A survey in 2019 by Australia Post charted the increasing growth in on-line shopping and the resultant increase in parcel delivery services in Australia. The survey showed Australian shoppers over the age of 18 years received an average of 1.9 parcels a year in 2017. This increased by 21% in 2018, and back then was forecast to grow annually by about 20%.
This, of course, was before COVID-19. Since then, with the massive restrictions on physical shopping, more and more people are going on-line to make their purchases. Behind these statistics is another important observation. As more and more people try on-line buying for the first time, the novelty of doing so progresses to a point where the average person becomes very comfortable with this form of shopping.
Generally speaking, people’s experience of on-line purchases has been positive, leading to more frequent purchases of a wider variety of products and product categories. At first, Department and Variety stores were the fastest growing retail sector on-line, with rapid year-on-year growth. But now that growth rate is slowing as more and more retailers enter the on-line marketplace and compete for on-line customers – notably fashion, homewares and appliances.
As the variety of retailers moving on-line continues to broaden, and consumers continue to embrace this new channel, it becomes imperative for virtually every retail business to have an on-line, e-commerce presence. COVID-19 has devastated many retail businesses and the traditional business model of physical shop fronts (bricks and mortar) is rapidly becoming less viable for many retailers.
Those that are able to develop a new strategy of on-line retailing will be those who will be most likely to survive and prosper, post-COVID. This does not necessarily mean dumping the old and moving totally to the new. There will always be a place for in-store shopping and once we come out of COVID, there is likely to be a huge pent-up demand for some ‘retail therapy’ as people hunger to get out and about again.
But the on-line world is no longer a niche corner of retailing. It is becoming mainstream with Covid-19 accelerating this transition at a rapid rate. Online sales will continue to make up an increasing percentage of retail sales. The world will not be the same beyond 2021 and so now is the time to prepare for the new reality, and on-line e-commerce will be a big part of that.
If you would like to explore how to transition to on-line retailing for your business, either partially or fully, call the retail strategy experts at Wollermann Franchise Developments for an initial, no-obligation discussion and make sure your business is one of those to prosper in the very near future.
Roger Dickeson – Wollermann Franchise Developments