Merchant Centre

Mobile Commerce and what it means to your online business



E-retailers simply can’t afford to ignore the mobile world anymore. If you have a website and it's not fully functional (and that includes online payments) on a mobile device (smartphone, tablet or fablet) you have to question whether your website is truly effective as a business channel.

Whether your website is brand new shiny out of the box or has been around for a few years, you can’t afford to take your eye off the world in which New Zealand’s online consumers are living. We live in fast, connected, mobile-enabled world and if your website isn’t part of it, you’re going to lose out.

Life is getting faster and people’s shopping habits are following suit. People shop online between doing other things (when shopping used to actually be the ‘thing’ they were doing). Whether a spot of online shopping is squeezed in on the bus to work, on a tablet while watching Sky On Demand or on the sly in the office when the boss isn’t looking, one thing is for sure: businesses that can’t keep up with the pace are going to lose the race.

2 out of 3 Kiwis now have a smartphone


2.7 million New Zealanders now have access to a smartphone (and probably a tablet as well). Do you honestly think they aren’t using these devices to shop? Clearly they are and the fact that all the leading subscription-based ecommerce platforms (Magento, Prestashop et al) are making responsive websites the norm (more on this below), just goes to show that the big boys are taking this pretty seriously. 

But what about the smaller Kiwi e-retailers? How do they step up to the plate?

The options


Depending on your budget and appetite for change, there are two main options for online stores.

Mobile eCommerce

The simple explanation.

Mobile eCommerce sites are often smaller versions of their desktop counterparts with fewer products and slimmed down functionality (eg cross sell widgets don’t feature). ‘Smaller’ in this context means less - of everything: less functionality, fewer products, fewer options, fewer pages, no advertising etc. 

From an administrative point of view this could be a winner. You just need to create a mini version of your website (cheaper than a full rebuild) and there are less pages to curate. However, the flip side of the coin is that your customers might not get exposure to all of your products, offers and specials which isn’t necessarily all that great!

Mobile websites are certainly better than nothing. But what we are interested in is responsive websites. And for good reason.

Responsive eCommerce

Responsive eCommerce is the best option because you only have to build and manage one website (rather than two) and because it will function perfectly on all mobile devices. The shopping experience is also optimal and allows customers to flit between desktop, tablet and smartphones (which they will do during the shopping process). Who wants to find a product on a desktop, save it to their wish list only to return later on a mobile phone to discover the wish list option isn’t available?

Responsive eCommerce is faster, easier to administer, costs less to maintain and offers an far better shopping experience than mobile eCommerce. It really is a clear cut winner.
How will responsive eCommerce impact my online sales?

67% of online shoppers are much more likely to purchase from a shopping site that works well on a mobile device. I would be prepared to place bets that very few consumers would be happy to complete a transaction end to end on their mobile if they have to use the desktop version of the site. 

A working example of this is with Trademe. This is a monster of a website, crammed full of products, prices, promotions you name it. Yet, it works like a dream on a smartphone. Consider the lost sales if they didn’t invest in making a mobile version of their site? 

So, go responsive or go out of business


Whether your website is a bedroom business or an international superstore (or both!) don’t put off mobile eCommerce. More and more New Zealanders are shopping online on smartphones and tablets and if they find your site, what will they see?


The POLi team