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Multi-channel offers new growth and profit opportunities for Australian retailers


Contact:  Jane Kneebone
Corporate Affairs & Communications
Tel: +61 (0) 3 9208 7389
Mobile: 0416 148 845

Australian retailers can fend off revenue leakage to overseas competitors and offset declining like-for-like sales through traditional channels, said Deloitte Australia’s Multi-Channel Retail specialist, Katherine Milesi.

Kasey Lobaugh, who leads Deloitte’s Retail Multi-Channel practice globally and is in Australia to address a conference said: “Australian retailers see the benefits of multi-channel retailing, however many of them lack a clear roadmap on how to get there.”

In a new paper titled: ‘Navigating multi-channel retail in Australia, moving from ‘if to how’?’ Ms Milesi discusses the best approach to multi-channel retail that encompasses online, mobile, phone and in-store self-service kiosks. She outlines how even in today’s difficult economic environment, retailers can achieve sustained cost reduction and develop new revenue streams.

Ms Milesi said: “In Australia multi-channel adoption by retailers has lagged the US and much of Europe. This has led to revenue leakage overseas in key sectors such as health and beauty, electronics and specialist apparel. Even after international delivery and exchange rates are taken into account these overseas competitors’ prices remain attractive to Australian based consumers and pose a new and unexpected threat to our retail sector.”

She added: “Investing in multi-channel retail during the downturn will put Australian retailers in a strong position to take advantage of the eventual upswing in consumer spending.”

According to the new Deloitte paper, much of the retailers’ activity has focused on small trials that have fallen into one or more of the traps below:

  • website in search of a strategy – selling whatever you can online with no consistent offer
  • online as a silo – online presence alone,  not integrated into any other channel such as stores or call centres, resulting in consumer annoyances and lost opportunities to engage further
  • messy marketing – confusing or contradictory marketing and branding across online, in-store and traditional marketing collateral
  • inconsistent fulfilment – difficulty in establishing effective “last mile” fulfilment
  • lack of consumer insight – failure to collate, analyse and respond to customer data.

Mr Lobaugh said: “Much of the success achieved overseas could be replicated here and I would urge retailers to learn from the mistakes made by those in the US and Europe and focus on key areas. This will allow more Australian retailers to unlock the revenue growth potential of a truly multi-channel strategy.

“Currently many US based retailers are now investing aggressively to position themselves for the eventual turn-around of the business cycle and this includes expansion globally through the on-line channel,” he said.

The top tips for those developing a strategy in this area are:

  • manage multi-channel retail as a “whole of business” initiative
  • understand your customers by asking them who they are trading with, why and how they wish you engage with them
  • remember multi-channel should be an extension of your current strategy
  • build a multi-channel retail capability model for all functions
  • understand why your customers shop online and ensure your revenue line in your business case is actually founded on how your customers engage
  • plan accordingly and minimise investment in temporary solutions by ensuring your processes and systems are there for the long term.

NB: To download a copy of ‘Navigating multi-channel retail in Australia, moving from ‘if to how’? and other multi-channel related thought leadership visit:

For further information:
Katherine Milesi
Tel: +61 (0) 3 9208 7561

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