Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Retail Vs E-tail?

Retail is your traditional bricks and mortar (B+M) store selling direct to us, the consumer.E-Tail is online retail.It is not rocket science to understand retail is struggling in Australia with the closure of several big names such as Borders,Angus & Robertson, Colorado and several brands/suppliers having to restructure just to survive.There are other big name players in the market yet to disclose their financial positions, but dont be surprised if this year provides further announcements of cutbacks or closures across some of our big brand names and suppliers.
Whether you love it or hate it E-Tail is here to stay and is the way the world is evolving.Whether it be online shopping,banking or simply reading your favourite book.Nearly everything is done or able to be done online.
For those of us who are time poor it is a valuable tool in our everyday life.Unfortunately it does come at a cost.Just look at Fairfax media Group.With growing online demand for their paper but declining paper based sales they are having to restructure to move with the current trends.If they don't they may end up like Kodak and simply disappear altogether.We cannot stop change nor can we chose to ignore it as a retailer.We must  accept and move with the times like all other businesses, or be left behind.I myself enjoy the experience of shopping with girlfriends and having a coffee.I believe retail stores will still play a part in our future, but to a lesser extent.I believe that retailers can have the best of both worlds,offering both retail and e-tail sites.
It was only a few years ago when I started Sportsmagic that many suppliers refused to supply us for our online business.Online shopping carts were very difficult to setup and expensive.Now, in just a few short years suddenly every major brand has an online presence and suppliers and urging you to take their brands, preferring online sites to the struggling retailers.According to NAB'S retail online index 15.5% growth in e-tail compared to 4.1% growth in traditional retail over the last 12 months to April 2012.
11.1 Billion in online sales compared to still a staggering 208 Billion in traditional retail.Traditional retail still dominates our domestic market but the trend is continuing to grow for online demand.Interestingly spending online is dominated by those in their 30's and 40's and WA is the quickest growing state with a whopping 32% growth, more than double the national average.
Retailers need to embrace the change in consumer preferences and spending habits.They need to adjust their business accordingly or face closure.Customers are time poor and more often have a tighter budget with the rising cost of living.Customers are becoming more savvy with their shopping and so retailers and e-tailers are both competing for the elusive consumer dollar.Customers are shopping using their mobile phones, ipads,android tablets and laptops.No longer do they need to go home and use the home computer to jump online.I myself managed to do my banking, pay bills and purchase several items online last week, all while waiting for my daughter while she was having her dance class.Retailers are going to have to embrace this as a positive and provide their customers with multiple channels to purchase if they are to survive.Whether we like it or not we are in a digital era, and its not going away.

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