Why retailers need to focus on their e-commerce strategy

Survey reveals how industry is adapting.

Nine in 10 e-commerce retailers are adopting new technology at a rapid rate in response to a fast-changing retail market, according to a survey from SLI Systems conducted at the recent SLI Connect summit in Sydney.

SLI Connect is an annual one-day event that brings together Australia’s leading retailers to discuss, explore and learn from one another’s e-commerce experiences and goals.

According to the organisers, the survey provided a snapshot of insights, challenges and perspectives from Australia’s leading retailers about the coming year.

It appears that increasing competition and heightened expectations of the online experience have prompted Australian retailers to implement changes to their e-commerce strategies:

  • More than half (52%) have optimised their site for mobile and tablet
  • Almost half (48%) have upgraded their e-commerce platform
  • 29% have offered free shipping
  • One in five (19%) have started selling internationally

Blair Cassidy

SLI Systems, VP of product management, Blair Cassidy.

Speaking at the SLI Connect summit, Krispy Kreme Australia, digital business manager Russell Schulman outlined how the retail giant developed a successful doughnut delivery service in Australia through capturing the magic of the brand online and meeting consumer demand for quick and flexible delivery.

“It’s no secret that e-commerce retailers need to streamline their websites and make sure that they are easy to use for the average punter, but the secret is how,” Schulman said. “Most businesses don’t realise how easy it is, or how important it is. You don’t need to go all out and start having virtual reality on your website. Simple tricks, such as auto-completing sentences or highlighting more relevant products, can improve the quality of the website experience.”

SLI Systems, VP of product management, Blair Cassidy explained, “The results of the SLI Connect survey show how local retailers are increasingly adopting new technology and highlights how e-commerce needs to constantly adapt and evolve in order to meet changing consumer demands.”

“According to the February 2016 NAB Online Retail Sales Index, it is estimated that Australians spent $19.2 billion on online retail in the past 12 months equivalent to 6.6 percent of traditional brick–and-mortar sales. This demonstrates the strong opportunity for online retail and the e-commerce market to grow, but also the need to support local brands to develop compelling e-commerce strategies to compete on a global scale.”

“During the next year, it is clear brands can capitalise further on e-commerce, with 78% saying they have been able to directly attribute sales to specific online tools. In order for this to continue to happen, brands must embrace e-commerce and include it in their omnichannel approach. Here, they can continue to tap into a growing market,” Cassidy added.

According to the survey, 77 % believe increased expectations of the online customer experience have been the main driver of changes to the e-commerce industry during the past 12 months. Two in five of the retailers attending the conference (42%) said mobile has changed the way they reach consumers.

“It is good to see more people understand the effect mobile can have on business in converting sales,” Cassidy said. “It’s easy and simple for retailers to implement new mobile technology on their websites; they just need to be told how.”

The survey was conducted in Sydney on April 6 at SLI Connect, where more than 80 delegates confirmed their participation in the one-day event that focused on the best practices in e-commerce and site search.

Survey highlights:

  • Almost half of Australia’s top retail brands are concerned about the impact of international competitors on their business
  • Nine in 10 Australian retailers have implemented new technology in the last 12 months to deal with increasing competition
  • Top three business priorities for retail brands in 2016 include greater personalisation of content, improved site-search capability and provision of relevant search results
  • 42 percent of retail brands would be keen to improve their mobile software, with around a quarter (23 percent) keen to implement virtual reality
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