What The West Can Learn From The East When It Comes To Mobile

What The West Can Learn From The East When It Comes To Mobile
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Australia needs to take some lessons from China when it comes to mobile marketing. In this opinion piece, Joel Kirk, the product and partner marketing manager at mobile company InMobi, gives us the lowdown on the lessons Aussie marketers need.

There are lessons in how the East approaches mobile-commerce. In mobile, Australia arguably suffers from its technological legacy, with our comparatively affluent population still brandishing a preference for desktop platforms. In countries like India and China, the mobile device is often the consumer’s first portal into the digital economy, and it’s the purity of this new channel that’s creating world-beating innovations in areas like the mobile wallet and mobile-led marketing campaigns.

For years slated as ‘the next big thing in mobile’, mobile wallet concepts enjoy huge success in places like India and China, but remain a far away concept down under. With technologically advanced heavy-hitters like Apple Pay and Google Wallet moving concertedly into mobile wallet arena, we should expect Australia’s attitude to change. Keeping an eye on how the East approached their mobile transformation could ensure we get the best product and payment platforms at home.

Set to explode to $3.2 trillion business globally in 2017, M-commerce represents big money. Heavyweight players and small challenger entries alike will be scrambling to own our mobile cash, with winning platforms likely harnessing a combination of habitual tendencies, industry acceptance and user experience. The Australian M-commerce industry still has roadblocks to overcome – namely how much of the $2bn AUD in yearly merchant interchange fees the banks are willing to part with – but rest assured these squabbles wont hold back the tide of potential revenue forever.

It’s worth noting that there are already some strong tap-and-pay apps from some of Australia’s major banks like CBA, and mobile payment newcomer, ANZ. However, it would be ideal if future iterations of these apps worked in direct conjunction with mobile hardware, such as the Amex double tap on the Apple Watch. As an Apple user, it’s an amazing experience to use my Apple Watch and IPhone for streamlined real-world payments with American Express. Once the big bank fee jostling ironed out, I believe people will struggle to remember how they ever got by without effective mobile wallet technology – which is why it’s crucial we end up with the best solution possible.

Looking East, Australia could learn much from the measures taken in Eastern nations to stimulate the diversification of M-commerce players, rather than a small group of well resourced multinationals. A more hotly contested marketplace will drive innovation and ensure consumers benefit more completely from this exciting new mobile frontier.

Chinese M-commerce giants Baidu, Alibaba and WeChat are dominating in the local M-commerce space by rapidly expanding the variety of services taking mobile payments. M-commerce is on a massive ascendancy in China. To give you an idea of scale, online shopping giant Alibaba recently revealed over half of its transactions are carried out on mobile, using it’s own payment service, Alipay. Alipay has over 300 million registered users.

The number of purchases being made on Alipay jumped from 22 per cent in 2013 to 54 per cent in the first 10 months of 2014. The Alipay app has been downloaded 190 million times and features wider payment options integrated across online and offline services including corner stores, cabs, pharmacies, parking lots, supermarkets and hotels.

With established tech giants continuing to struggle in China, it’s the open platform approach from the likes of Alibaba and WeChat that have found a march on their rivals. Their service-led, consumer-minded approach has enabled China’s M-commerce ecosystem to thrive. More growth is expected as mobile manufacturers like Huewei and Xaimi work to equip another 500 million people with smartphones, and access to the digitally connected economy.

A race to integrate across services that will make consumers’ lives easier should be front and centre in the minds of Australian m-commerce players. InMobi looks forward to seeing challenger entries from smaller, nimble mobile wallet players driving increased competition, a better end product for the user, and a renewed focus on mobile-led strategy.

The emergence of hugely successful mobile-led campaign strategies in India shows how embracing mobile as the primary channel is yielding big results in the East. Late last year, Indian M-commerce Giants Flipkart, Snap deal and Amazon achieved amazing results during the annual ‘Diwali’ festival, by leading their campaigns on mobile, rather than pushing users to desktop sites.

By leading with mobile app strategies, these giants introduced their e-retail services to hundreds of thousands of new customers who were previously out of reach of conventional desktop channels, gaining a 10x level of demand across their platforms.

Their M-commerce numbers defy belief, with Flipkart selling half a million phones in first ten hours of its sales and receiving twenty million visits in under twenty hours. It’s difficult to imagine Australian retailers not wanting to emulate this kind of success through well-built apps, and 2016 seams likely to be the year the Australian market takes a new perspective on mobile-led strategy.

One thing is for sure, new technology, new agreements and new thinking will make Australia’s race to corner M-commerce market more hotly contested than ever. Mobile is growing every day, and the innovations and bravery of the Eastern mobile marketplace will provide a great roadmap for Australia mobile innovations in 2016.

And if you need a bit of extra boost in your mobile marketing, check out these ranges of mobile marketing and digital courses from our friends at ADMA.

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