Retail 2020, nobody mention the C-word

by Kris Croucher
Published on November 2020

Last week, Just After Midnight, The Playhouse Group and Amazon Web Services gathered a group of marketing and IT executives from the Australian retail space to discuss 2020’s dramatic shift in customer behaviour.

And, for something a little bit different, we hosted our first virtual wine tasting with guests enjoying Australian wines and tasting notes from Yarra Valley winery, Mac Forbes.

On the agenda

The retail group was warmly welcomed by Brittany McGovern, Senior Account Executive from Amazon Web Services before presentations by Peter Krideras of eCommerce leaders The Playhouse Group and Co-founder of Australia’s iconic online shopping events platform ClickFrenzy, and me (Kris Croucher), founder of Just After Midnight, an Advanced AWS Partner and the go-to managed cloud people for marketers.

Peter explored the recent dramatic shift in customer behaviour, its impact on retail and how retailers can adapt fast, with quick wins, tips and tactics to optimise your digital channels for success. 

I covered where marketers begin in a landscape in which you need to be more competitive than ever while doing more with less, exploring how leaders can achieve this by leveraging cloud technology to reduce operational costs and drive deeper customer engagement at the same time.

Today, we’re sharing a few of the highlights:

Challenge

The challenge we have as retailers is the explosion of online shopping options. Customers have nearly endless options to meet their needs.

And in 2020 these options exploded. This has placed enormous pressure on retailers to not only understand their customers’ journeys  but also ensure the technology foundations are purpose-built to address that challenge.

Recession 

In terms of the economy, the world has slumped into recession with the Reserve Bank of Australia expecting GDP to fall by 8% this financial year.

  • Travel down 48%
  • Pubs and venues down 41%
  • Department stores down 23%
  • Discretionary spending down 18%
  • Essential spending down 6%
  • Food delivery up 330%
  • Furniture and office up 83%
  • Home improvement up 66%
  • Pet care up 22%
  • Subscription TV up 9%

Opportunity 

This Christmas is predicted to be the biggest Christmas period in history. This can be a massive opportunity to really capitalise on.

Investments  

While many retailers have experienced cashflow problems and are cutting back costs, technology is an area they are still investing in. We have seen a shuffling of resources from one area (typically traditional media) into online marketing.

Quick wins

To take advantage of the online changes, we are seeing retailers change their customer journeys and immediately see an uplift in conversions:

  • 68% of consumers will abandon carts. To combat this, retailers are removing mandatory registrations
  • Retailers have added one-click checkout options so customers are more in control of how they shop
  • Another option we’ve seen is adding new payment plans and payment portals so the consumer owns how they prefer to purchase
  • Something as simple as displaying trust and security certifications to build brand credibility can see a 12% increase in conversions
  • Adding positive reviews on the checkout page (or as close as possible) has improved conversion rates

Downtime

1 hour of downtime for a small business costs that business around $25,000.

This could include revenue lost during peak periods or business as usual trading, but also funds invested into marketing campaigns, operational and infrastructure costs. But then there is the impact of softer things like brand reputation and team culture. In short, what retailers can do right now to drive growth with practical, cost effective CX design and technology led improvements is focus on platform infrastructure and operations.

Platform infrastructure

  1. Platforms designed for busiest day ($$$$$$!)
  2. Manual website capacity management
  3. Redundant resources operational 24×7

Operations

  1. Reduce developers distracted by uptime and support
  2. Eliminate phone-by-the-bed support scenarios
  3. Replace the pass-the-buck support model (or rather no model)

Next steps: If any of the above sounds familiar, let’s talk one-on-one. Drop us a note to get started.

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