Apple’s iPhone spawns app growth for online retailers
It’s exciting to see Australian companies harnessing mobile technology, as well as using Australian based skills to develop this technology. Apple’s iPhone with its plethora of applications available has certainly catapulted mobile web applications and their development into the limelight.
According to Tony Nguyen of Sydney based Mobile Web Solutions, Apple just sold over 1 million of its new iPhone 3GS’s in its first 3 days on release in June. With 17 million iPhones sold worldwide by March, Apple has 8.2% marketshare of the smartphone sector, with analysts forecasting growth of 12-15% by 2010.
Building on the iPhone’s success, catchoftheday.com.au has recently launched their own application. This application supports the Catch of the day concept whereby a new product is put up for sale every day at mid day. The offer is available for 24 hours or until sold out.
The purpose of the application is that it automatically notifies the user of the latest offer (catch) each day by way of push technology.
Director Gabby Liebovich, an avid iPhone user realised how powerful iPhone applications were and started scouting around to find developers to build an application that would allow iPhone users to see catch of the day’s daily catch.
His team of in house developers suggested he buy an Apple computer, and went about developing the application in house.
Other online retailers in Australia are currently developing iPhone applications, yet there is nothing on the horizon yet like America’s Frucall. Frucall is a wonderful service that brings a level playing field to traditional retailing. Imagine standing in your favourite electronics store, mouth watering at the latest Canon digital camera. Simply grab your mobile phone and either call, text or via mobile web, enter the model name and number, e.g. Canon Eos 500. You will shortly receive an SMS with the best prices at competing retailers. Off you go around the corner.
Taking iPhone applications further, Nguyen from Mobile Web Solutions has launched the first of a series of practical applications that assist customers and businesses. Nguyen said the two new applications, “Crash Kit” and “Mortgage Saver” support consumer’s daily lives “and set out to lower stress wherever possible”.
“One year on, the second wave of apps support consumers’ everyday living. For me this is where the real value is for companies, in offering value-added services their customers want and will use. The internet gave them 24/7 connection at home, mobile technology takes that 24/7 wired convenience with them wherever they are”.
Widespread business interest and statistics back up Mobile Web Solutions’ belief that this is the right time and channel for practical applications to interact with customers.
Successful Australian applications include the OzWeather application connecting to the Bureau of Meteorology, a top10 national seller since its release, while MBF and Yarra Trams have developed applications for customers. Internationally, campaigns
include household names 7-Eleven and Volkswagon. Some 50% of iPhone owners
are over 30, 43% earn over $100,000 p.a. and 15% earn $165,000 p.a. iPhone
users actively seek out additional functionality, with 93% adding applications vs. 66%
of other smart-phone owners.