New beacon technology from Google will help firms with a high street presence better understand the impact that mobile is having on their business, the Abta Travel Convention heard this week.
Ruairidh Roberts, industry head for travel at the search engine, said 80% of mobile searches are carried out with a local intent.
Of those, 50% visit a store and 18% make a purchase but there remains a disconnect between that original search and the buying of that product.
Roberts said new Google beacon technology, launched this week with some travel firms, was helping them to make sense of this phenomenon.
“It directly correlates those people who have searched on mobile and then entered a high street store and you can understand the attribution between the mobile journey and what’s actually happening in store,” Roberts said.
He told delegates that mobile was increasingly the consumers’ choice and that the shift was happening now so that future generations will know nothing different.
Tablet growth has plateaued and it is smartphones that is driving the growth, and will soon overtake desktop with Asia at the fore of driving the mobile e-commerce revolution.
“People of my generation and all of you are driving this technology consumption shift,” said Roberts.
“We have to be mindful of future generations but actually it’s really important right now. We have to act now to get on board with the technological change.”
Roberts said firms should focus on four key areas to take advantage of the borderless world of the internet: agility, clarity, currency or payments and technology.
He pointed to Chinese online giant Alibaba that took on this challenge successfully to challenge internet giants like eBay and Amazon to serve one billion people.
Roberts also cited Belgium-based online jewellery retailer Baunat as a firm that has internationalised by understanding the consumer and offering payment methods and product relevant to specific markets.
“The internet is, of course, a place where we can all go to, where borders do not exist. Things are moving more quickly and businesses are susceptible to being too slow to react,” he said.
Roberts forecast that by 2020 the e-commerce sector would be worth $130 billion and that 48% of UK shoppers have already purchased a product from an overseas supplier because they considered it offered greater value.
“People are looking at products and services in a different way across multiple devices and you need to understand that if you are going to speak to them in the right way,” said Roberts.
Automating marketing and offering customers the choice to pay in the way they require, maybe through a digital wallet function like Google’s Android Pay, will be vital to remove payment borders, added Roberts.