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From the editor-in-chief

It’s close to a year since we published our Australia 250 (AU250) Footprint Report, which outlined our initial work in identifying the country’s largest retailers. In the months since, RetailX researchers have conducted research into six areas (which we call Dimensions) of RetailCraft that make up our quantitative and qualitative ranking: Strategy & Innovation, The Customer, Operations & Logistics, Merchandising, Brand Engagement, and Mobile & Cross-channel.

At a time when the Australian market is changing so quickly, the results are revealing. In particular, they show at a granular level how customers’ adoption of digital technologies and multichannel shopping is shaping the overall retail market, as evidenced by the recent travails of the department store sector.

Our research in the UK and Europe, where we have compiled similar lists for some years now, suggests this is just the beginning. Quite simply, customers like the convenience of being able to shop in ways that suit them. The shopper who orders an item via smartphone on the bus and requests it be delivered next day to a locker where it can be picked up is no longer an outlier – this is retail’s new normal.

The research also draws out how Australia is different from the rest of the world. Distance is a particular issue, in that it’s not just urban Australians who want multichannel, digitally driven retail offerings, yet there will always be cost implications when it comes to serving remote communities.

As we explore in our strategic overview, Asia has a strong influence on the Australian market. This plays into the way brands – both homegrown and international – pose a huge challenge to more traditional retailers, in that one reason brands are targeting Australia is because so many well-to-do tourists from countries such as China spend money in Australia’s cities.

As to how the Australian market will develop in the years ahead, we will continue to conduct research, with our next report including data on the trends of the 200-plus metrics covered here. In the meantime, we would welcome your feedback. As a retail professional, what do you make of our initial findings? Where could our work be improved? Do you work for a company that could become a Knowledge Partner and help deepen our understanding? Please do get in touch.

Ian Jindal

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