Retail in Asia

In Trends

Mobile e-commerce: The key to reaching Asian consumers


Former David Jones chief executive Paul Zahra says Australian retailers will need to improve their smartphone-based e-commerce strategies to snare a bigger portion of customers from Asia, but the upside is vast for those who get it right.

“The consumer wants to shop anywhere, anytime,” he said.

Zahra said that he also expected more pure-play online retailers to open up physical stores because it was becoming increasingly obvious that having more routes to market than just being in the crowded online marketplace enhanced a retailer’s brand and helped lay a stronger pathway for longer-term success.

Zahra, who was elevated into the top job at department store David Jones in 2010 following the abrupt departure of Mark McInnes, who is now the boss at Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments overseeing Smiggle and Just Jeans, is now a global retail adviser for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

SEE ALSO: Australian e-tailers brace for a golden age in China

Smartphone users were much closer to making a purchase than if they were using a personal computer or desktop. “It does reduce the path to purchase,” Zahra said. “They’re one tap away from purchasing.”

Greenberg, who is one of the speakers at the Australian Financial Review‘s Retail Summit in Melbourne on September 28 and 29, said it was important that retailers focused on what customers wanted, regardless of which “channels” they were selling through, because customers in the end didn’t really care about that.

“Customers think by brand, not by channel,” he said. “They are bemused by all this.”