As we move at an alarming pace towards the busiest of retail seasons, we’re led to believe that this Christmas everyone will be doing all of their shopping online and offshore. The arrival of Amazon down under also casts a shadow over retailers’ Christmas cheer, but will it really dampen shoppers’ ‘shop local’ spirit?
Australia’s overall retail stats show that in September, an anticipated rebound in retail sales failed to materialise. The market had forecast a 0.4 percent uplift from August’s 0.7 per cent fall, but overall sales were flat.
So will Christmas will bring some retail cheer?
Trends over the past few years show online shopping around the Christmas season is increasing - not really a surprise given the ease of shopping from a keyboard and the rise of unified commerce, which puts the customer at the centre of the retail universe. Purchasing online, in-store or a combination of both gives customers options on where and how to shop.
In Australia, the online retail market was reportedly worth $21.65 billion in the 12 months to December 2016, according to the NAB Online Retail Sales Index. This level was equivalent to 7.1% of the bricks-and-mortar sector, which was responsible for 303.2 billion in the year to November 2016. Corresponding figures for 2014 were an online retail market of $16.4 billion, equivalent to 6.8% of traditional spending at physical stores.
Interestingly, during December 2016, shopping online in the domestic market accelerated while international transactions slowed, with close to 81% of online shopping purchases made closer to home.
A time of giving
The time leading up to Christmas gives you the opportunity to show what your brand is all about. Contribute to the spirit of the season by treating your customers to a memorable shopping experience, especially in-store. Consider how you make a visit exciting, memorable and fun.
Remember too, that purchases made in-store often originate from an online interaction, so update your website and social media to make interactions with your brand timely and special.
While there was a cautious start to the last third of 2017, it doesn’t have to signal a lean Christmas for you. Bring your brand’s own festive cheer alive and enjoy the season’s success.