“If your plans don’t include mobile, your plans are not finished” — Wendy Clark, former SVP at Coca-Cola
Australia looks very different than it did at the start of the year, but mobile technology has been a reliable constant in a time of so much uncertainty. We've discovered Zoom. We WhatsApp our loved ones. We check for breaking news — all the time. Seventy percent of us use our smartphones more as a result of the coronavirus. We spend more time on apps than computers. Mobile is now the No. 1 digital ad category for growth.
Mobile e-commerce is just as strong. As stores close their doors, roll down the blinds, and turn off the lights, more of us shop on our smartphones. (This is a relatively new concept for us Australians, as you'll see later.) As the economy stutters, small businesses should invest in mobile e-commerce and capitalize on this phenomenon. Here in Aus, the future is mobile.
In 2019, 33 percent of all online sales in Australia were made on smartphones, but this lagged behind other developed nations. Perhaps it was the cost of shipping. Or limited e-commerce options. Regardless, fewer of us shopped online than in the United States or Western Europe.
Coronavirus changed all of this.
Throughout March, the number of Australians who visited Amazon, eBay, and other
online retailers on their mobiles grew significantly, and experts predict this
number will further tick upward.
"While the Australian government has
advised residents to stay at home and restricted movement, more Australians are
becoming accustomed to online shopping," says retail
expert Kiri Masters, writing for Forbes magazine. "The challenge now is
whether merchants are equipped to handle the demand."
So what does this all mean for you? Expect a trickle of new mobile customers over the coming weeks and months, especially with new lockdown restrictions in Victoria (most retail stores have closed). Make sure your mobile website infrastructure can handle any surge in demand and provide customers with the same service they'd expect in your physical store. The (albeit temporary) transition from brick-and-mortar to mobile will pose challenges, but you can make the best out of this situation.
2. We're Spending More Time on Our Phones Than Ever Before
This isn't a distinctly Australian phenomenon, but a global shift that's having a knock-on effect on commerce. Since governments implemented stay-at-home orders (and other restrictions), mobile usage has skyrocketed, with some people spending twice as much time on their smartphones since entering self-isolation.
The reasons for this are
self-explanatory. Many of us have more time on our hands (and fewer
distractions) at home, and this means more time scrolling Twitter or reading
"The spike in phone use appears to
stem from social distancing measures put in place by countries around the world
aiming to contain the outbreak," says
Britain's The Independent. "Unable to leave their homes to socialize
with friends and family, people are increasingly turning to their smartphones
for entertainment and to stay connected."
Savvy small business owners see this
surge of connectivity as a serious money-making opportunity. With more
Australians online, more people are looking for products and more people have
money to spend. Advertising on Google, Facebook, YouTube, or elsewhere could
boost mobile sales significantly. And that's more than welcome in the current
We know what you're thinking: Mobile
advertising costs money, and money's tight right now. We get it. But there are
lots of government loans, grants, and other incentives that could build your
business, and we've covered them all on our blog here.
While we're on the subject, we help
people like you manage finances at this unprecedented time. Here at Trekk
Advisory, we provide a suite of services for small companies who want to
control cash flow, optimize accounting workflows, make smarter financial
decisions, and grow their business. Learn more here.
3. Post-COVID, People are Spending 20% More Time in Apps
Another interesting development in mobile e-commerce has been the increase in app usage. Since the pandemic began, we've spent 20 percent more time in apps — shopping apps, news apps, games apps, you name it.
"Daily time spent in apps on Android devices increased 20 percent year-over-year in Q1 2020, while consumer spending in both iOS and Android apps was also up 15 percent and 5 percent respectively, setting a new record for in-app spending for a single quarter at $23.4 billion worldwide," says Social Media Today.
It's no surprise that social media apps have seen the most visitors during the pandemic, with Facebook and the like generating more traffic than the M1 Motorway. This presents small business owners with more opportunities for engagement, and this can trickle down into sales.
Mobile apps provide business owners with lots of advantages. Unlike many websites, apps are fully optimized and scaled for smartphones and tablets, with smaller fonts and fewer page elements. This improves the shopping experience for consumers considerably. Customers are less likely to hit the 'back' button on their mobile browsers and more inclined to purchase products.
Of course, app development costs money, so get your finances in order first. However, you could generate a lucrative return on your investment by encouraging shoppers to download and use your brand-spanking' new app.
Running a business is tough, especially amid a pandemic. But there's still money to be made. Mobile e-commerce is the future, with more Australians shopping on their smartphones. Capitalize on this trend now.
Need business solutions at this difficult time? Trekk Advisory provides consulting and accounting services for small business owners who want to grow their business. From cash flow to tax, and everything in-between, we've got your back. Come join us!