We've all seen the statistics; bricks and mortar retailers are having a hard go of it. It's not getting any easier, either. The uptake of consumer behaviour to shop online means that this Christmas alone, it is expected Australians will spend millions in the next month online. The ease of purchasing, the lack of parking hassles and the variety and options available online means e-commerce is having an effect on every Australian retailer.

photo 1Here are some more statistics;

Total online spending is forecast to amount to $18.3 billion in 2013, with the average annual spend online per online shopper in Australia at $1,750 (Frost & Sullivan's Australian & NZ Online Shopping Market report, July 2013)

The online shopping market in Australia is growing strongly and will account for seven per cent of all retail sales by end of 2013 (Frost & Sullivan's Australian & NZ Online Shopping Market report, July 2013)

Online sales are expected to continue to grow over the next five years and reach 9.8 per cent of total retail sales by 2017 (Frost & Sullivan's Australian & NZ Online Shopping Market report, July 2013)

Sure, it is only 7% of retail this year, but that's still billions, that's right, billions, of dollars.

Now we carry our favourite retailers in our pockets as well. The rise of m-commerce, literally shopping from your mobile phone, is encouraging a faster than ever take-up. Statistics such as these show it isn't just the geeks that are shopping at the bus stop or between meetings either;

Smartphone penetration has doubled since 2010, reaching 72% of total mobile phone users (up from 36% in 2010), and continues

Telstra's latest Smartphone Index shows Australians have one of the highest rates of smartphone ownership in the world. We are behind China and South Korea, but ahead of the US and UK (Telstra's third annual Smartphone Index, October 2013)

photo 1So as a retailer, how do you start the shift to online?

First, look at your delivery model. Are you able to cost effectively deliver your wares, and do this in a timely manner? Sure, moving large bulky items could be trickier, however many retailers also carry plenty of smaller sized items as well. Get quotes from couriers or Australia Post for various locations, and determine the best economic model.

Consider putting only some of your inventory online. Instead of trying to grasp selling 10,000 items on your website, consider just the highest selling or higher profitable items first, and then grow that inventory.

Lower the risk for customers. Offer a great returns policy, include free returns shipping or look for ways to educate consumers on your products to reduce the likelihood of returns.

Find efficiencies in your warehousing and delivery. Can you have products shipped straight form your wholesalers, can you keep inventory levels to support demand, can you offer free shipping or free pick up models?

Lastly, speak to web developers, Find an e-commerce system that allows growth over time, offers a variety of features, and most importantly, is m-commerce enabled, meaning that your customers will have a great experience on their phones, no matter where they are.

For a no-obligation proposal on an Australian built, best practice, powerful m-commerce solution, speak to the team at Bam Creative.