Chris Morley discusses the 2012 eCommerce year, a dramatic year which has seen the GST Debate discussed all most weekly, the service expectations of online consumers increase, advertising standards board making brands on Facebook be responsible for all content on their pages, Bernie Brooks CEO of Myer say that traditional retailers will rule online in 3 years, and that online advertising will surpass traditional advertising in 2013 for the first time. Enjoy the 2012 eCommerce review, looking at the main development of the year according to Chris Morley MD of Online Market Experts.
Australian eBay MD Deb Sharkey said at the Internet Conference this year that the lines between online and offline are blurring – and I completely agree and feel that is been one of the biggest developments of 2012. This has been the year that the old models of retail gave way to the needs and expectations of the modern shopper. Research earlier this year has shown that 80% of shoppers research items online before purchasing, with 51% researching online and then buying in a physical store.
And this research and consumer behavior coined a couple of new phrases, couch commerce was one, ‘omnichannel’ another – omni is really multi channel has been around for years– but in my opinion which ever way you spin it or phrase it – it is all just retail!
What we saw in 2012 was the increased take up of purchases through mobiles, tablets, websites and the physical stores of the online presence. So the companies that can provide options on all these facilities are seeing good increase sales. It would appear that this hands the advantage back to those who have physical outlet already – and to circumvent this we have seen Amazon and other pureplay operations actively engaging in opening a physical presence to ensure they have the best possible service offering.
But it really is about consistency and making sure the way you present the offerings is in line with the method of engagement; poor site navigation, poor store presentation on tablets – these can directly impact foot traffic – so traditional retailers are in fact hurting themselves with their poor online offerings currently
The blurring of lines has been increased through our lifestyle and available technology – currently we have less ‘free time’ then 10 years ago, there is a convenience factor in starting shopping n the couch, and as such our shopping pattern is more like a spider web than a direct flight pattern. Each string of our shopping can go in a new way.
The focus by retailers must be on getting it right for 2013 – as the more the technology changes and improves, and more the younger shoppers gain financial independence – the more these figures will alter – retailers who are across all channels and on all forms of technology will (not may) get left behind. Advertisers are realizing this – retailers must as well.
The current abundance of data today allows for increased personalization to the consumer – personalization of merchandise that can be appropriately presented to the numerous channels and devices of engagement that the modern shopper will view a retailer through– retailers must recognize this in 2013 and ensure a consistent and meaningful presentation everywhere. The lines between online and offline aren’t blurred – they are intertwined!