Shoppers want everything; from ‘touch and feel’ and the customer service to the social interaction. Increasingly, shoppers also want digital browsing at their fingertips, online access to stock details and round-the-clock notifications. The question is; is the Australian retail market meeting their needs?
AMP Capital Shopping Centres (AMPCSC) Head of Marketing and Communications Stuart Langeveldt suggests maybe not, saying our retail sector needs to make some serious changes.
“Our findings clearly show shoppers expect a seamless integrated experience from their desktop to their smartphone to the store itself; it’s the new baseline service expected from retailers…they want the bricks and click experience.”
AMPCSC’s annual ‘Recommended Retail Practices Report 2011(RRP): Consumer Connections’ found that around 5 million Australian households are now engaging in online pre-research. This alongside the still very prominent demand for in-store shopping means the industry needs a two-pronged approach to meet these complex consumer needs.
“Forward-thinking retailers such as Apple, Selfridges and Tesco are delighting shoppers and growing revenue across all their business areas by embracing technology to enhance the in-store experience. It’s a combination of both of these elements that will be the winning combination for Australian retailers,” Langeveldt added.
Directional Insights Managing Director Helen Bakewell said shoppers believe Australian retailers are struggling to embrace the changing trends. However, sites such as NET- A-PORTER, BrandsExclusive, Go Toddler, Jigsaw, Levis, Women’s Freebies and Pizza Hut were all ear-marked as online retailers leading the way, with consumers favouring their rapid product information and pricing.
“They provide interfacing across multiple social media channels and it’s expanding the experience.”
In-store and online retailers will need to step up their game if they are to compete in the current market.
“Online shopping is no longer just about a shopping trolley icon,” Bakewell added.