The era of mobile internet and computing is booming, and every day we are becoming more and more reliant on the internet and mobile technology. As a result, e-commerce in Australia continues to thrive and evolve, offering consumers a plethora of choices, conveniences, and seamless experiences that threaten aging retail alternatives in many industries. With a large proportion of the population turning to their mobile devices for shopping, businesses must adapt to stay competitive and ensure that their brands are top-of-mind for consumers, and accessible enough to continue growing.
Convenience at Your Fingertips
As time goes on and technology improves more and more every year, the convenience of mobile shopping has become irreplaceable for many people in their daily lives. In Australia, 90% of shoppers now purchase products and services through their mobile devices, highlighting the importance of a smooth and efficient mobile experience. Retailers must invest in responsive website designs, user-friendly apps, and quick load times to retain and attract customers.
Businesses that ignore the upward trajectory of mobile shopping risk losing a significant market share. As such, incorporating a mobile-first approach into any business’s e-commerce strategy can no longer be an afterthought. By optimizing the mobile shopping experience, retailers can better cater to the growing number of consumers who rely on their smartphones for everyday purchases.
Keeping It Real
Mobility is not the only trend we can easily address in Australian ecommerce. Australians have a strong sense of national pride in their local brands, and have a tendency to prefer homegrown businesses and products as a way of ensuring local economic growth and reducing the carbon emissions associated with their shopping habits. By shopping locally, Australians not only help ensure their own economic future, but pave the way for more sustainable trends that help ensure a brighter, cleaner future. Locally made and distributed products often offer a higher quality than those manufactured abroad, given the higher stakes of selling into a smaller, more selective market as compared to those in the US or China, where consumer trends are more driven by mass marketing and finding the lowest price. Australians are often willing to pay a little bit more for a local product with the hope that it will last just a bit longer and be more suitable to their personal needs.
This goes hand in hand with the tendency in Australia to prefer authentic brand storytelling as opposed to the flashiest, most popular brands. There is always an element of alienation in ecommerce that retailers must overcome, given the lack of personal connection: when you buy online, you aren’t handing someone cash and looking them in the eye. This makes it more important than ever to incorporate this storytelling aspect and any attempt to build a connection with the customer into branding and web design, using visuals and content that convey the brand values, vision, and mission. By humanising their brand and fostering an emotional connection with consumers, businesses can differentiate themselves from competitors and create lasting customer loyalty.
Online selling isn’t just about branding, though. In order to make those more human digital experiences seamless, attractive, and ultimately competitive with others looking to keep up with the same trends, one of the most important elements to consider as an online retailer is payments. Payment platforms are flourishing, and as consumer preferences change, the payment landscape has seen significant innovation. Gone are the days when typing in a credit card was the primary mode of online payments. Today, a range of alternative payment options caters to the diverse needs of Australian shoppers, making checkouts faster and easier, and improving the buying power of the average person to increase checkout rates and drive sales numbers.
Widely considered the ancestor of most digital payment services, PayPal is a widely used digital payment platform that facilitates online transactions between individuals and businesses. It simplifies the payment process by allowing users to link their bank accounts, credit or debit cards, and even prepaid cards to their PayPal accounts. PayPal offers buyer and seller protection, ensuring secure transactions. Additionally, their “One Touch” feature allows for faster checkouts by remembering users’ payment information, reducing the need for manual entry during future purchases. In this sense, PayPal acts as a platform-agnostic alternative to similar services that rely on the use of a branded operating system, web browser, or app ecosystem, like Apple Pay or Google Pay.
PayPal Pay in 4
Once again a pioneer, PayPal was the first digital payments provider to offer quick, easy to use interest-free financing to their trusted customers. Pay in 4 allows users with a good history of payments with PayPal to pay off their purchases in 4 fortnightly installments, beginning with an initial installment at the time of purchase. Users who are unable to make these repayments in time may be exposed to additional fees, and failing to make these payments will eventually result in having this payment option denied, even if the user continues to use PayPal. This model has been copied (and arguably improved upon) by companies like ZipPay and Afterpay, with hundreds of homegrown competitors cropping up all over the globe in other markets.
Google Wallet, now part of Google Pay, is a mobile payment and digital wallet service developed by Google. It enables users to store their debit, credit, loyalty, and gift cards in one place, simplifying online and in-person transactions. Google Pay also allows integration with PayPal, making it easy to connect Google Pay with multiple cards that are already stored in PayPal without adding them into Google Pay all over again. Google Pay utilizes near-field communication (NFC) technology for contactless payments at physical stores, offering a fast and convenient payment method. The platform also supports in-app and online purchases, as well as peer-to-peer money transfers. Security features include fingerprint and passcode authentication, ensuring that transactions remain safe and secure.
By embracing these alternative payment methods, retailers can offer a more personalised shopping experience, attracting a wider range of customers and improving conversion rates.
