Sunday 29 May 2011

Retailing Future In Social Networking

A fascinating talk by Pacific Brands (think Dunlop, Bonds, Tontine) CEO Sue Morphet this week when she described online shopping as both a threat and an opportunity.
The boss of the clothing group said it was all a matter of attitude and commercial survival of Australian retailers depended on embracing the online world. Some interesting points –
1.     Seven of the top 10 online retailers in the US were bricks & mortar stores (Walmart, Sears, Best Buy) with a similar story in the UK (Tesco, Marks & Spencer). In Australia, not one bricks & mortar store is in the top 10.
2.     Basically shoppers are shopping on price or on quality – they will shop for the number one brand or the best price.
3.     Shoppers haven’t changed in the sense that they are seeking a rewarding shopping experience – they are just finding that rewarding experience in different ways and retailers ignore those different ways at their peril.
4.     Where recommendations used to come from advertising or sales staff they are now increasingly coming from social networking. (Bonds has 60,000 Facebook fans).
5.     Retailers have to offer a unique shopping experience with excellent range, value and service. If they don’t, customers will go elsewhere, and the internet has made it a lot easier to do just that.
Editors Note: - This week the QVM has offered traders an expanded opportunity to link through their own substantial social network incorporating Twitter, Facebook and the QVM website. We will have more on this opportunity in coming weeks.