Although Australian retailers have been slow to expand online they have a distinct advantage over web-only retailers, according to the executive director of Salmat Digital Paul Marshall.
In his presentation to the Online Retailer Conference in Sydney, Marshall asserted that brand awareness, loyalty and an existing customer base are key assets when ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers take their business online.
Combine that with the power of the store network to give their customers a true multichannel shopping choice and retailers have a strong playing hand.
“Despite being slow to adopt eCommerce, the history and level of trust retailers have built with their customers will pay major dividends when they expand online. Data from the US shows that consumers of multichannel retailers, or retailers with both a physical and online presence, are proven to be more loyal, buy more per visit, and have a higher lifetime value,” explained Marshall.
The US Internet Retailer website indicates that of the top 100 online retailers in the US, ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers make up the largest segment (circa 44%) and are also the fastest growing segment over web-only retailers, mail-order retailers and manufacturers. Fast movers include Costco, Wal-Mart, Sears and Best-Buy.
“Success in multichannel retailing is a marathon not a sprint. Making sure your house is in order is essential, develop the right strategy and invest where it matters,” says Marshell.
In 2009, ecommerce in Australia is expected to generate around $18 billion in sales.