online shopping

Australian ecommerce retailers have a bright future ahead.

Growth predictions expect that the Australian ecommerce market will balloon from around $13.9 billion AUD in 2017 to $21.7 billion AUD by the end of 2022.

As Australians increasingly adopt online shopping as a part of their daily lives, the ecommerce industry continues to evolve.   

On the supply side, ecommerce businesses will be eagerly embracing innovation and improvements in areas like customer experience and logistics to differentiate their offerings. 

From the customer’s perspective, it’s all about convenience, access to information, trust and customer service.    

What’s driving the growth?

Market penetration of online retail is expected to reach almost 70% by 2020.

Technology remains the driving force behind the growth of ecommerce in Australia. Mobile devices provide customers with a continuous, contextual stream of rich information to inform purchase decisions on the fly.

We are also seeing the next wave of innovative tech coming to the fore that will really shake up how we shop online. Augmented reality (AR) technology is already being used by leading brands to enhance customer’s decision comfort.

Swedish furniture gurus IKEA are using AR apps to show customers exactly what that funky ergonomic armchair would look like in the corner of their living room.

If that isn’t futuristic enough, Australia Post is testing parcel delivery via drones to support the development of an experimental package delivery service in the future.  

Social media is also slated to have an increasingly significant impact on the future of Australian ecommerce. PayPal is calling social commerce the next frontier for ecommerce.

Australian businesses are looking to foreign markets like China to better understand how the social commerce model works. With around half a billion Chinese users on the shopping-integrated WeChat app, it’s easy to see why social commerce is firmly on the radar of Australian ecommerce businesses.  

The logistics component of ecommerce is also fuelling ecommerce growth. Third-party logistics and delivery services continue to meet the growing needs of a hungry retail market. Considering the geographical size and population distribution of Australia, this is a significant challenge for businesses to maintain profit margins.

How is ecommerce changing from the business perspective?

In the race to provide customers with endless shopping options, the ecommerce marketplace is fragmenting. From the retailer’s perspective, it’s crucial to understand where to invest resources to develop a presence. It’s no longer sufficient for businesses to manage their own ecommerce store and expect to see consistent growth.

It’s up to ecommerce retailers to understand what other channels their customers gravitate toward and build a presence there, too.   

Social media is a proverbial goldmine for ecommerce retailers. As of September 2017, Instagram has over 800 million users and people are logging in multiple times a day (or hour) for fresh new content.

Retailers are seeing the potential for a broader customer base and a free form of creative, inspired advertising. Thousands of online and traditional business owners are now on Instagram, plugging their products and interacting with their customers on a more personal level.

Shopify now offers a range of tools for selling on social media. For example, their Instagram capabilities allow shop owners to display clickable pricing and products within their images for simple, streamlined customer access from social media to the shopping cart.

instagram ecommerce capabilities example

Image source: Shopify

Paired with Transdirect shipping integration, ecommerce business owners have worldwide potential at the tip of their fingers – or the tap of a touchscreen.

How is ecommerce changing from the customer perspective?

From the customer’s perspective, the online and offline worlds are closely integrated. Ecommerce should no longer be considered a purely transactional exchange. It’s the brand’s opportunity to personalise the experience, to engage and delight their customers.

Customers have naturally evolved a lower tolerance for inconvenience and error when shopping online. When a transaction is made, the customer places trust in the retailer that the transaction is secure and their data will be safe.

Successful ecommerce retailers bring as much of the instore experience as possible into the online context, to help create a seamless omnichannel ecosystem. Traversing various brand touchpoints easily on the path to purchase and complete the journey in the ecommerce store without frustrations is a huge value add to the modern consumer.   

How can your ecommerce business prepare for the future?

Manage costs

Investing in strategies that reduce the overall cost of operating an online store immediately starts to free up resources. This includes both operating and distribution costs involved with shipping and postage.

Improve the customer experience

Understanding your customers and what makes them want to purchase from you is the key to any successful retail business and this is especially true in the ecommerce world.

Because shoppers lack the physical interaction with your products and services, other aspects of the relationship factor in more heavily when shopping. Customers expect to be able to interact with social media channels on a mobile device, or purchase through the online store on a desktop and have a seamless, consistent experience.

Embrace technology

As digital technologies like augmented reality improve the real-time shopping experience of customers, it’s vital to stay up to date with the value-adds that your market responds to. Explore options within your budget and focus on technologies that enhance the customer experience or reduce those time consuming manual tasks performed by your team.  

Interested in simplifying the shipping process for your customers? We’d love to help! Contact the Transdirect team today!