2016 was an odd year for eCommerce in Australia.
The shopping year started off slow, and many retailers were predicting a
lack lustre year for themselves.
Yet, the NAB Online Retail Sales Index has estimated that Australians
spent more than $21 Billion online between November of 2015 and November
If you recall, Australian online shoppers spent $17.6 Billion in
The statistics support both sides of the story though, showing that
Australian consumers did ease off their spending habits for the most part
of the year, but (seriously) made up for it in November and December.
The good news is the outlook for 2017 is for another year of positive
growth for eCommerce in Australia, with the predicted trends suggesting
that this will be a year for significant changes in the industry.
Mobile eCommerce will continue to grow as it has been.
But the prediction for this year is that the focus will be on improving
two keys areas: SEO and Payment Methods.
Mobile & SEO
Last year, Google announced that it will be splitting their current
search index into two, one index for mobile search and another index
for desktop search, with the mobile index becoming the primary search
In response to this, we should see eCommerce websites focus on improving their efforts in local SEO, as well as
improvements to take advantage of the shift to Voice Search.
If you haven't heard the term Voice Search before, we suggest you read up
on it. We've included a link in the list of resources at the end of this
New payment methods that aren't as cumbersome as entering Credit Card
details every transaction are also predicted to trend this year in
Last year contained a lot of buzz about mobile wallets and mobile
payments, but stalled once Apple and The Big 4 banks started to battle
for control of the Australian market.
This caused a very slow uptake of mobile payment technologies by
consumers in Australia, and online stores were happy to continue with the
options they were providing.
Now that the dust has settled, online retailers should start to
incorporate mobile payments into their eStores as they start to see more
demand from their customers.
Traditional store owners will also move to align their offline payment
method options with their online payment method options (such as PayWave
or Apple Pay or ANZ Mobile Pay) as a way to improve their customer
Chat Bots are predicted to be the next big thing in 2017.
Down here in Australia though, we don't predict that Chat Bots will take
off as much as in larger markets, such as the United States or Europe.
The ultimate decider in whether Chat Bots become a useful tool for
eStores will be the Australian customer.
If Australian shoppers don't find a Chat Bot to be both a convenience and
a delight to their shopping experience, they will ditch them faster than
an out-sourced call centre.
Unless they're done very well, Chat Bots may end up in the same vein as
Chat Support plug-ins that were touted as the next big thing in Customer
To the Australian customer, Chat Support has turned out to be more of a
gimmick than true customer service and resulted in the technology (and
the companies that use them) being viewed negatively.
Of course, the big shake-up predicted for eCommerce in Australia this
year will be the entry of Amazon Australia into the market.
Amazon announced last year that they were coming to Australia.
At the time of writing, Amazon had not yet officially launched their
Australian arm, but no doubt every sharp business owner that sells
products will be keeping a tight eye on them.
No one knows how the Australian market will change once Amazon officially
open, but predictions are that it will hurt, and hurt badly.
Competition is good for the consumer though, so it will be interesting to
see how Australian eStores respond to counter the hit to their business.
iASP Central Tip: The best way to prepare for Amazon is
to refocus your business plan to offer something that Amazon cannot.
Products, offers, experiences - anything that will differentiate your
business from what Amazon can offer.
Do you own an eCommerce website? What do you think will
be key for eCommerce in 2017? Start a conversation on the iASP Central Facebook Page or Get in Touch.