Mobile technology a low priority for online retailers: report

Mobile technology a low priority for online retailers: report

Australian online retailers 'must extend vision'

Some 69 per cent of the Australian online retail sector is increasing investment in technology while the majority hesitate to adopt mobile commerce strategies, says a new survey.

The Online retailing in Australia 2010: Technology Investment report found 53 per cent of retailers see e-commerce as the key investment priority for the year ahead.

Forrester Research report co-author Steven Noble said an investment in mobile is not high on the priority list for online retailers with some 88 per cent of respondents saying they deployed m-commerce in the past year.

“Most online retailers have a technology wish list as long as your arm that includes many basic areas such as improved product content management. They'll invest in those areas first and other areas like mobile later,” Noble said.

Noble said the report indicated retailers are split between choosing an on-demand utilisation model, which 38 per cent deploy, versus a licensed application brought in house, which 51 per cent use.

“Retailers are taking a practical approach asking what vendor or software works for them. They're not overly distracted by the big 'religious' debates in IT such as installed verses on demand,” he said.

Noble said while the approach of Australian online retailers is practical, the industry must extend its vision.

"When it comes to technology, the overarching philosophy of Australian online retailers is 'whatever works'. As a philosophy, it's impeccable, but in practice, it's constraining because these retailers are focused on what works today, to the detriment of the future."

The report is based on interviews with some 16 online merchants, Web developers and platform providers from retailers including City Beach, Coles Online, Redbox Hardware, Rip Curl and Appliance Online.

The news comes as Ovum this week warned CIOs in the insurance industry that m-commerce may be a "game changer" thanks to Gen Y demand for mobile services

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