A couple of weeks ago I sat down with Aunkur Arya, the General Manager of Mobile for payments company Braintree, to discuss the findings of a recent survey and analysis conducted by the company powered by SurveyMonkey.
The results of the survey, whilst highlighting the vast opportunities available to Australian startups and small businesses online, were also a little worrying to say the least, mainly because it demonstrated the lack of globalised thinking amongst the majority of Australia’s business community.
According to Braintree, almost one million (956,646) Australian businesses don’t currently have a website, and half of those have no plans to create one. The number one reason (80%) for not having a website was the business owner felt it wasn’t important to their business.
This suggests that even though the e-commerce space is experiencing rapid and continued growth from online and mobile based ventures, we are not hitting anywhere near the potential numbers we could be creating as a nation.
Recently in the Democratisation of Ecommerce Report, e-commerce software company BigCommerce says that in 2015, the revenues from online retail transactions will reach USD$2 trillion. The beauty is when it comes to selling products online and via mobile, the playing field is completely even.
“We believe the future of commerce is online, and more specifically, on mobile” says Arya. “The growth of e-commerce, the advances in mobile and the impact that the smartphone has had on daily human behaviour and consumption of goods and services all support this.”
Braintree has a strong track record of making it easier for founders to scale their startups and small businesses quickly and efficiently. Examples include 99designs, AirBnB and Uber. The companies acquisition by Paypal, which exposed it to more than 152 million users, has meant that these days, it can do even more for it’s customers, including providing developers with a mobile sdk, that allows the integration of both credit card and Paypal payments in one easy line of code.
“It’s surprising to find so many Australian businesses don’t have a website, let alone a mobile site or native app, particularly given Australia’s reputation as a technology-forward country” says Arya. “Given the strong smartphone adoption rates, it’s very likely your customers are on their mobile device much of the day, so your business needs to be mobile too.”
In fact, today around 30% of website traffic is coming from smartphones according to StatCounter.com which measures unbiased statistics on internet usage trends. This number is up from just 10% two years ago – a significant (and rapid) increase.
Today, it is not just enough to have a website with a ‘responsive design’ – the statistics show us that users and customers want a great ‘mobile experience’. This has never been more important than within the emerging markets in Asia, where smartphone usage far outweighs the usage of other devices.
When it comes to spending on mobile, we are now living in a ‘one touch’ culture says Arya. “The experience needs to be as seamless as possible, because in a globalised economy you have very limited time to convince the customer to purchase, and design and experience is critical to that.”