This post is going to be more about me discussing some issues I find important in the Australian eCommerce realm, as well as sharing news that Kiehl’s has recently opened up their first Australian eCommerce store and a notes I wanted to point out.
As you guys may or may not know, during the day I work in IT. More specifically I work in eCommerce, an industry I absolutely love being a part of 🙂 Unfortunately it’s an industry that has been the focus of a lot of negative media attention lately and naturally is something I am very close to.
In recent years, Australian retailers have been slowly losing ground to their overseas competitors, no surprise there as I’m sure most people reading this blog post have only contributed to this figure, I know I have.
Our local retailer’s reaction to this? Absolutely appalling, instead of working towards helping and providing to their consumers, they are instead fighting to have pointless regulations put in place to only alienate themselves further from the Australian consumer.
Australian retailers need to recognise that times have changed and respond accordingly. According to surveys the main reasons people choose to shop online are:
• Cheaper prices
• Larger range
• Ability to browse online / compare prices
• Enticing offers / free shipping
• Personalised experience
The term, “You attract more bees with honey than vinegar” couldn’t be truer for local retailers. The one thing they have that many online overseas competitors don’t have is they are physically here.
Not only could they be addressing all the issues above, they could be using their brick and mortar stores to their advantage. They need to lower prices, set up online counterparts, branch into the mobile and tablet market and provide consumers a multi-channel experience.
Only local brands will be able to allow consumers to do things like place an order whilst on the train home from work on their mobiles and pick up in store that evening, and many more. Local retailers are able to more closely interact with their consumers, they really need to take advantage of this!
One company who I think is a great example of this, and is currently leading the “fight” against overseas competitors is Kiehl’s.
About a month or so ago, they dropped their prices to be competitive with those in America. Keeping in mind that their prices do not match their American counterparts, BUT they’ve priced themselves in such a way that if you were to include shipping & fees to order from America, you’d pretty much be a little better off to just order here (or would be pretty much breaking even). A smart and strategic move on their behalf.
The other thing they’ve recently done is join the online market! You would not believe how many Australian companies in 2011 still do not have an online store, talk about living in the stone ages. So much valuable time and money wasted!
But not only have they gone online with their discounted prices, they’ve been sure to bring across the same marketing strategies used in America, such as:
• Free samples with every order
• Free shipping for the month of June
• Free gift with purchase (lip gloss) if you enter the promotional code lipglossblog upon checkout.
With a set up like that, I could not be bothered ordering their products overseas anymore, I’d go straight to the Australian website instead.
Kiehl’s certainly took a step in the right direction, and have as a result created a warm buzz for their branding locally. Their consumers view them fondly, rather than how consumers now see Harvey Norman *rage*.
So long as they continues this trend by improving their local product range, continue providing fantastic offers and eventually branch out into the mobile / tablet market, I can see them being one of the leaders in the Australian retail market, and I wish many of the larger retailers would follow in kind.