Technology
Mobile apps driving online sales
Increasing numbers of Kiwi businesses are turning to mobile apps to help customers research, review and buy online. Nic Gibbens, creative director for Wellington-based mobile solutions specialist PaperKite, says mobile apps are rapidly becoming mainstream.
“Even just two years ago many people saw mobile apps as an interesting feature to try and push their brand.”
Now, he says, as smartphone ownership continues to climb, people who can’t connect with a company through their mobile device often switch to competitors very quickly. 
“There’s been a shift from an app being a unique proposition to it being a mobile channel that is always on and always in people’s pockets.”
Gibbens’ views are backed by a new Nielsen survey showing 45 percent of New Zealand’s 1.8 million online shoppers researched goods and services on a mobile device. 
A further 26 percent made an online transaction (288,000 people via a smartphone and 239,000 via a tablet).
The research also shows shoppers may use several mobile devices, such as their smartphone, tablet or PC/laptop, before they buy online.  
Just over a quarter of online shoppers start researching a product or service on one type of mobile device, continue researching on another device and switch again to finish the transaction.
Many people use their smartphone during the day and their tablet in the evening.
Nielsen’s associate director of research Tony Boyte urges businesses to “be where customers are and make the process intuitive”. 
He predicts increasing take-up of broadband and the roll-out of 4G networks will help lift online shopping via mobile devices even further.
Gibbens, whose company client list includes the All Blacks, New Zealand MetService and Mfat, says this is likely to happen in the very near future. 
“Mobile is just another channel now.
“People see their interactions with their mobile devices as informing and empowering them. The biggest part of that is the ability to research products and make up their own mind based on references and recommendations.”
 
By Ruth Le Pla. Email ruth.lepla@xtra.co.nz 
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