Our research suggests that AU250 retailers are making slow but steady progress in their Mobile & Cross-channel offerings
Modern retail is about linking channels. Even pureplays, retailers without physical stores, need to ensure that customers looking online for goods receive the same information via mobile as they do via desktop. In addition, pureplay customers expect to be able to receive purchases or pick them up from local locations at times that are convenient to them.
In many respects, the challenge this represents is one of attitude. Retailers need to be prepared to work to make weaving across channels easier for customers. RetailX research quantifies retailers’ progress in the Mobile & Cross-channel Dimension by focusing on click-and-collect sophistication, returns and also retailers’ mobile performance.
Currently seen as a mark of sophistication, click and collect will become a standard offering in Australia over the coming years. We base this prediction on what’s happened in Europe and the USA. Whether Australian retailers will ever be able to offer such services as next-day click and collect services from lockers in remote locations is doubtful, but such services will without doubt become commonplace in major cities.
But that’s for the future. For now, 28% of AU250 retailers offer click and collect. The sectors performing most strongly here are homeware (32% of retailers offer click and collect), sports and outdoor equipment (32%), and children’s toys. Among the best-performing sectors, there’s early evidence of greater sophistication. Next-day collection, for instance is offers by 8% of Top250 retailers, a figure exceeded by the homeware (16%), children’s toys and accessories (15%), and sports clothing (13%) sectors. Similarly, 7% of the AU250 offer same-day collection, a figure bettered by the children’s toys and accessories (15%), homeware (11%) and consumer electronics (10%) sectors.
In contrast, the consumer electronics (16%), cosmetics (10%), books (10%), and stationery and craft (0%) sectors have been comparatively slow to implement click-and-collect services. This is curious because it potentially opens retailers up to competition from new entrants to the market, including pureplays, marketplaces and international retailers.
The facility to return online purchases to stores is valued by customers, and 59% of multichannel retailers in the AU250 offer this service. Strong-performing sectors here include children’s toys and accessories (67%), fashion clothing (64%), sports and outdoor equipment (64%), and fashion accessories (64%). In contrast, just 28% of multichannel consumer electronics retailers and 42% of multichannel cosmetics retailers offer this service.
As yet, services that allow returns via third-party locations such as collection points, post offices or other shops are underdeveloped in comparison to, for example, the UK, with just 17% of the Top250 offering this service as against 26% of IRUK Top500 retailers. Sports and outdoor equipment retailers (43%) perform most strongly here, followed by sports footwear (33%) and sports clothing (31%) retailers.
Increasingly, consumers prefer to research and shop using smartphones rather than their desktops. This is reflected in RetailX research showing that 57% of web traffic to the AU250 is from mobile devices. By sector, the figure is highest in the homeware sector (63%) but even the software sector, where there are specific reasons why consumers may favour desktop, sees 41% of browsing arrive via mobile.
Glue Store stands out in the research for offering same-day collection, next-day collection and stock visibility. Princess Polly has similarly thought about its cross-channel offering, but focuses attention in different areas: offering a sophisticated mobile site while also keeping up with the basics.
Other retailers that excel in this Dimension include Coles, Kitchen Warehouse and David Jones.