Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Digital Customers Need a Digital Shopfront

It is no surprise that Australian retail is currently going through tough times. But for all of the noise being made around the increase in online shopping, not much is being done by retailers to get their piece of the action. A quick look at the websites shows just how behind they are, with only a few products on offer if any at all. Australian shoppers are amongst the most tech-savvy in the world, with the  Australian public traditionally being early adopters of new and emerging technologies. It is important now, more than ever that the right people for the job are in store and that managers adapt their businesses to suit the changing retail landscape.
Staff need to be knowledgeable and passionate about the products, otherwise consumers will simply go elsewhere. The way that consumers are shopping is changing, with mobile phones the new tool of shoppers to compare prices and do their research to complement their shopping experience. 96% of smart phone users reported using their phone to compliment their online searches.
To take advantage of this, retailers must change the way they approach online sales. Rather than complaining about how overseas websites are stealing customers away, retailers need to invest in their digital platforms and draw the customers back. Australian consumers are willing to shop local, with an increase in consumers wanting to purchase through local sites increasing from 24% in 2009 to 30% in 2011. For Australian retailers to cry poor by the increasing use of online sits to shop, they have only themselves to blame.
Training your in-store merchandising staff to work online is one of the options that can help to build sales. Use the talents of your staff and help them to help you. Skills can be transferred and a staff member who has a good eye for design in store is more than likely going to know what looks good online. Work with your Gen Y staff and ask them how they shop and what they are looking for in a website. It might be something as simple as having a map and contact details on the front page of your site. This sort of research won't cost you anything but will help build your online presence.
Retailers need to embrace the future and get on top of it now. If you wish to be left behind then by all means, keep complaining, your competitors are going to be the ones who benefit.

1 comment:

  1. You've hit the bloody nail on the head with this one, it makes me want to scream when I hear people say they can't find a job.
    As a schoolkid starting his working life flipping burgers at Maccas to the board room of a number of high profile businesses, i can testify to your sentiments, if you want to ahead, get a job, any jon, work bloody hard and guess what -you'll get rewarded!