As the Australian e-commerce industry continues to grow, smart retailers are seizing the opportunity before them by drawing on intelligent technology that delights the customer at every click.
Despite representing the 55th largest country by population, Australia is the tenth-largest e-commerce market in the world – with analysts predicting Australia’s e-commerce industry will reach a value of $35.2 billion by next year!
To capture this opportunity, investment in e-commerce technology is on the rise – here are three areas that offer the greatest return and fuel increased sales revenue.
Deliver the full package – from homepage to the doorstep
Whether a customer walks through the doors of your store or scrolls through your website, the process from browsing to purchasing and delivery needs to be frictionless. This can’t happen unless your systems, processes, and people are aligned.
The retailers that are doing well are those looking at all parts of the equation. Just as a sold-out product is removed from in-store promotions, an item that goes out of stock should not be presented as a choice for your customer. The technology exists to help you monitor this and automatically update your website in real-time. After all, nothing’s more frustrating than moving through a virtual path to purchase, only to learn the item isn’t available at payment – or worse after. This creates a negative brand experience.
We have the technology available today to allow us to complete visibility across entire operations from where software powering online stores talk to warehouse management systems. Retailers embracing this have a definite advantage in the ever-accelerating online world.
Own your value proposition
The retail industry is saturated and incredibly competitive. To differentiate your business, retailers must define a value proposition and stay true to this. If your value proposition is based on being price competitive, it’s important to have the right tools to deliver this. For instance, utilise a system that monitors other online stores and ensures your products remain competitively priced.
Your value proposition may not be price driven and instead be focused on exceptional customer service. For example, returns are an area that often leads to dissatisfaction. According to Australia Post, 29 per cent of survey respondents said it was too much effort to organise a return. In comparison, 34 per cent indicated it was too expensive to return a product. Taking the hassle out of delivery and returns will improve loyalty.
One Australian retailer living true to their value proposition is Victorian spirits retailer, Blackhearts & Sparrows. Their online presence well-styled, clearly categorised and lets customers know when to expect their orders. To deliver on such a promise, the online store is seamlessly connected to the retailers’ supply chain management technology so that orders are filled and dispatched with a fast turnaround.
Sharpen your advantage with data and insights
Every retail business has the potential to be a data-driven business – taking the guesswork out of strategic decision making. Data is one of the most valuable resources a retailer has, and it can revolutionise the experience for your customers.
For instance, do you know the delivery options your customers prefer? Are they more likely to want to express delivery, or perhaps they prefer click-to-collect? Research has found that 60 per cent of Australians will abandon a shopping cart if the shipping cost is higher than expected, so providing options and even special offers on this up-front, helps to capture sales.
The same goes for tailored promotions. If you know a large proportion of your customers purchase several items together, why not run a promotion and serve these as contextually relevant suggested items to shoppers as they browse your site? You can also cross-promote separate items based on the customers’ purchase history at checkout.
Just like a high-performance retail staff representative knows to pick on subtle cues to guess a customer’s preferences, AI-fuelled business intelligence solutions can help you visualise and analyse large e-commerce trends as they happen.
The online behaviours of a customer should enable your system to personalise better with tailored offers and recommendations. The more you understand your customers’ shopping habits and customise their experience accordingly, the more aligned your customers will feel to your brand.
While many elements form a successful e-commerce strategy, it’s critical to keep the customer experience at the heart of your holistic approach and stay true to your brand’s value across every channel.
Written by Chris Stolke, Manager and Head Digital Strategist, Pronto Woven.
Read this article on pg 30 in the latest edition of our magazine The Retailer, Issue #68 out now!