Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The state of retail in Australia

Gosh Australian retailers are slow. I can't remember the last time I bought from an online retail store that is based in Australia! I love Australian designers and brands but the experience just isn't right.

What are the issues then? As a bonafide fashion lover and an experienced digital producer, I'm putting it out there... I actually wrote about this topic nearly 3 years ago! AMAZING nothing has changed. Well not much!

When you can go to Asos.com or UrbanOutfitters.com and buy 6 things for $AU100 there is little hope that you'd spend the same number of dollars purchasing just one thing from Sportsgirl or Country Road.

Included in price is the postage. Overseas stores generally have free shipping domestically. The average cost of postage from online stores within Australia is $10-15. Yikes.

Under the heading of "stock" we have both the difference between what's online and what's in store, and in general the availability of items compared with large stores overseas.

A store like Urban Outfitters or TopShop have almost every item online that you can find instore. This is not true of their Australian counterparts such as Sportsgirl where there is a great gap between online and the store.

Is it stock management? Is it supply management? It can't be that hard to figure out, but I'd say this is the biggest factor in getting the dollars in retail spent online within Australia.

The experience
The overseas sites are cool, with blogs and opinion pieces, styling advice and more. Sportsgirl has embraced this idea which has no doubt increased their online profile greatly. Retailers such as Witchery have had online stores for a number of years, but are missing out on the extra factor that is part of the web. It's not Web 2.0, that's old news. It's more than that, it could be called the unknown factor as it's so hard to pinpoint.

Beyond the unknown factor, it's also about useability. Lots of retail sites (whether e-commerce or not) are still built entirely in Flash which is a big issue with useability and scalability across platforms such as mobile and now the iPad market. E-commerce sites are notoriously poorly designed because the plug in shopping cart features are cost effective, but poorly designed.

So where to?
Australian retail needs to take the bull by the horns and get into the digital landscape. They need to employ digital project managers (like myself!), gun developers and strategists with sound experience and take on board their ideas.

[This post was inspired by this]


Dollymic said...

you are absolutely right. can't remember when was the last time i purchased online from an aussie site. probably was from withcery and the earrings i bought was broken. sigh!

carla said...

It's interesting isn't it. When you think about shopping online, how many times do you actually go to an Australian website!?!