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Retailers embracing online, says ARA

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) executive director Russell Zimmerman says there is a misconception that most Australian retailers were resentful of online competition, when in fact more and more Australian retailers were competing effectively in the online market.

The ‘SecureInsight: The Future of Shopping report recently released by PayPal showed domestic retail accounted for 70 percent of online spending by Australian shoppers, and online shopping is showing unprecedented growth.

‘”PayPal Here”, which enables mobile retailers such as coffee carts to turn their phones into a cash register and allow customers to swipe their cards is an example of the new technology available and the blurring of the boundaries between online and offline shopping.

Another opportunity (adopted by Camera House in its recent catalogues), is QR Code technology, which allows consumers to see an advertisement, snap a barcode using their smartphone and then proceed to purchase the product either at the physical store or online.

Director of web design company Web123 Kieran Morrissey said mobile friendly websites were becoming vital as Australian reached one of the highest smart phone saturation rates in the world.

‘Savvy retailers asking for ways to connect with their customers while they’re on the go have actually driven our latest business initiative to give all of our clients mobile websites as a complementary component to any standard web package, Mr Morrissey said.

Zimmerman said the ARA was encouraging members to explore all of these online tools, as well as enablement products for online layby, social commerce, eBay stores and customer smart phone payment to help reach their customers and ensure their business strategy will withstand the future of retail.

‘Tumultuous changes to technology and shopping habits bring tremendous opportunities for retailers, especially those smaller retailers who are able to market niche products to a wider platform of potential customers across Australia and even globally,’ Mr Zimmerman said.

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