Michael Bleby Reporter

Michael writes on emerging markets, architecture and engineering. He has served as a correspondent in Tokyo, London and Johannesburg and has written for Reuters, the Financial Times, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

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Catch of the Day reels customers in by mobile devices

Published 22 October 2013 10:52, Updated 23 October 2013 07:15

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Catch of the Day reels customers in by mobile devices

Hooked: Catch Of The Day has received up to 62 per cent of a day’s orders from mobile devices, according to founders Gabby, left, and Hezi Leibovich. Photo: Josh Robenstone

Mobile commerce knows no boundaries. On Monday evening, Gabby Leibovich was at Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre for a gig by comedian Rob Schneider and saw two people in front of him with devices open. They were looking at Catch of the Day, the ecommerce site Leibovich and brother Hezi co-founded.

“There were two groups of people in front of me checking Catch of the Day, two on their iPad, another two on a telephone – complete strangers,” Leibovich told BRW on Tuesday. “It was unbelievable.”

This, comedian Schneider will be reassured to know, was before the performance, but the incident signals a trend in online shopping that Catch Group, founded seven years ago, says continues to grow. As many as 62 per cent of its sales come from mobile devices, with desktop-based machines accounting for the remainder. The significance of mobile devices is only going to grow.

“People are deserting desktops and doing most of their shopping while on the move,” Leibovich said. “We’ve all got a smartphone in our pocket and when watching TV, or on the toilet or on the bus. I can get to 80 per cent within a year,” Leibovich said.

People are deserting desktops and doing most of their shopping while on the move... I can get to 80 per cent within a year

In the year to June, consumers made one million downloads of Catch Group’s Android and iOS shopping apps. Over the same period, 7 per cent of orders to the group, whose brands include Grocery Run, Scoopon, Mumgo and Eat Now, have come in via social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Catch Group pulled in revenue last year of $350 million. It has seen its margins increase as it has pulled costs out of back-end operations, such as warehouse operations, Leibovich said.

“At the same time last year, we employed twice as many people in the warehouse and shipped the same amount of parcels,” he said. “This year we’ve done it with half the amount of people simply because we’ve improved processes.”

Something new. Sporting goods?

Leibovich declined to confirm a recent report in The Australian that the group was planning to expand into sporting goods, only agreeing that it was a best-selling category for the company. He did say the group was likely to announce a new business line in February, however.

“We’re very busy in October and November selling – they’re the best two months of the year. Then there’s a month when we’re not doing so much, from mid-December to mid-January. This is quiet. Once we come back to work on 15 January, we’ll start folding up our sleeves.”

The time off may also give Leibovich time to get out more – and possibly see more people shopping on his site from their devices.

At the theatre on Monday, Leibovich – never shy of an opportunity for publicity – went and introduced himself to the people in the row in front.

“They were happy to meet me,” he said. “They were very surprised.”

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