The Australian shopping experience has evolved dramatically over the last decade. Emerging global high street outlets vie for space among newly expanded independent retailers as each offer unique products and services to towns and cities. At the same time, online retail has experienced a boom; widely adopted by business owners and shoppers alike.
Despite the emergence of online shopping, research has found out that nearly all Australians (94%) still think of themselves as in-store shoppers, and 71% say that they shop in-store the same or more than they did three years ago. Demonstrating how ‘clicks and mortar’ work together in a consumer sense, almost half of the people we surveyed admit to taking a reverse showroom approach to shopping: searching online to survey goods before purchasing them in store.
It’s clear neither online nor physical shops are going away, but can they co-exist happily?
Amazon is an interesting example of an online giant that turned its attention to bricks and mortar. It debuted bookstores and pop-up mall kiosks, and is now seeking to target groceries and apparel by opening more stores in the United States. In Australia, we have seen department store giant Myer combine with eBay to create the world’s first virtual reality department store.
We are passionate about working together with all businesses to drive a retail solution that is beneficial for all parties. After the research, Xero worked to create ‘Cloud St’ – and gave a range of innovative, home-grown online businesses the chance to utilise a brick and mortar set-up, across a variety of cities.
We started in Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall, Australia’s busiest pedestrian mall, where the experience of having a physical store helped diversify the sales strategy of online footwear and accessories brand, Radical Yes. Kerryn Moscicki, the founder of the business, told us how much of an impact being able to sell in person has had for her business.
“I love the flexibility and reach having an online retail business enables, but having a physical set up is still something I consider to be really valuable. It’s a game changer for me to chat to people to understand more about what it is they’re looking for – insights that are really important in fashion particularly.”
Our exciting retail journey with Cloud St continues to Newcastle, Wollongong and Parramatta this November, before finishing in Melbourne on Christmas Eve. As it travels down the coast, Cloud St encourages Australians to mesh the best of both worlds: the range and innovation of online shopping, with the in-store expertise and personal touch that drives you to keep returning.
The Christmas shopping season is fast approaching, and with it, more opportunities for retailers to offer their customers the best possible experience, be it online, physical, or both.
To learn more about Xero’s Cloud St please visit: xero.com/cloudst
See also: Retailers must provide an ‘omni-channel’ experience, forum told
About the author
Trent Innes is the Managing Director of cloud-based accounting software company Xero Australia.