Mobile shopping evolves from convenience to ‘retailtainment’

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A new report from PayPal Australia reveals that although mobile commerce may have begun as a convenient way to shop on the go, it has quickly developed into an ‘retailtainment’ experience for many Australians.

According to the ‘PayPal mCommerce Index: Trends Report 2018’, 67 per cent of Australian smartphone owners browse shopping sites just for fun on their mobiles without any plans of making a purchase and 77 per cent of them make impulse buys when they do.

Mobile commerce is also being used as a way to unwind, with 44 per cent of consumer respondents stating they shop online for relaxation and leisure. Younger Australians lead this trend with 50 per cent of under-35s stating they shop on their mobile in bed before going to sleep.

“The data shows that simply having an online offering is no longer enough for retailers. Australians are demanding mobile-first experiences and are gravitating towards mobile shopping experiences that are fun and engaging,” PayPal Australia Director of Customer Engagement Elaine Herlihy said.

“Reading and writing reviews, product research and sharing images of virtual try-ons is an enjoyable pastime for many Australians, particularly with younger shoppers.

“With 67 per cent of Australians digital window shopping for fun on their mobiles, and 77 per cent of those making impulse purchases when they do, Australian retailers can no longer view their mobile offering as a transactional storefront, but as a platform to deliver enjoyment, entertainment and social sharing.”

The report also found that 51 per cent of consumer respondents want more retailers to integrate augmented reality (AR) into their online offering. By allowing this virtual ‘try before you buy’ experience, PayPal says AR answers a key consumer concern as online shoppers still struggle with the uncertainty of what online products will look like in their homes. Additionally, 88 per cent of respondents said they were concerned about which size will fit them and size variation between their brands.

Another finding was the use of voice assistants in the retail landscape. Twenty per cent of Australians have made retail inquiries via a voice assistant such as Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant. Fifty-four per cent of consumer respondents believe that as the technology develops, voice-assisted shopping will be useful and a further 14 per cent believe it will be a game changer.