As we have already noted in our strategic overview feature, Australian retail is delicately poised. Consumer behaviour is changing as people adopt multichannel shopping, as the smartphone replaces the desktop as the device people most often use to do their online shopping, and much more besides.
For certain sectors and certain kinds of retailers, this is especially challenging. It’s worth noting this is by no means always down to an unwillingness to engage with the issues here. It’s intriguing to note, for instance, that many of the problems hitting mid-range Australian department stores – too much retail space, competition from brands selling direct, discounters and specialist pureplays, some consumers perceiving a certain frumpiness – have parallels
in the UK and USA.
The point to notice is that these issues are hitting companies that often have sophisticated multichannel offerings. It’s not a lack of foresight that’s having negative effects so much as the sheer pace of change.
If that sounds challenging, we wouldn’t argue, yet it’s also worth noting that Australian retailers still have huge competitive advantages, not least a close proximity to the growing Asian market. We would also emphasise again how, in an age when consumers around the world are constantly looking for new products and brands, any retailer that can cut through by being authentically Australian is likely to gain traction.
To see which companies succeed in doing this, our ongoing research is available to members of our publishing partner, InternetRetailing.net. Members also have the opportunity to access our exclusive research into the UK and European markets.