Is Australia retail sector underperforming?

Source: Linkedin

The recent release of the Retail Trade, Australia, Feb 2016 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed a sluggish growth in retail sales making industry players rather disappointed. The estimate retail sales rose 0.2 % compare with January but certainly is not very spectacular. The key fact is that Australia retail sector has been suffering since 2010 and recent increase in unemployment and weak consumer spending power is putting additional pressure on retailers to reduce their sales margin and operational expenses. Even positive contributions from finance, health and transport sectors were offset by decreased in mining and construction activities along with declining exports. However, efforts are in place to keep the currency low and encourage economic activity as the nation endeavors to drift away from mining-led growth.

Retailers have started to invest in marketing automation technologies to monitor customer experience. Measuring customer experience (CX) and improving customer engagement to drive customer loyalty and increasing sales is no longer a luxury. However, retailers are taking a cautious approach and only
looking at technology investments critical for their products, marketing,
and customer strategies. Australian consumers are also cautious and selective in
what they are willing to spend their money on, at this environment of
economic uncertainity, intensifying supplier competition and increasing
challenges in winning wallet share.

Driven by competition and the realisation that online and mobile retailing can deliver more opportunity rather than just mitigating competitive threat, retailers are driving genuine investments in omni-channel technologies. However, retailers are looking at the costs, benefits, and challenges associated
with technology deployments related to omni-channel investments. Many
retailers are seeking insights to help them to assess the imperative of undertaking these investments and the dynamics of competitive environment they will operate in, as more of their competitors make deeper technology investments. In addition, retailers are looking for technology vendors that can offer them solutions to address the issues particularly faced by this sector and help them to justify investments that will deliver their strategy most effectively.

One thing for sure, Australian retailers do not have many options moving forward but accepting the fact that to stay in this market they need to implement emerging technologies enabling them to analyze their customer journey and to create competitive advantage by focusing on conversion and retention and maximizing consumer lifetime value.

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