Is mobile becoming the future of retail sales?

Mobile-based transactions are fast becoming the dominant sales channel for companies such as Pizza Hut, Ticketek, and

Smartphone and tablet-based transactions are rapidly emerging as the dominant source of online sales for a diverse range of Australian retailers, and are on track to potentially overtake face-to-face and PC-based sales.

According to Ticketek's head of product Greg Fahy, the ticket retailer has invested heavily in its app development team in the last two and a half years based on increasing consumer demand for mobile-based ticket sales.

"Mobile is huge for us," he said. "For our online traffic, just over 30 percent are on mobile devices and for some of our content — One Direction or Justin Bieber — 45 percent of our tickets would sell on mobile, so it is a really important area of growth for us in the coming years."

In light of this, the company has launched a new app on the Windows Phone operating system. Along with an e-commerce and e-ticket facility, the app provides location-based event recommendations as well as event recommendations based on past ticket-buying behaviour.

Ben Austin, senior product manager at, said the company's focus is quickly shifting from online web portals to dedicated mobile-based apps.

"We have really seen in the past 12 months a huge explosion of traffic," he said. "We have basically looked at a doubling of app traffic in the past year, and about a quarter of users are coming from a mobile environment."

The company has also launched a new app for the Windows Phone environment, aimed at capturing more mobile users. Among a range of car search and sales features, the app features video content and a dynamic image serving feature powered by Microsoft's Azure cloud service.

Pizza Hut's marketing manager Brad Richter said that in Australia, 50 percent of all searches for pizzas are now done on a smartphone or tablet device.

"Over the last five years, digital has come on in leaps and bounds. It delivers a higher ticket price for us — more revenue for our business — and our conversion rates are stronger when we are using digital channels, especially mobile applications as opposed to just the desktop.

"[Mobile] also enables more loyalty and engagement with the consumer, because they have to download your application onto their device to engage with your brand and transact their purchase."

Tim Lohman travelled to TechEd 2013 as a guest of Microsoft.