The way to get ready for one of the largest shake-ups in Australian retail in the past few decades.
The news is out: Amazon is set to roll out across Australia over the next few decades. Whilst there isn’t any officially communicated Amazon Australia launching date, different media sources have indicated either the past quarter of 2017 or premature 2018. What exactly does this mean for Aussie retailers?
It is expected that an Amazon market in Australia will have a staggering effect on the form of retail and is surely a threat to a number of sectors of the business. The statement alone in 2017 took around $200 billion off the value of ASX listed Australian merchants. Recent analysis from Credit Suisse predicted that Amazon could have up to 5 percent of market share in several of classes in just five years’ time. The brand currently holds powerful influence within consumer electronics, homewares, clothing, toys and sporting goods in the usa.
In Australia, a Nielsen poll suggested that electronics, books, clothing and shoes are the most likely things to be bought through the Australian Amazon website. Younger demographics are expected to be especially conscious of the brand’s move to Australia and make purchases from the retail giant.
The challenge for local retailers is that Amazon have got their client experience down pat. The focus is on quick shipping and very affordable pricing for their tremendous product range — so much so that a client will often try a product in a local shop and go home to purchase it online.
Even if you’re not working in a place that Amazon will play from day one; it’s difficult to tell where they will move over time. And their market presence is going to drive up overall consumer expectations of retail experience criteria.
So what can Australian retailers do to survive Amazon’s coming?
The first step is to begin acting now! Whilst Amazon’s market entry seems some way off; the business changes needed to maintain a strong position when they arrive will not be implementable overnight. They’ll require careful planning and implementation.
Identify and serve a Special tribe
You will need to be certain you’ve identified a special niche so your offering isn’t seen as a commodity which can be simply obtained from Amazon or others at the lowest price and fastest delivery rate. The home-grown Aussie brand story could help endear your intended audience farther to you and also make them less inclined to open a new tab to Amazon. However you’ll need over the’patriotism’ card to genuinely stick out. If you can demonstrate your passion and mission is just like your clients and you have a better way of helping them fulfil this, then you are going to go beyond a transactional relationship and set a tribe of loyal clients. Offering personalised service and bespoke products can help set you apart in a crowded industry. Likewise, smart promotional offers and loyalty programs driven by individual customer profiles may also offer a means to distinguish your offering and reward loyalty on your tribe. Consider the entire marketing mix and how each component can help deliver unrivalled, inimitable worth to them.
Leverage instore experience
Bricks and mortar retailers may provide an experience that’s difficult for a pure eCommerce play version like Amazon to completely replicate online — and they ought to use it to their benefit. Creative environments that leverage the chance for face-to-face interaction with specialist staff (and other shoppers) and stimulation of each the sixth senses help create a more emotional connection to your brand and build confidence. Empowering your shop staff to have the ability to give such unrivalled service is crucial. Wise systems and processes can let them provide complimentary product recommendations, complete real-time inventory transfers from different shops and build a profile on clients for prospective personalisation — all adding to the perceived value of an in-store trip. Not having inventory of the ideal products will become inexcusable so data-driven stock optimization will become business critical. And if you offer home delivery from in-store purchases, shoppers will expect them to fulfill Amazon-level fulfilment and delivery criteria.
For multi-store operators another variable will also be crucial — consistency of expertise. Whichever store your client sets foot in, they should feel like it’s the house of your tribe.
Match the advantage online
Amazon’s entry will set the default standard for eCommerce convenience expectations — each merchant will have to elevate their game with their internet presence. Your online shopping experience, logistics and fulfilment will all have to be up to speed. Clients will only put up with all these flaws or late parcels before turning into a retail powerhouse which they understand is efficient and cost effective. Click to collect (in your shop ) could become a potential differentiator if you can follow this up with a great in-store experience.
Bringing it all together — seamless omni-channel encounter
If your in-store and internet experience are disconnected then expect to find clients take their business elsewhere. Many retailers are still working both of these sales channels with different systems and processes making them sell products which are really out-of-stock and requiring plenty of manual effort to keep everything in sync. Not acceptable in age of Amazon in Australia.
Do you have your 7S’s right?
There’s a tried and trusted frame that helps to look at how well an organisation is configured to take care of changes in its environment known as the McKinsey 7S framework. Looking at all these components and how they can help you best service your tribe could be a very valuable exercise in preparation for the transformational change Amazon is very likely to have on the business.
POS Systems — one component, but a critical one
1 element of the 7S frame is your systems. The ideal POS system can enable you to transform your entire retail supply chain such as in-store operations, coordinated eCommerce, inventory & logistics, promotion & loyalty and total business intelligence.
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