Australian retailers are planning to expand their e-commerce budgets this year, a report from CouriersPlease has found. Two out of three retailers will be boosting their e-commerce efforts, following the overwhelming growth of online retail in 2020.
The report found that 63 percent of retailers experienced an increase in sales between 23 March and 4 September 2020. In particular, one-third of the respondents said they experienced an uplift of sales by up to 30 percent, with 21 percent of respondents citing an increase of more than 50 percent. In contrast, only 22 percent said their online sales remained the same as prior to COVID-related shutdowns.
As consumers become more comfortable with e-commerce, it’s the perfect opportunity for retailers to further expand their offering. “Consumers are becoming more comfortable shopping online and the retail sector is continuing to grow,” said Paul Roper, the Chief Commercial Officer at CouriersPlease.
“As such, online competition will grow alongside customer expectations, and retailers are best to refine their eCommerce strategies ongoing to ensure they are performing. I believe key areas for improvement within e-tailer online strategies are the customer experience, from product search on the site right through to the last mile delivery. As part of this, retailers could also review and enhance their returns process, which includes choosing a delivery partner that aligns with their 2021 goals.”
Ten percent of retailers made the switch to e-commerce in 2020 due to a lack of online presence | via Unsplash
According to CouriersPlease, 66 percent of online retailers will be putting more recourses and funds into enhancing their online offering. Furthermore, 44 percent said they would be increasing their e-commerce budget by more than 20 percent, with a further 18 percent expanding their e-commerce budget by 40 percent.
So, where will this money go? CouriersPlease reported that 49 percent of retailers increased their sales and promotions, 45 percent enhanced social media activity and spend, and 35 percent improved and optimised their online platforms in an effort to engage better with their customer base. Furthermore, 31 percent said they communicated more with their customers, and 30 percent further incentivised their shopping base. Another 21 percent increased its advertising spend.
The report also found that 60 percent of retailers shifted their business focus in 2020 to further increase sales during a time of market volatility. The most common reason for this was a decline in sales, which 26 percent of respondents cited as the reason for the pivot online. Moreover, a potentially long recession was cited by 25 percent of respondents as the core reason for the pivot, and 10 percent cited a lack of online presence. Interestingly, eight percent of respondents said that they pivoted online due to a need for a better customer acquisition process and strategy.
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