Retailers need to lift their mobile and digital game, finds new report

New research into the Australian ecommerce market finds 20 per cent of consumers are visiting ecommerce sites from mobile devices yet many retailers spend less than 5 per cent on mobile advertising

Mobile is driving one in five retail digital interactions and yet many Australian retailers spend less than 5 per cent of their advertising budgets targeting these consumers, a new report claims.

The 2014 Snapshot of Australian E-Commerce study, which was produced by ecommerce solutions provider, ChannelAdvisor, in partnership with the Australian Retailers Association, found at least 20 per cent of traffic to retail sites is coming from mobile devices. Yet half of the 400 retailers surveyed spend less than 5 per cent of their advertising budget on targeting these devices.

Related: Marketers using measurement complexities to avoid mobile are 'lazy'

The research also found almost two-thirds of Australian retailers offered free shipping in the past 12 months and nominated this as their most successful online customer service offering. Other key customer service offers included no-hassle returns and two-day or faster shipping.

ChannelAdvisor and the ARA reported 77 per cent of local retailers see social media as a way to increase brand awareness, with 93 per cent nominating Facebook as their top social media platform in terms of conversions.

Nearly half those surveyed said social media channels were key to attracting a new generation of customers yet again, only 36 per cent currently view social media as a way to drive conversions.

The survey was undertaken via email and online in July.

‘Savvier’ retailers earning $1 million or more online were highlighted in the report. Seventy per cent of these organisations invest in digital marketing, including online advertising as well as social media. Google Shopping, driven by product listing ads, was nominated the best-performing digital marketing channel, followed by paid search.

Other marketing tools include comparison shopping engines, retargeting, social media promotions and display advertising.

ChannelAdvisor also looked into the international and third-party behaviours of local retailers, finding 50 per cent of those bringing in more than $1 million online are selling on at least one third-party marketplace such as eBay. Overall, one-third of respondents are currently selling on international sites, and several saw future opportunities in global marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon and Rakuten.com.

Across the board, Australians are spending about $15.6 billion each year online, according to NAB’s Online retail Sales Index in July, and this figures is only going to increase.

“Retailers have many day-today demands such as juggling customer needs, shipping challenges and fast-moving, fickle consumer trends,” ARA executive director, Russell Zimmerman, said. “Despite these demands, it’s imperative that retailers spend time planning.

“The survey shows a need for greater planning and measurement, as retailers often answered ‘I don’t know’ when asked questions about where their sales or Web store traffic originated, or how much they were spending on advertising.

“Ecommerce is, and will continue to be, a core part of retail and retailers must continually learn how to operate efficiently and effectively in this new world.”

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