Apple Pay is a mobile payment and digital wallet service developed by Apple Inc. It allows users to make secure and contactless payments using their iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and Mac devices. It also allows for seamless transactions on Apple devices that support Apple Pay, including devices running iOS 10 or later, and Mac OS using Safari. Like Google Pay, Apple Pay is optimized for mobile use, and allows users making purchases in person to use NFC to make contactless payments, a feature that began gaining traction in Australia years ago, but became the default method of payment for most shoppers during the COVID-19 pandemic, given the rising concerns about viral transmissions resulting from sharing contact surfaces.
Users can add multiple credit, debit, or prepaid cards to their Apple Pay wallet, streamlining the payment process. Transactions are authenticated through Face ID, Touch ID, or passcode, ensuring a high level of security. Apple Pay also supports in-app and online purchases, making it a convenient option for consumers seeking a seamless shopping experience across Apple platforms.
Apple also offers a variety of their own payment cards that integrate with Apple Pay. Apple Cash is a card-like service that allows users to easily transfer money to and from other Apple product users without using a traditional credit or debit card. It also serves as a platform for rewarding users of the Apple Card, a credit card collaboration between Apple and Goldman Sachs, that gives users instant Apple Cash cash back rewards and other benefits when using the card through Apple Pay. As with all Apple products, Apple’s payment products offer the most benefits, functionality, and user friendliness when used together.
ZipPay is an Australian-based digital wallet that offers consumers a flexible line of credit for online and in-store purchases. Like PayPal’s Pay in 4, it enables users to buy now and pay later, with the option to customise their repayment schedule to suit the needs of the individual user. ZipPay charges no interest, and users can choose between weekly, fortnightly, or monthly installments. It also features a transparent fee structure, with late fees capped at a maximum amount to protect consumers from excessive charges. These protections have helped ZipPay gain some market share from PayPal, despite the latter’s early mover advantage in the market for seamless line of credit or repayment financial products. ZipPay also has a partnership with Visa, giving users a card of their own to make purchases with that automatically makes use of their ZipPay credit line.
Afterpay is another popular Australian-based buy now, pay later service, allowing users to split their purchases into four equal, interest-free installments. Payments are typically due every two weeks, with the first installment due at the time of purchase. Afterpay is available at a wide range of online and in-store retailers, making it an attractive option for consumers seeking flexible payment solutions. Afterpay has gained special popularity with Australian users given the wide variety of mainstream and even brick and mortar shops that have begun accepting payment plans offered by the platform, including Target, KMart, Officeworks, Kogan, JBHifi, Rebel, EBGames, and many others. The platform sends reminders to users about upcoming payments, helping them manage their budget and avoid late fees. Afterpay also now offers a digital card, usable with mobile payment software ecosystems like Apple Pay and Google Pay, to make payment plans even more accessible and streamlined. The wide availability of Afterpay coupled with the ease of use and system of gentle reminders has given Afterpay a very positive reputation amongst consumers, earning it nearly double the user base of ZipPay despite the latter’s more flexible payment schedules and arguably more forgiving fee structure.
In an increasingly competitive e-commerce landscape, customer retention is vital. As such, many businesses have turned to loyalty platforms to incentivise repeat purchases and cultivate long-lasting relationships with their customers. These platforms often offer rewards, discounts, or exclusive offers to members, motivating them to continue shopping with the brand.
One example of a successful loyalty platform is the Flybuys program, which has partnered with various retailers across Australia. Members can earn points for every dollar spent, which can then be redeemed for discounts, gift cards, or even flights. By offering tangible benefits to their customers, these loyalty programs foster a sense of brand commitment and encourage repeat business. As a result of their branding, Flybuys has earned themselves a positive reputation of making the otherwise luxurious experience of travel more accessible to everyday consumers.
Shopback: Cashback for Savvy Shoppers
A personal favourite among consumers, Shopback offers cashback rewards to shoppers who make purchases through its platform. Since its introduction in 2020, many Australians have taken advantage of the service, earning hundreds of dollars in cashback from major retailers, as well as Amazon, eBay (currently unavailable), and UberEats.
For those interested in trying Shopback, you can use this referral code to sign up:https://app.shopback.com/FLMuC0PIDxb. By doing so, you will receive a $10 bonus, while the referrer earns $30. Once you start using Shopback for a few purchases, you will begin to accumulate cashback rewards, which can be transferred to your bank account or used for future purchases. We really love Shopback, and we think you really will too!
The success of Shopback highlights the appeal of cashback services to the modern consumer. By offering tangible rewards for shopping, these platforms incentivise customers to make purchases while also fostering brand loyalty. Retailers who partner with cashback services like Shopback can benefit from increased customer engagement and retention.
As the e-commerce landscape in Australia continues to evolve, businesses must adapt to stay competitive. Embracing mobile shopping, creating an authentic local brand, offering alternative payment methods, and developing loyalty platforms are crucial strategies for success in the digital age. Furthermore, partnering with cashback services like Shopback can provide an additional incentive for customers to shop with your brand. By staying abreast of the latest Australian e-commerce trends and prioritising customer experience, retailers can not only attract new customers but also foster long-lasting relationships, ensuring their businesses thrive in an ever-changing market.