With Forrester Research’s Online Retailing in Australia 2011: Performance and Channels report being released and Online Retailing in Australia 2011: Technology Investment on the horizon, senior analyst, Steven Noble, shared seven key findings during his presentation at the Online Retailer Conference and E-Commerce Expo in Sydney.
1. Australian retailers tend to be small
Forrester Research has found that only three per cent of online businesses in Australia have a turnover of a $1 billion per year, with “pure play” retailers being much more common than multichannel.
Noble emphasised that this does not mean that the Australian retail market is small, but that most large business have been late to online retail, thus leaving the opportunities for smaller players.
“However, many smaller retailers struggle to implement advanced web sites and multichannel features,” Noble said.
2. Australian retailer metrics are good
Most Australian online retailers have been found to be performing respectfully against key metrics.
Noble stated that this “does not mean that that local retailers are exceptionally skilled, but that the competition is not as fierce as in the US”, as Australian customers are generally less picky than in the other market and tend to bundle purchases to reduce shipping.
“Additionally, Australian online retailers have had a nifty head start,” Noble said.
3. Australian retailers are growing quickly
Most existing Australian online retailers are growing rapidly thanks to their past and current experiences, and investment in the future.
“Environmental factors such as increased consumer Internet use and declining retail channel loyalty also play a part,” Noble added.
4. Australian retailers are producing multichannel tools
While innovations such as in store pickup were identified by Noble as being successfully field tested in the Australian market, the reality is that the multichannel puzzle is still far from been cracked.
“Small multichannel retailers are the ones that can implement multichannel services through semi-manual processes,” Noble explained.
5. Australian retailers struggle with cross-channel experience
Retailers still aren’t creating seamless cross-channel experiences due to factors such as technology, organisation, and investment and scale hampering efforts.
“Increasing complexity created by new customer touch points appearing all the time, like smartphone apps and discount coupons, also make things difficult,” Noble said.
6. Australian retailers are flocking to social media but don’t see sales
Forrester Research found in its research that few Australian online retailers see social media as being an effective customer acquisition tactic, with most saying it’s not the top method to generate sales.
However, 70 per cent have identified social media marketing as top priority for the future due to “soft ROI” in customer service, market research, and building the company brand through community marketing.
7. Australian retailers will finally use affiliate marketing
Few Australian online retailers see affiliate marketing as an effective customer acquisition channel, with only nine per cent of Australian business using it compared to 49 per cent in the US.
Uptake has lagged due to the scale of the undertaking, but Noble expects adoption to “increase through appealing ROI and the growth of affiliate market choices in Australia.”
The Online Retailing in Australia 2011: Performance and Channels report is available now from Forrester Research, with Online Retailing in Australia 2011: Technology Investment to be released in the near future