Whether its groceries, books, electronics, or subscription services to keep the entertainment flowing, PayPal’s latest eCommerce Index reveals that Aussies are now doing more than half their shopping and bill payments online (52%).

The shift to online was definitely accelerated by COVID with 1-in-6 Australians (17%) saying they started shopping online regularly for the first time during the pandemic. Many businesses responded by upping their online game or actually starting to sell online for the first time.

However, there are always more opportunities to enhance your online offering. So, here’s the top trends in the local eCommerce landscape to help you evolve your online strategy.

Mobile commerce is back

Mobile commerce took a dive in 2020 as Australians focused on their computers rather than their phones and many started working from home due to COVID. But now, mobile commerce has made a surprising comeback. From a 5-year low in 2020, when just over half (56%) of Aussies were shopping or making payments on mobile devices, we’re now seeing 4-in-5 Aussies (82%) buying on mobile.

But shoppers won’t stick around if the mobile experience isn’t up to scratch. One-in-four (23%) have abandoned a mobile purchase or payment because a site wasn’t optimised for mobile. For 38%, it’s the long and confusing checkout that’s the final straw, while 35% abandoned a purchase because their preferred payment method wasn’t available. This means doubling down on mobile optimisation can potentially improve your conversion rates, particularly as Gen Z consumers – many of whom have never known life without a mobile – are gaining purchase power.

True mobile-first customer experiences are so much more than responsive design that will automatically resize for the device type being used by the shopper. If you visit your website on your mobile or tablet and it loads slowly, part of the design is cut off, doesn’t load properly, or it’s hard to click on certain elements because they’re too small, you will need opt for a more mobile-friendly design.

Some eCommerce platforms such as BigCommerce and WooCommerce have mobile-first design built in. But if that’s not the case for your platform, it’s best to work with a web designer. Some elements to consider could include:

  • optimised images and videos that not only look great but load quickly;
  • user-friendly navigation with the most important elements on your site easy to find, accessible and clickable; and
  • an intuitive checkout that’s concise, with bold clear buttons and a minimum of forms and fields to fill out. Or better still, with fields that can be pre-populated by automatically drawing information your customers have already provided to their digital wallet, such as PayPal.

Spend more time on social media, it’s where the customers are

Social media has become increasingly important for small businesses online, with more customers exploring platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok to both find product inspiration and to shop. In fact, a quarter of Australians (25%) now shop on social media – and if you’re looking at Australians under 40, this rises to 1-in-3.

But beyond the increase in the number of social shoppers over the years, spending via social commerce has gone up dramatically. The average Aussie now spends $35 a month via social channels, up 700% from $5 a month just three years ago in 2019. That’s a truly meteoric increase.

Leveraging the ongoing success of social media and the latest innovations available on these platforms can maximise the impact of your engagement among existing and potential customers, increase brand appeal and drive consumer loyalty. It could also help you stay competitive as 90% of online businesses in Australia, from SMBs through to enterprises, currently market themselves on social.

Savvy shoppers looking for best value

In recent years, Australian consumers say they’re always on the lookout for discount codes and sales when shopping online. This appetite for getting the best value available is set to continue, with 68% of consumers agreeing they’re more likely to purchase if discounts are offered.

Shoppers are also getting savvier in their discount discovery journey. Nearly 1-in-5 (18%) will add items to their cart, then hold off completing the purchase as they wait for the merchant to send an offer or voucher via cart recovery emails or retargeting ads.

Browser extensions are also available to consumers to help them find the best deals online, such as shopping and rewards platform Honey. Honey surfaces discounts and coupons and uses points-based rewards to both help consumers find the best value while incentivizing passive shoppers on your site.

Ensuring you have a healthy range of offers and codes could be a key element to increase likelihood to purchase.

Alison O’Brien is director of customer success at PayPal Australia.