Going digital, instead of offering discounts is the saving grace for retailers to survive and continue to strive in the retail industry. 


In the last quarter of 2018, customer spending in Australia increased to AU$262 billion, and yet some of Australia’s well known brands, including Toys R Us, Esprit, Ed Harry and Shoes of Prey, to name a few, closed its doors.


It’s time to accept that retail is challenging,  considering the high labour costs and ever-increasing rent, highly competitive nature with the added threat of digital and ecommerce. The big question is how and can retailers fight their way to sustainable growth?


According to Michael Barnard, “Retailers need to be thinking about how they bridge the gap between online and in-store. E-commerce and retail are no longer separate, they are one in the same. Digital makes it a lot easier for customers to shop around. Australian retailers shouldn’t be focusing solely on the brands posing a national threat, but also brands across the pond. “


Instead of lowering product prices through endless discounts, Australian retailers must focus on creating a strategy that will connect online and in-store experience. However, this doesn’t necessary mean to invest in the latest app and digital technologies, but first, understand your who your customers really are and from there, use tools such as marketing automation platforms to boost sales.


Retailers must also take note that using digital methods, like social media still needs human element to build customer relationships, through post-purchase and after-care support.


How can a retailer grow the right way?

  • Stop prioritising acquisition

Find out who your most profitable customers are and look after them. Deliver the right value for the right customer.


  • Don’t become discount led

I attended an event recently in which a global director from one of the world’s largest creative agencies stated that “Australian retailers were price and discount obsessed. It should actually go much deeper than this.” A good example of this is department store Myer, it has actually started seeing better results since it stopped being price focused and started focusing on the actual customer experience.


  • Embrace omnichannel

Don’t treat your channels as separate communication lines. If a customer complains via social media, then calls the contact centre – the agent should know immediately what the complaint was and the resolution strategy.


  • Don’t open new stores if the existing ones aren’t sustainable

Some retailers put scalability above sustainability. Before even considering opening a new store, you need to be sure your existing stores are performing and that you truly understand your existing customers needs, wants and desires – and ultimately how to drive them back to repurchase.


  • Employee retention

Everyone always talks about the customer experience, yet the employee experience is actually more important. Great frontline staff can really make a difference to your business. Look after your people, and they will look after your customers.


No matter how challenging the retail market today is, with proper strategy and outstanding customer service, you’ll never get left behind.


Source: Marketing Mag


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