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Insight around the world (IRM54)

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Mark Dougan, Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, Frost & Sullivan

Attracting and retaining customers is the leading challenge for Australian retailers but only 58% of retailers have a customer experience management strategy in place, according to research conducted by Frost & Sullivan and sponsored by NetSuite and the Australian Retailers Association (ARA).

While customer experience management is identified as the top strategic priority among ARA members, many retailers are yet to develop and implement strategies to improve it. In addition, many are not formally measuring and monitoring the experience of their customers, with challenges including the absence of a single customer database, as well as a lack of a single commerce platform across all channels that enable the consistent management of a customer’s shopping journey.

The study indicates that while over three-quarters of retailers currently have a customer database, its value and use is variable. Half of these retailers send promotional messages periodically to customers by email or SMS, but in most cases these efforts are generic and not targeted at individual customers. Less than 20% currently make an effort to measure customer value, which allows them to identify and manage their best customers. In addition, less than a fifth make a proactive effort to contact former customers that have not purchased for a while.

These challenges are raised against a backdrop of caution amongst Australian retailers, if not pessimism, about retail conditions in 2015, with a market that’s expected to show limited signs of improvement; 39% believe conditions are worse than a year ago, with only 28% thinking they are better (compared to 35% in 2013). While high and inflexible operating costs, increased competition from online retailers, and recruiting and retaining staff were cited as key challenges facing retail businesses in 2015, attracting and retaining customers came in at number one.

On the positive side, the majority of Australian retailers are adapting to changing market conditions by becoming multi-channel businesses, with almost 90% now operating a website (up from just over 50% in 2013); over 80% having a social media presence (up from 32% in 2013); 61% offering transactional capabilities on their website (up from 38% in 2013); and 43% having a mobile website or app (up from 28% in 2013).

Goran Fak, Global Product Manager, Effective Measure

Events, holidays and religion have a huge impact on how people use the internet. It’s interesting to understand different regions, religions and local events so that marketers can tailor advertising accordingly. Effective Measure conducted research around internet usage during Ramadan in South East Asia and the UAE in 2015 and uncovered some interesting findings.

In Saudi Arabia most internet consumption occurred during the night (between 11pm and 5am). This is a dramatic shift to the regular behaviours for other months of the year. For UAE, Malaysia and Indonesia there was increased activity through the night and particularly before sunrise, but not as dramatic as Saudi Arabia. For example, in Indonesia there is a spike in Unique Browsers between 4am and 5am as people rise to eat before sunrise.

In Saudi Arabia, the peak hour for internet consumption during Ramadan is from 4am to 5am. This is compared to the peak outside Ramadan of 1pm to 2pm. In UAE, overnight traffic sees a dramatic increase during Ramadan, with internet traffic between 2am and 5am being twice that of other months. In the UAE, during the evening internet traffic peaks at 8pm, which suggest that people go online straight after Iftar. Morning and afternoon traffic for the UAE is lower during Ramadan suggesting that people are busy with other activities and/or on holidays during this time.

In Indonesia, internet consumption peaks in the early hours of the morning around 4am, while in Malaysia, it peaks around 5am, both suggesting that they get up early before sunrise to access the internet and eat. Although Malaysians get up a little later in the morning when compared to Indonesians, Malaysian afternoon traffic is lower during Ramadan than other months suggesting people are busy with other activities leading to Iftar.

Understanding the impact of Ramadan on how different regions use the internet is hugely important to retailers and anyone conducting marketing to these consumers. Knowing peak internet usage times allows companies to make changes to their online marketing campaigns in order to deliver the right message to the right person, at the right time

Oliver Prothmann, President, BVOH

More than 50 companies operate over 220 online marketplaces in Europe, proving the popularity of shopping online among consumers and the wide variety of offerings within European ecommerce. There are 39 online marketplaces in Germany alone, 24 in France and 14 in Italy. Even if many consumers are still not aware of it, ecommerce is so much more than just Amazon and eBay. In addition to these ‘top dogs’, many other marketplaces have established themselves, and are well able to meet the very specific wishes of the customer.

Most marketplaces differ significantly from their competitors. The mechanisms used by the providers are highly variable with, for instance, open and closed markets. In the former, the etailer can register themselves, where as with the latter, the operator decides who may or may not be included. Marketplaces differ often also in the types of offer (buy now, auction, classified) and also the possibility of whether the transaction – the change of ownership – takes place directly within the marketplace or only upon delivery of the goods. The ‘Top-50 Online Marketplaces’ listing – as shown on www.bvoh.de – shows the most significant foreign marketplaces according to the traffic in relation to

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