By Craig Zammit

SYDNEY: The Australian Centre for Retail Studies (ACRS) has warned Australian retailers to latch on to the new global trend of multi-channelling or risk falling behind international businesses.

Mutli-channelling refers to businesses using more than one type of media to market to, sell to and service their consumers. Examples of multi-channelling available to Australia retailers include using printed press, television, mobile phone messaging and internet retailing.

ACRS research suggests that multi-channelling is the way forward for Australian businesses, with multi-channel consumers shopping more frequently and spending more than those consumers who utilise a single purchase channel.

“These days’ being a good retailer requires you to work smarter rather than harder. It’s all about integrating, leveraging and optimising your people, operations, promotions, channels and revenue to deliver value to your customer,” said ACRS program director – membership and marketing, Lenore Harris.

“In Australia, multi-channel retailing is still a relatively young concept, but with the enormous growth of new competitors through entities such as eBay, multi-channel retailing is something Australian retailers need to get their head around pretty quickly.”

Consumer electronics retailers such as Harvey Norman, HMV and JB Hi-Fi could stand to gain significantly from mutli-channelling, with video games, CDs and DVDs already responding well to the online sales medium.

ACRS will be exhibiting at the Shopfit Display and Design Retail Business Technology exhibition to be held at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre from 19 to 21 September 2006.