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Why are Australian retailers losing the online battle to offshore companies? They’re not engaging the customers, says report.

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With Australian online retail sales increasingly going to offshore sites, eMarketingConnected decided to examine the online practices of national retailers. The results presented in its Beyond the Basics report show that Aussie retailers are failing to engage consumers and to provide them with a full online experience.

This year, 44% of all Australian online retail sales will go to retailers overseas, an increase from the 40% reported last year. To understand the phenomenon, eMarketingConnected conducted research and the outcomes are damning.

The report suggests that two thirds of the retailers are only doing the minimum to engage their consumers online, providing almost no social interaction or personalisation in the buying experience.

The Beyond the Basics report authors also stress that only less than one third of the retailers surveyed are using tools like videos and reviews to increase their sales, tools that have proved invaluable to the biggest overseas retailers.

“The report shows that even the biggest and most successful retailers in Australia, such as David Jones, Myer and Harvey Norman, are behind in their approach to selling online,” said Peter Paterson, eMarketingConnected founder.

“If Aussie retailers don’t look to their overseas competitors for inspiration, they stand to lose customers who are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their use of multiple online channels – review sites, blogs and social networks – so they can find out more about a brand, product or service,” Paterson added.

The report clearly suggests that unless Australian retailers rethink their online strategies, they will continue to lose business to the more sophisticated offshore retailers.

According to Peter Paterson, “the first step for retailers is to gain a deeper understanding of who their customers are and how they prefer to research and buy products, that way they can implement the right multichannel engagement strategies. It’s only through offering rich, meaningful experiences both online and in-store that retailers will see sales improve.”

The Beyond the Basics – Why the largest Australian retailers are losing the online battle report surveyed 62 Australian retailers across four sectors: household goods, clothing and accessories, food retailers, and department stores and multi retailers. The research examined four online areas: website, social media, email/online CRM and in-store integration.

Photo by Cyron

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