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The debate has recently resurfaced around whether it’s fair that Australians can buy from overseas online retailers without having to pay GST. If nothing else, this proves that our largest retailers are at last beginning to understand the potential ways e-commerce can affect their business models. In many ways, we are just catching up with the global trend; online retail has been growing overseas at a rate of 10–15% year on year for the past 10 years, with definite opportunities for growth in the local market.
I believe online selling can have a very positive effect on Australian retailers, with the greatest opportunities existing in multi-channel retailing. This doesn’t just mean adding an online channel however; it is about delivering a seamless experience across multiple channels and touch points. Doing so can increase customer loyalty, improve conversion rates, drive better cross and up-sell and give retailers a greater share of wallet.
Developing a multi-channel strategy.
To achieve these successes, a multi-channel strategy needs to be driven at the senior executive level. Multi-channel retailing extends across brands and functional groups as managers within organisational silos can’t effect the necessary changes on their own.
· Marketing communications. Communicate better with customers to further develop a brand’s positioning, build advocacy and increase share of wallet.
· Merchandise utilisation. Increase inventory productivity through improved forecasting, planning and allocation of goods, inventory sharing and substitution policies across channels.
· Customer co-creation and learning. Develop value-added selling activities that improve customers’ knowledge and help them make better purchasing decisions.
With these capabilities, retailers are in a better position to understand and respond to customers shopping patterns and information needs – both within and across channels. With time, capabilities developed in one channel can be deployed across others, such as the combination of online analytics with transaction information gathered through a loyalty program for example, to develop a single, complete view of customer behaviour.
Such opportunities have the potential to significantly alter the customer’s relationship with the retailer; with a far more comprehensive understanding of its customers, retailers are better placed to improve the value they are able to provide, building brand loyalty through a better shopping experience and boosting their own bottom line.
Wondering where to begin with your multi-channel retailing strategy? Through a ‘Cross Channel Experience Assessment’ IBM can help you to provide a consistent shopping experience by developing a strategy that prioritises channel innovation, reflects your brand personality, guides future channel investments, and supports you to understand the high level technical requirements that will support your multi-channel strategy. Click Here to get in touch with us.
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