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Tuesday, 09 May 2017 19:25

Aussie retailers get ready for the siege


Many Australian retailers are not ready for the assault coming in the form of Amazon, or what left-field havoc players like Uber, Facebook and others that know and own their clients may wreak.

Microsoft has released a whitepaper titled, “A brighter future in store”, on the topic.

There are some shining lights like Domino’s and Coffee Club but the message is clear – customers' expectations are changing rapidly and unless you have a monopoly (product or location) you need to embrace digital fast.

Darren Younger, chief executive officer, Shelfie, summed it all up, “There is still time. Get in place the innovations and messaging that an Amazon would bring. Strengthen your digital offering. Start experimenting with the Internet of Things. Be the first to get in there and create some noise.”

The retail symptoms are a loss of market share, slower stock turnover, lower profits from discounting, and fear about your shops future – all self-fulfilling prophesies if you let them.

The “infection” for want of a better word — the disruptors — are the “Pure-Play” online retailers such as Amazon, Alibaba, Spotify, and Netflix, the obvious beneficiaries of evolving expectations and changes in transaction habits.

The “cure” is to join them as a growing number of Australian brands develop flexible multichannel strategies that allow customers to shop and collect items however they want.

But it is not just the Amazon incursion that has Aussie retailers concerned – Australians are making far fewer visits to shops, 100 million less compared to five years ago. While 93% of sales still occur in physical stores, all that is doing is encouraging pure-play online to venture into bricks and mortar stores to round out their omnichannel experience.

Marcy Larsen, retail industry development executive, Microsoft, said, “The next disruptor could come from anywhere. Facebook knows a lot about consumers and could enter in a big way. Uber is delivering items and meals to people’s homes …”

Amazon et al are gunning for the lower cost, big volume opportunities where online shopping has captured significant market share (in brackets): electronics (48%), physical and electronic media – audio and video content (19%), sports/outdoors (11%), clothing and apparel (10%), shoes/accessories (5%) and tools/garden (5%).

Howard Saunders, Futurist, sums up, “The real world has so much more to offer. But if the high street’s dull, people will order online.”


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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