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Retailers, Stop Feeling the Pinch and Start Providing an Experience

As a retailer, you’re likely keeping up with the news and have seen that Australia is currently experiencing its worst retail slump since the start of the 90s. It seems the recent tax cuts haven’t had quite the effect the Government was hoping, and retail businesses are feeling the strain.

Why is this? There are arguably a number of reasons, the largest being a high unemployment rate, currently sitting at 5.3% – and an even higher underemployment rate at 8.8%.1 Alongside this is a desire to embrace a more deliberate and conscious style of consumerism, in part thanks to the likes of Marie Kondo and other minimalists.2

That being said, while the national figures aren’t looking great, it’s not entirely the case across the country. Focusing solely on Victoria, we’re actually not doing too bad.

What’s different in Victoria?

First off, in Melbourne we’ve got Chaddy, the apparent Fashion Capital of Australia! But jokes aside, the state is currently in a better condition than the rest of the country, at least when it comes to jobs. Our unemployment rate is sitting at 4.6% – almost 1% lower than the national average – and our underemployment rate is almost half a percent lower at 8.5%.1

When it comes to shopping in the state, the value of clothing and footwear sales have grown 5.6% over the past year.³ While this may not necessarily mean people are shopping more, it certainly means we’re still willing to spend. But instead of looking for the cheapest items, we’re only opening our wallets to the things that will – to quote Marie Kondo – “spark joy”.2

So how do you make the most of this trend? How can you ensure your business gets a slice of the action?

A killer eCommerce strategy

‘Tis the season for sales – a subject we’ve covered at Impressive a lot recently. If you haven’t started gearing up your eCommerce store for the holiday season yet, there’s no time to waste. But what may have worked in previous years may not work anymore. The market has changed, as the above figures have indicated. 

To truly kill it this season, you need to reevaluate your shoppers. Get inside their heads and understand what it really is they’re looking for. You should already know what kind of content resonates with them, and where you can find them online, but do you know what’s more important to them at this time of year? Is it a percentage off your range, or bonuses and inclusions when they purchase from you? The answer will be different depending on the type of product or service you offer, as well as your average transaction value.

If you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to ask. This could mean you need to send a survey out to your customers, or you could ask your employees (in retail, employees are typically some of your biggest customers – listen to them!). 

Once you’ve got the information you need, it’s time to deliver on it. And I mean really deliver.

ecommerce strategy

The power of personalisation

Another topic we’ve been covering a lot at Impressive is personalisation. The “next big thing” to hit marketing, this is a trend that isn’t going away any time soon. If anything, it’s only getting bigger and becoming a more important part of your digital marketing strategy.

If you really want your eCommerce efforts to make an impact on your overall sales for the season, you need to start getting personal. This means segmenting your databases and tailoring your content – and potentially even your offers – to match what they want to see. Whether it’s an email that’s providing a loyalty discount, or a dynamic social ad that shows products they’ve already been looking at, you’ll quickly see an ROI for your efforts. Ultimately, it all comes down to delighting your customers.

Tying your online strategy with your in-store experience

Picture this: Your brand is online and everywhere. Ads are running nonstop and performing well. You’re delighting your customers left, right and centre with your personalised content and your customer service team are replying to messages within the hour. Most people are satisfied with the experience – excellent work!

But then, rather than completing a sale online, one of your customers decide they would rather go in store so they don’t have to wait for your product in the post. It’s the holiday season after all – timeframes are tight and people are in a hurry to buy gifts. 

Except your store is understaffed, or they’re not prepared for the influx of foot traffic as a result of your online marketing – and what should’ve been an easy win for your company has become a devastating loss. 

New research from the US suggests that bricks and mortar retailers are shooting themselves in the foot by cutting down on staff and focusing purely online over the holiday season.4 Instead, the two need to work together.

Becoming omnichannel

Approximately 44% of Australians buy from a retailer’s online store in comparison to 33% globally. This makes it clear that as a country, we still like to buy in-store. 

It’s also clear that we respond positively to online personalisation. While the slow increase in volume of sales across the country is a concern, it’s not one that can’t be overcome by the savvy retailer – especially in Victoria. All it takes is an omnichannel approach to your in-store and online marketing.

Essentially, when we shop, we want to be given the “special treatment”. We want to feel valued. By ensuring that your digital marketing matches the treatment you provide in your bricks and mortar store, you’re far more likely to see a growth in revenue this holiday season.

Just look at Fantastic Furniture. Their omnichannel vision involved offering click and collect within 60 minutes of an online purchase – a market-leading speed for the service. This has dramatically increased both their site traffic and in-store visitors.

instore visitors

Focus on providing an experience – not a sale

SALE SALE SALE. We’re bombarded with it every year, and the proof is in the slump – the message just isn’t getting through anymore. Instead, retailers need to provide an “experience” – why should your customers choose to shop with you over your competitors? What are you doing that delights them or “sparks joy”?

Bringing this back to Chadstone for a moment, let’s take a look at Apple. I’m positive that this year their sales figures will be fine, both overseas and in Australia. That’s because they know what their customers want. Their online shop is clean, sharp and beautiful, just like their products – and their stores are exactly the same. 

On top of this, the level of customer care you receive online completely matches what you receive in-store, and they utilise their vast amount of data to ensure you’re only seeing the products they offer that interest you. Whether you buy online or in-store doesn’t matter to them – as long as you’re having the Apple experience the revenue is coming their way.

Start delighting your customers

Whether you’re a retailer operating in Victoria or elsewhere in Australia, there’s an opportunity this season to get ahead of the curve and fight off the retail slump. Don’t let the figures dissuade you – it’s a challenge that can be overcome, with the right digital marketing and the right experience.

At Impressive, we’re experts at eCommerce. If you want to kick start your revenue goals, we’re offering a free 45-minute strategy session to help get your business growing. Don’t waste time doing the same old thing, discover how you can do things differently and get ahead today!

Further reading

  1. https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia/latest-release
  2. https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/why-marie-kondo-is-helping-to-keep-interest-rates-low-20191106-p5380r.html
  3. https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/worrying-sign-retail-slumps-to-worst-performance-since-last-recession-as-jobs-weaken-20191104-p5378r.html
  4. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-27/retail-woes-partly-self-inflicted/11151888

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