20 nov bt online__money rolls in as local firms roll out their apps _2_
Client : PayPal Country : SingaporePublication : The Business TimesDate : 20 November 2012Topic : Money rolls in as local firms roll out their appsURL : http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/premium/top-stories/money-rolls-local-firms- roll-out-their-apps-20121120Visitorship : 65,401Money rolls in as local firms roll out their appsBusinesses tap into the potential of mobile devices to improve prospectsBY AMIT ROY CHOUDHURYJust tap it: The Republics mobile commerce market grew by a whopping 660 per cent to reachS$328 million last year, PayPal says.[SINGAPORE] With 71 per cent of mobile users owning a smartphone, its no surprise that mostSingaporeans reach for their mobile devices when they want to check out something online, be it adiscount deal or information about a particular product.And Singaporean businesses are taking advantage of this trend. A host of companies, particularlysmall and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), have started to build mobile friendly websites; somehave even gone further and have designed specific mobile apps to reach out to a wider range ofcustomers.Retail distributor, WingTai Clothing has utilised the Moobifly mobile website enabler for its linessuch as G2000 and Fox Fashion. "By optimising our merchandise websites for mobile consumers, wehave noticed a significant increase in our online traffic," says a WingTai official.Others, such as ticketing company Sistic, have built their own mobile apps. Speaking to BT, Chan WaiHong, Sistics senior applications manager notes that the companys mobile app, launched earlierthis year, provides users with access to event details, show descriptions, promotions, ticket pricesand purchase options 24 hours a day, seven days a week. "A key feature exploits location
technology, providing users with easy agent and venue location, including walking and drivingdirections, using Google Maps. It has already been downloaded by more than 75,000 arts andentertainment fans, and is free," Mr Chan adds.Other local apps such as ShowNearby and SG Malls help users find specific shops and services bylisting them on a shared directory service that categorises businesses by function or by location.ComfortDelGros SBS Transit iris is a nifty little app which gives bus and train timings. Its journeyplanner helps consumers plan the best way to get to their destinations via a combination of publictransports.A recent report by AC Nielsen shows that one in three online consumers in Singapore havedownloaded a mobile app in the past 30 days. PayPal noted that last year, the Republics mobilecommerce market grew by a whopping 660 per cent to reach S$328 million.Anticipating this growth in mobile usage, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA)devised the Digital Concierge (DC) programme in 2010. One of its aims is to help the retail, tourismand hospitality sectors by catalysing mobile commerce.Talking to BT, an IDA spokesman says that the mobile channel allows businesses to reach out to theircustomers more effectively through targeted marketing and drives consumption of their goods andservices.Many SMBs have found a competitive edge by developing mobile apps.SingPet and Vanity Trove have set up online mobile commerce stores that enable shoppers easyaccess to merchandise without ever needing to visit a physical store.Vanity Trove is a mobile website that makes use of PayPals mobile payment - a DC enabler - toprovide subscribers with an innovative delivery of different cosmetic samplings every month. Sinceits launch in December 2011, the site has received 175,000 unique visitors and mobile visitorsrepresent 30 per cent of all visits."Mobile commerce has changed the way we do business in very dynamic ways. Previously,businesses such as ours required a store front. We are able to achieve a new level of conveniencewhere customers can shop even while out of the house doing things such as waiting for the bus orqueuing in a taxi stand," says Douglas Gan, co-founder of Vanity Trove.SingPet is an online store offering a large variety of pet supplies and accessories and has seen thevalue of interacting with its customers via mobile devices. Speaking to BT, Sebastian Wiradharma,the companys director and CIO (chief information officer) notes that the company saw thesmartphone as means to secure a stable market share."Customers need only to scan the barcodes of their current products using their mobile devices toadd the items to their shopping carts. We have also integrated with the IDA DC payment enablerthat supports PayPal transactions. That has helped us reduce our production cost while adding anadditional dimension of convenience to our customers."SGMalls creator, 2359 Media says the company is seeing an increase in the development of apps inboth the public and private sector. "Since we first participated in the DC programme in June 2010,the requests for mobile related projects has increased by more than 300 per cent year-on-year; the
average time spent by users on an apps has increase 10 fold, and the results in terms of effectiveoutreach of the apps has also increased tremendously," says Wong Hong Ting, director and co-founder of 2358 Media.Sistics Mr Chan, however, adds that everything is not necessarily smooth sailing. "One of the mainchallenges is supporting different mobile operating systems as there is no clear market leader. Sowhen we set out to develop our mobile apps, we had to consider the timeline and developmentskills for the two major operating systems - Apples iOS and Googles Android."Another challenge is optimising the app display for different sizes of devices, especially for theAndroid market, which includes many devices of varying sizes. Mobile devices are very exciting andcertainly the future, but also present unique challenges."Despite challenges, the market is too alluring to ignore. Singapores e-commerce market is expectedto grow to S$4.4 billion by 2014."Some businesses have claimed improved revenues through mobile solutions, and that a mobilepresence captures more consumers easily," said the IDA spokesman.