Posted on Friday, August 17th, 2012
Australian retailer Myer is embracing the growing trend of online shopping by its customers, adding Wi-Fi connectivity to all its stores and trialling iPads for sales assistants. The department store chain is also scaling back its physical store expansion, cutting the number of new stores it plans to open over the next five years from 100 to 75.
Myer’s Megan Foster speaking at a retail forum said that whilst internet sales only accounted for just 1 per cent of total revenue, they were growing at a phenomenal week on week rate of 300 per cent.
International retailers such as Marks & Spencer have a much higher percentage of total revenue coming from online sales. M&S for example receives 5.6 per cent of total sales from the internet at Saks the figure is as high as 9.2 per cent.
“Today’s shoppers are time-poor, hyper-connected, very fashion-conscious, like to have the latest products and want to be delighted and surprised by new ideas and products when they shop online and at the bricks and mortar store,” she said.
“Myer.com is not only a store, it is a research tool for shoppers. We are now able to track and understand what customers want when they shop in-store and online.”
As more retailers better integrate their online and physical shopping experience Ms. Foster said fundamentals such as attentive service and store design remained critical to winning and retaining customers.
“At the end of the day, the bricks and mortar store is still very important, as customers expect an enjoyable shopping experience with the store offering the widest range of products, at the best prices matched by personalised service and well-informed sales assistants,” Ms Foster said.
James Pallant a market research consultant agrees and added that many shoppers decide to shop at a specific store if they believe the store had competitive prices and the product range is wide.
“Shoppers want good store design, in-store product technology and click-and-collect in-store,” Mr Pallant said.
The Online Retail Sales Index compiled by National Australia Bank estimates online spending during June rose by a whopping 19 per cent year on year.