company, Showpo. Not only does their app allow easy navigation through their products, but it also accepts a wide range of payment methods and offers customers the option to image search items they like and find similar designs in store. Seamlessly bringing together their online offerings, Showpo’s landing page features a QR code to take customers directly to Apple Store or Google Play to purchase the app.

Retailers that include an element of loyalty to the app-based experience by offering benefits such as early or exclusive access are increasingly used to attract and retain customers. With previous wish lists or purchases noted and discounts applied at checkout, apps are simplifying the traditional points and discount-based programs through their in-app payment features or mobile wallet options. 

Mobile begins to infiltrate the in-store experience

It has become apparent that mobile shopping is the way of the future and not just through e-commerce. Brick-and-mortar stores are also getting in on the action to bring convenient options to their consumers.  

Major Australian grocery chain, Woolworths, recently turned several of their Metro shops cashless by offering ‘Scan & Go’ technology in-store. The initiative allowed Woolworths Reward members to pick, self-scan and pay for products via a smartphone. Accelerated during the pandemic, Woolworths is now looking to expand this offering beyond the current 25 stores using the technology.  

Through unifying the physical store, ecommerce platform and mobile payments, retailers of all sizes will be able to provide consumers with the convenience they have grown to expect during the past year. With one of the highest mobile penetration rates in the world, it is essential that Australian retailers factor mobile payment solutions into their offering to avoid being left behind. 

Security measures should still be top of mind

With the new-found convenience of mobile payments comes a need to focus on security for both merchants and consumers. A study by Worldpay from FIS found that nearly 9 in 10 merchants in Australia lost revenue due to payment fraud last year, with half of those surveyed losing 6 percent or more of their revenue. Account takeover fraud (41 percent) and card-not-present fraud (41 percent) were ranked top in causing the most operational and revenue losses in the local market. With retailers increasing their online offerings significantly, the safety and security of their customers must become the top priority. 

Multi-factor authentication and biometrics are continuing to gain popularity through their ability to add an extra layer of security to the mobile checkout process. Partnering with a trusted payments provider can also assist merchants with security through the use of advanced fraud scoring tools that analyse the payment data and identify abnormal transactions. 

The bottom line is that Australian businesses need to look to mobile as a means of future-proofing their services. It is necessary for merchants to invest in their mobile proposition in order to take advantage of growth as mobile commerce expands both globally and in Australia.

Phil Pomford is the General Manager for Global E-Commerce, APAC, Worldpay from FIS

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