Australia’s online retail sector needs to improve its online strategy or risk losing ground to overseas players, according to a new report.
More than two-thirds of top Australian retailers are doing the bare minimum when it comes to collecting customer data and have almost no social media engagement leaving the playing field open to overseas players, according to a new report conducted by e-commerce marketing strategist, eMarketingConnected.
Titled Beyond the Basics – Why the largest Australian retailers are losing the online battle, the report analysed the state of Australia’s online maturity among big retailers, and the outlook is grim.
The report evaluated 62 retailers and looked at key online areas such as website, social media, email/online CRM and in-store integration.
eMarketingConnected founder, Peter Paterson, said even the biggest Australian retailers such as Harvey Norman, David Jones and Myer, were behind in their approach to selling online.
“As a result, the smaller retailers have very little to benchmark themselves against in terms of best practice—unless of course they look abroad for leadership when it comes to first class retail marketing habits,” Paterson said.
It indicated online retailers overseas are expecting 44 per cent of all online retail sales will go to offshore sites this year, a rise of 40 per cent compared to last year.
“If Aussie retailers don’t look to their overseas competitors for inspiration, they stand to lose customers who are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their use of multiple online channels—review sites, blogs and social networks—so they can find out more about a brand, product or service,” he said.
Out of the retailers reviewed, less than one third were using sophisticated selling tools such as user reviews and videos, which the report said were effective methods to help increase sales.
Surprisingly, two-thirds of the big retailers are only doing the absolute minimum when it comes to collecting customer data such as name and email, and provide little-to-no social engagement for their customers.
The report warns that unless Australia’s online retail sector improves its online strategies, it will continue to lose business to overseas players.
eMarketingConnected suggests retailers need to take an integrated cross-channel approach that is specific to their customers.
“The first step for retailers is to gain a deeper understanding of who their customers are and how they prefer to research and buy products, that way they can implement the right multi-channel engagement strategies,” Paterson said.
“It’s only through offering rich, meaningful experiences both online and in-store that retailers will see sales improve.”