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Many businesses baffled by new technology
Many businesses baffled by new technology

More Australian businesses want to be accessible to consumers using mobile phones to make purchases online but many lack the knowledge and infrastructure to reach this group, a survey finds.

Online sales site operator eBay found on its Online Business Index for March that one out of six respondents, or 17 per cent, said they don't know how they would invest in mobile commerce.

It found also that 40 per cent said they lacked the knowledge to make informed mobile investments.

eBay said that in 2011 it transacted $5 billion through mobile devices globally and this was expected to grow to $8 billion in 2012.

Australia and the United Kingdom were the fastest growing international eBay mobile markets

"Innovations in mobile technology, changing consumer behaviour, and the willingness of retailers to incorporate a multi-channel sales strategy are providing significant growth opportunities for the retail sector, and the findings of the 2012 index reflect these shifts," eBay vice-president Deborah Sharkey said.

However, eBay said that 28 per cent of Australian respondents found slow mobile internet speeds to be a major barrier to growing mobile commerce, along with unreliable coverage (24 per cent) and the high cost of mobile internet access (21 per cent).

Half of the respondents to the survey said that more customers were demanding mobile integration, and more than 70 per cent said mobile strategy would play an important role in their 2012 business outlook.

The survey was sent to eBay's top 3000 sellers in Australia for their current views on online commerce, and generated 387 responses.

The survey showed that eBay's top sellers were embracing mobile technology to boost business.

Sixty-one per cent of respondents said they planned to invest in mobile technology for the first time in 2012.

Forty-six per cent said they would optimise online content for mobile and 24 per cent said they would develop a mobile website and 21 per cent said they would develop a mobile app (application).

Previous eBay research found that more than four million Australian smartphone owners used their mobiles to compare prices before purchasing, and 37 per cent who researched a product using their mobile did so while looking at the product in a physical store.

The eBay survey also found that freight costs continued to be an issue for online sellers.

More than 50 per cent of respondents said postage costs were a major barrier to growth, and two-thirds wanted more competitive shipping rates.