16 May 2016

Competing for your consumer’s affection – the value of online retail

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The 21st Century has brought about enormous changes for the retail industry. Forever shifting the way people shop and hence how businesses must operate.

I say this for two reasons – technology and globalisation. This is almost like the chicken and egg argument, what came first? I guess it doesn’t really matter though seeing as though both are here to stay.

These two revolutionary movements have increased consumer power unbelievably. Today customers are connected to a global marketplace, able to purchase whatever their heart desires.
These changes have brought both opportunities and challenges for businesses.

Opportunities: 

Access to foreign markets.
  • Businesses now have access to larger markets and the ability to dramatically increase sales.

Greater ability for innovation.
  • Businesses have access to the remarkable ideas carried out in foreign markets, re-inventing these concepts to make them their own.

Challenges:

Increased competition.
  • Consumers today show a lack of brand loyalty selecting products based on their desires at a single point in time. Businesses face more pressure to stay competitive and satisfy their customer’s needs.
The need to constantly innovate their offerings.
  • With world market place in your consumer’s reach, they have much more bargaining power than ever before. 
So what have we learnt?

The consumer should be at the forefront of all decision-making. We can let the changes of the 21st century overwhelm us. But the fact is that they are here to stay and for this reason we must adapt our supply chains. This is relevant both in terms of the product or service you are offering and the method of delivery.

Just like Channel wouldn’t release an orthopaedic shoe that wasn’t aesthetically pleasing, a business which offers great solutions for regional communities wouldn’t benefit from operating stores in CBDs. If the company was restricted to city locations it would have to offer an alternative form of distribution.   

In order to remain competitive businesses should look towards online supply chains, enabling customers to purchase without having to be in physical storefronts. In a time poor society, where work is life and life is work the ability to shop online has become increasingly important.
Online delivery is really about accommodating your customers. You are accommodating their lack of time. If you look at Australia’s online fashion-house Iconic, you can order a dress and have it arrive on your doorstep within three hours. Talk about accommodating.

At the beginning of the year Akolade ran its 3rd Annual Online Retail Supply Chain Summit. The Summit was a great event, highlighting the value of online supply chains and providing delegates with innovative strategies to adapt their supply chains to online models.

One delegate commented, “A fantastic array of speakers in a market which is on fire at the moment. Superb insights from entrepreneurs and seasoned CEOs, with experience across multiple organisations. A must for anyone who wants to improve their total online retail business performance.”

Keep your eyes peeled for Akolade’s next Summit in the series!   


Ashley has lived on Manly beachfront her entire life – she worships the sun and chases it year round. Having recently finished her Bachelor of Business in Portugal’s gorgeous capital, Lisbon, she thought that producing conferences at Akolade would be a great new experience.  Ashley loves her new dinner-time conversation, enlightening people on the threat of antimicrobial stewardship and innovative business models!

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