Australian retailers failing on digital engagement

Research finds Australian retailers are lagging their international competitors

When it comes to digital commerce, Australian retailers are frequently failing to deliver personalised experiences to engage consumers, according to new research.

The Australian Digital Transformation Lab, a joint venture between Capgemini Australia and the University of Sydney Business School, compared 62 retailers, 52 of them Australian and 10 of them leading international retailers, across 100 sectors.

The researchers classified 38 per cent of the Australian retailers as digital "laggards", with the report arguing they lack "both digital execution and engagement".

Twenty six per cent of the Australian retailers made the "high achievers category".

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in February showed 76 per cent of Australia's 15.4 million Internet users shopped online during 2012–13.

"Australian retailers are falling behind international market leaders who have invested for many more years in digital commerce features that support more personalised customer experiences,” Capgemini Australia’s digital transformation lead, Ben Gilchriest, said in a statement.

“Closing the gap between Australian retailers and international market leaders requires strong improvements in omni-channel integration, the strategic use of customer data to drive one-on-one engagement and a greater focus on systematic engagement across social media channels,” said associate professor Kai Riemer from the University of Sydney Business School.

The report found that 33 per cent of the Australian retailers lag their international competitors when it comes to building customer relationships

Retailers in the food, hardware and furniture sectors are the ones most likely to be trailing their leading international counterparts, failing to achieve a balance between omni-channel execution and customer-centric engagement.

"Only if retailers engage with customers consistently across different channels will they be able to successfully grow and harness a loyal customer base to ensure continuing customer satisfaction and profitability,” said Riemer.

“Operationally, this means treating customers as individuals and not as part of an anonymous group, even if this is done in a mass customised way.”

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