Mobile shopping is increasingly used on eBay, but it would appear that adoption of new technologies is nowhere near as fast for off line retailers.
Interactive TV, augmented reality, image recognition and in-store technologies are all starting to be used, but according to research by Conlumino, 38% of retailers have no plans to introduce these new technologies over the next two years.
That’s not surprising, whilst there’s little excuse for not having a mobile optimised ecommerce site, it’s questionable if a retailer should even bother with a mobile app. There are only so many apps a consumer will be willing to download to their smartphone, and even if downloaded how often will they be used? How many apps do you use regularly on your own mobile phone?
However we’re led to believe that consumers are using their mobile phones more than ever, and when speaking to Mark Carges (eBay’s Chief Technology Officer) in New York he confirmed this. eBay are seeing consumers using their smartphones in the morning on the way into the office, and again on the commute home. However in the evening it’s iPad and tablet use that shoots up with the busiest time of day for tablets being between 5pm and 11pm at night.
Retailers have a dilemma, do they invest heavily in these new technologies, for which the unfront investment won’t be cheap no matter what your budget, or do they partner with marketplaces in order to take advantage of the technology that they provide?
There’s an interesting stat that came out of Google’s debacle, when their third quarter results were accidentally released early wiping 9% (Around $20billion) off their share price before trading was temporarily suspended. Google’s profits are down 20% from the same period last year. It’s worth noting Google’s income is largely from paid search, AdWords. Whilst the 20% downturn in profits can’t all be attributable to mobile, it’s interesting that a rough estimate of consumers shopping on mobiles is also 20%.
Google’s average income per click fell 15% in the quarter and it does suggest they’re failing to monitise mobile traffic as efficiently as they have done on PCs and Laptops. Doubtless this is why they’re rushing out Product Listing Ads in the US (which are expected to launch in 2013 in the UK), to replace lost AdWords revenue with income from Google shopping.
There are a lot of stats regarding new technologies especially around mobile, but they all point the same direction which is that mobile is growing and growing fast. For eBay traders there’s little to worry about, eBay are leading the pack with mobile apps, interactive TV (currently only in the US, but watch for it in the UK), Image recognition (already on eBay Motors) and augmented reality.
For off eBay retailers it’s time to start looking at new technology and deciding how best to deploy it for your business. What are you doing to attract the new mobile and tablet users? Have you got a moblie optimised website or mobile app. What other technology is affordable and what is simply too expensive?
More interestingly which mobile apps do you use from which retailers? As a consumer what delights you and what’s simply technology for technology’s sake?