eBay Online Business Index, Sellers Lack Mobile Commerce Knowledge: Internet

eBay sellers lack mobile commerce know-how: Report

By Michelle Hammond
Thursday, 29 March 2012

Nearly two thirds of eBay’s largest sellers are optimistic about the year ahead, but are held back by a lack of knowledge and infrastructure in mobile commerce.


eBay’s third annual Online Business Index was sent to eBay’s top 3000 sellers by sales volume. This year, 387 sellers – with annual sales ranging from just under $67,000 to $4.7 million – responded.


The survey reveals 63% of eBay’s largest sellers are optimistic about the year ahead – and for good reason.


The 2012 OBI found the top 2000 sellers grew revenue by 45%, while the top 3000 sellers increased staff by 20% from the previous year.


Encouragingly, almost 160 businesses topped $1 million in 2011 eBay sales, up 31% from the previous year.


The research also highlights the explosive growth in mobile commerce, but suggests businesses are held back by a lack of knowledge and infrastructure to effectively reach mobile consumers.


According to the survey, 72% of the top 3000 sellers believe mobile commerce will play an important role in their business strategy in 2012.


More than 60% of respondents said 2012 will be the first year their business invests in mobile.


But slow internet speeds, unreliable coverage and the high cost of mobile internet access were all identified as major barriers to growing respondents’ mobile commerce business.


Meanwhile, 17% of respondents said they don’t know how they would invest in mobile commerce, while 40% said they lack the knowledge to make informed mobile investments.


Not all respondents are in the dark, though. Nearly half said they would optimise online content for mobile, 24% said they would develop a mobile website, and 21% plan to develop a mobile app.


Catherine Taouk, international brand manager for Supré, says the fashion retailer established a mobile-friendly shopping site after seeing a spike in transactions from mobile devices.


“Consumers now expect to be able to access their brands no matter where they are, whether it is in-store, online or via their mobiles,” Taouk says.


“In the past 18 months, 15% of our online transactions have come from mobiles or tablets, and we expect this trend to continue.”


Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the Australian Retailers Association, says retailers need to look beyond eCommerce and mobile commerce, and offer a multichannel experience.


“Having a presence in the eCommerce and mobile market is a growth opportunity,” Zimmerman says.


“[But] it’s also a necessity to ensure the shopping experience is seamless and integrated across the many channels Australians are now conducting their business.”

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