Retailers gather to better online abilities

Bricks and mortar retailers gathered in Sydney this week for the Engage in E-tail seminar, in an effort to better their response to rising consumer demand for e-commerce offerings.

Jointly hosted by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and the Australian Sporting Goods Association (ASGA), retailers attended sessions hosted by representatives from Quantium, Google, Dealsdirect.com.au, Portalogue, Sneaking Duck and other e-commerce websites. The common theme running through all presentations was that convenience and product range trump price as the main reason consumers decide to shop online.

ASGA Executive Director Brad Kitschke said the seminar illustrated the opportunities still available in the retail market place and demonstrated the need for retailers to fully embrace a multi-channel approach to meet changing consumer demands.

Quantium keynote speaker Simon Smith said the strong dollar acts as a driver for getting consumers to purchase online for the first time, but there are enormous opportunities for Australian retailers to capture sales online with 68 percent of online buyers preferring to shop domestically if they can find what they’re looking for online.

Portalogue’s Tim Pope delivered practical advice for how retailers can use the online space as their most powerful ally and recommended they focus on great merchandise and product range not price.

Google’s Head of Retail Ross McDonald revealed to retailers how shoppers are researching products online:

  • 60 percent of Australians are watching TV with a laptop in hand giving Australian retailers a huge opportunity to show and sell product offerings online.
  • Australia having the third highest 3G penetration in the world, searching is the most widely used application on a smart phone.
  • Many shoppers are researching products to purchase online but also to find out where they can buy products while in a shopping centre or shopping strip.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman also spoke at the seminar, urging retailers to respond to current consumer demand by including online e-commerce offerings as the essential complement to retailers’ bricks and mortar stores.

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