The digital age has changed the face of Australian retail. Tech-savvy, time-poor consumers are increasingly looking for ways to meet their needs better, faster and cheaper.
In retail, delivering the greatest product and service value is even more critical. Customers want a retailer who’s responsive, convenient and able to fulfil their shopping list week in, week out – whether that list contains one item or one hundred.
E-commerce has levelled the playing field for retailers. Once the domain of major chains with large marketing budgets, an online store is now quick and easy to implement. Some systems, such as Merlin Ecommerce, can also be integrated with your in-store POS system, helping you avoid double handling of product, pricing and promotional data and improving overall operational efficiency.
Operational efficiency is an important driver of business success, however an online store also provides a range of competitive benefits for independent retailers. These include:
- Staying competitive with major retailers – An online store allows you to compete more easily with much bigger retailers, without the high overheads of a large physical store. There are around 1 trillion searches being conducted every day on Google. These searches are not driven by how big your store is or how much foot traffic it receives, but instead how relevant your offer is to customers. Compared with a physical store, your visibility to potential customers is far greater online, and can be enhanced even further using search engine advertising.
- Meeting customer demand for convenience – Today, consumers of all ages are accustomed to having a range of shopping options available at their fingertips. Having an online store eliminates many of the limitations of a physical store such as operating hours and locations. It helps show your customers you understand their needs by providing what they want, when and where they want it – making them more likely to buy from you.
- Better understanding customer behaviour – These days, customers do a lot of online research before they visit a bricks and mortar store. But much of this research, including time spent on your website, reading comments and reviews from other shoppers and comparing you with the competition can only be partly measured when you have just a physical store.
Having an e-commerce store allows you to follow your customer’s journey all the way to checkout, but perhaps more importantly to track and manage customers who choose items but don’t make a purchase – an exercise which can help you recover around 30% of otherwise lost sales. Known as cart abandonment, this scenario is very difficult to measure or address in a physical store.
With online grocery sales predicted to climb 20% in the next 10 years and customers increasingly checking you out online before visiting the physical store, retailers can no longer afford not to offer customers the option of an online store. Advances in e-commerce technology mean that this previously complex and costly process is now within reach of all retailers. It provides not only an effective way to build your customer base and complement your bricks and mortar store, but an efficient tool for positioning your business as a solution provider, which encourages customer loyalty and long-term revenue growth.
If change and meeting your customers’ needs is a constant, doing nothing isn’t an option. Be sure you are partnering with a company with the depth and breadth of expertise you require. Particularly one who can help you navigate end-to-end managed services, cloud, mobile and paperless retail technology. GPK Retail consultant, Cordell Quaine, is available for a no obligation discussion on how GPK can help you reduce operational costs, manage your IT footprint more effectively and create an exceptional experience for your customers. Contact: Phone 1300 000 475 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.