Australian retailers must learn from the mistakes of their US counterparts if they are to reach and retain consumers online, according to Paul Marshall, executive director of Salmat DigitalForce.

Presenting at the Retail World Summit, Marshall warned retailers risked market share if they failed to synchronise across channels.

Some major American retailers faced negative consumer sentiment after establishing their online businesses as siloed operations. Separate management teams with different strategies and profit and loss statements lead to numerous customer service issues.

US retailers faced specific problems with customers attempting to return items bought online in-store. Unintegrated loyalty card programs also created issues when customers assumed their online purchases could generate rewards.

Marshall warned it is crucial not to lose sight of customer needs and that consumers have become channel neutral.

“The secret to succeeding in multi-channel is to take a holistic view of your customer that spans across channels and products… Taking a customer centric view in your strategies will ensure you don’t make similar mistakes that retailers have made in the US,” Paul said.

Ecommerce in Australia is expected to turnover approximately $18 billion this year.