The Great Depression was one of the most devastating financial and social events of the last two hundred years. Millions lost their jobs, assets were wiped out, and the world economy took the better part of ten years to recover. It’s also believed that it created more millionaires, as a percentage of the population than any other period in our history.
So, will the arrival of Amazon in Australia be the end of Australian retail – or the beginning of something great?
The pattern of disruption and disaster creating opportunity has repeated itself throughout history; and for Australian retailers on the eve of facing competition from the world’s largest online retailer, now could be a time for fear, or a time to reap the rewards.
The arrival of Amazon in Australia is causing much fear within the retailing industry. Doomsayers see it as the end of retail, but the arrival of the $100 billion behemoth will shake up an industry that many feel needs to reinvent itself anyway.
So how will Amazon benefit existing Australian retailers and where will the new opportunities lie?
It will uncork online retail once and for all. The development of online retail in Australia has been a combination of new start-ups and haphazard attempts from existing retailers. As such, the public has been slow to embrace the online experience as much as other countries. Amazon will unleash online demand and create more opportunities in this area for those serious about developing their online presence.
It will separate the strong from the weak. The first to go in any shake-up is the poor performers or those who are unable – or unwilling – to adapt. They will be cleaned out during the coming shake-up giving more wiggle room for everyone else.
It will set an expectation for retailers to become smarter. Retail has lacked a hare to chase, and its level of innovation has been slow as a result. Amazon will force retailers to seriously think about their brand and how they can reinvent the customer service experience they bring to their customers.
So where should you focus your resources, money and energy to compete?
Develop a point of difference. How will you be different to Amazon and your other competitors? What will your customers get from shopping with you?
Using technology to individualise the experience. Technology has enabled mass marketing delivery and it is likewise increasingly enabling personalised experiences through the ability to recognise and cater for customer’s requirements. From segmented email lists to artificial intelligence, technology will continue to provide smart retailers with the scope to further improve the customer experience.
Delivery and risk. Customers want it now…how will you get it to them? Shoppers cite lost or late deliveries as one the biggest annoyances with shopping online; how can you reduce the purchase risk, so the decision to buy your product becomes a no-brainer?
Smart retailers will reinvigorate every area of their business, ensuring their online experience is optimised, their customer experience and user interaction are fully honed, and their marketing reflects a genuine uniqueness that their business offers. Amazon’s growth in the U.S. has not been bad news for everyone.
Companies such as Deliv have taken on Amazon in their home market, emphasising the very thing that retailers still have an advantage over Amazon with: proximity to their customers and ability to deliver more quickly if they choose to. Companies like Deliv have provided a vehicle for smart retailers to take on Amazon at their own game and these same opportunities will open up across Australia.
Retail still has a substantial advantage in delivering a personal experience to its customers but to truly ramp up development across web technology, marketing and the user interaction experience will require an investment of funds beyond the normal working capital of most small retailers.
Business loans for retailers can be an effective way of funding growth and the team at Bigstone can arrange a small business loan in as little as 24 hours.