The Evolution of the Retail Marketing Landscape in Australia

Leah Pope By Leah Pope | 07 Oct 2019

Australian retailers are going through an extraordinary era of change. An influx of new technologies combined with evolving consumer preferences are redefining the modern shopping experience as well as retailers’ marketing strategies.

A recent report on the state of retail in Australia revealed that online and in-store retailing are supplementary – 78 per cent of Australian consumers shop both online and offline simultaneously. As such, it is important for Australian retailers to invest in multi-channel retailing strategies and enhance their marketing capabilities to reach consumers at every touchpoint by leveraging one of their most valuable assets – data.

Retailers now have access to a large volume of data that can be used to better inform their business decisions. While the increasing number of touchpoints are placing consumers in the driver’s seat, they also represent great opportunities for retailers to expand their reach, boost sales, and grow their bottom line.

However for retail marketers to make the most of the opportunity at hand, they need to understand the key trends shaping the Australian retail industry and how they can be integrated into marketing strategies that resonate with today’s shifting retail landscape. The key to success lies in marketers’ abilities to leverage customer data to produce exceptional engagement and uncover deeper marketing analytics to meet consumers’ increasing expectations.

Top 3 trends transforming retail marketing

  1. Consumers crave relevant and seamless experiences, but retailers are failing to deliver 

Meeting consumers’ demands for personalisation and engagement is key to retaining their business. 80 per cent of customers believe the experience a company provides is just as important as the products or services it sells, and a majority say they have shifted brands because a competitor provided a better experience. Additionally, KMPG reported that personalisation and integrity are the key driving forces behind customer advocacy.

While most retail marketers recognise that customer journeys are the primary vehicle for sales, bringing a fast, seamless, and highly personalised experience to life eludes many– only 16 per cent of customers say companies excel at delivering connected experiences. As the number of channels for shoppers to interact with brands continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly important for brands to deliver effective and targeted messages at every touchpoint. Marketers need effective and powerful tools to build customer-focused strategies that effectively utilise customer data and insights in real-time, in order to create relevant experiences for customers throughout the entire shopping journey.

  1. Leveraging data to better understand consumers

Having a 360-view of the customer requires collecting and leveraging data and insights from every interaction. It means having visibility across what a customer has clicked on, what they bought and where they bought it, what their preferences are, which audience segment they fit into, and their views on their most recent customer service experience. As the number of channels and touchpoints has multiplied, so too has the volume of data that marketers must contend with in order to deliver hyper-personalised experiences across multiple channels. Disconnected technologies and departmental silos have also made it challenging for marketers to create a complete picture of their end customer.

Having a unified view of customers across every touchpoint, and engaging them with the right message, in the right place, and at the right time is key. It is also necessary to connect a variety of channels and data sources to execute powerful one-to-one experiences at scale based on what the retailer already knows about customers at any given moment.

  1. Measurement expands beyond marketing metrics to focus on the customer and business growth

In the past, marketers evaluated campaigns after the fact or ran occasional focus groups to gauge brand awareness. Now, marketers are responsible for delivering on a variety of business metrics, including growth, market share, return on investment and customer lifetime value. At the same time, marketers are also expected to align business success with a focus on the customer. As a result, customer experience is increasingly falling under the CMO’s remit, with the additional responsibility of measuring and improving the entire customer experience across marketing, sales, service, commerce, and more.

In the face of growing competition and more informed consumers, retail marketers must also think strategically about how they can capitalise on seasonal spikes such as Christmas, back-to-school, Easter and other events. Real-time measurement and optimisation are paramount for making the most of these ephemeral opportunities.

Capitalising on a tipping point in the retail industry 

With the retail industry continuing to transform at a rapid pace, retailers need to be able to respond to industry trends and deliver the experiences customers now expect by investing in intelligent marketing that delivers exceptional engagement, builds brand loyalty, and grows ROI.

AI-powered marketing analytics enables marketers to access and view data in real-time from a variety of sources, including campaigns, customer journeys, regions, business units, content, purchases and interactions. This, in turn, allows retailers to understand the bigger picture and drill down into their marketing spend, performance, and impact. With a holistic view of marketing analytics, retailers can make strategic decisions to pivot or double-down on campaigns depending on performance, fully optimising cyclical retail spikes and throughout the rest of the year.

Retail marketers who fail to deliver exceptional experiences will fail to capitalise on fleeting moments of attention from customers; customers who are already faced with endless distractions and competing options. A unified, always-on approach to marketing analytics can help marketers keep pace in the changing retail landscape and embrace the opportunities available.