How to thrive with Amazon in Aussie Retail
SMART Business Solutions was pleased to host a breakfast event this week on the topic of how can retailers thrive with Amazon coming. An entertaining and engaging speaker Craig Bass from VendHQ kept the crowd focused as he shared his international experience with Amazon, his experience of Aussie retail, and how he believes Aussie retail can thrive with Amazon arriving on our shores.
Small business on the Mornington Peninsula is the biggest employer of our workforce, and far exceeds any other region in Victoria with of the importance the small business community to the local economy. Many would say small business is the backbone of the Mornington Peninsula economy. Retail employment makes up 16% of all jobs on the Mornington Peninsula. With Amazon’s plans to open its first Australian warehouse in Dandenong what does that mean for our Mornington Peninsula small business?
We are all seeing the media headlines ‘Amazon is coming’, ‘Retailers beware’, ‘The end of small business retail’ but is this really the case? Should we all pack up now and roll over with Amazon coming, or what can we do to acknowledge the change is coming, and what can we do today, to better position our retail businesses for this future market place. The crowd were madly taking notes with some real, what you don’t read in the media insights on the expected impact of Amazon and what you can do today, to prepare yourself. I too took many notes and are happy to share these with you!
So, what is Amazon?
Amazon started as an online book store but today many would call Amazon a logistics business as this is at the heart of what they do. What is Amazon?
- Amazon is predominantly an online marketplace
- Amazon sells everything from fresh foods to electronics
- In the US, there’s little you cannot buy from there
- Their focus is price and convenience
- As well as its own products, it has Amazon Marketplace, which enables third-party retailers to sell their wares
- Amazon opened their first physical stores in the US in 2015
- Planning to launch website in Australia by end of 2018
What is the expected impact to Australian retail?
- Amazon is a threat to large commodity retailers who compete on price
- Increases the importance of having an online presence
- Increases the importance of in-store experience
- Gives retailers another channel to sell through
- Those well positioned to thrive will be smaller independent and boutique retailers who offer a unique product offering, know their customers and offer a superior in-store experience
How can Small Business use Amazon you their advantage?
The good news is that the arrival of Amazon will absolutely accelerate the take up of online shopping in Australia, and your business can benefit from that by:
- Selling on Amazon’s marketplace:
- There are no actual date as to when Amazon Australia will enable this functionality so to start with it will just be Amazon selling products, not other third parties via their platform as it does in the US and UK. In 2015, 40% of sales on Amazon were to third-party businesses
- Increase your reach, and allows you to take advantage of their infrastructure
- Utilize ‘FBA’ - a service in which Amazon stores and ships items for sellers so they don’t need to fulfill orders themselves
- Customer Service is key! Amazon is online and much of the competition is around price and speed of delivery. You need to provide this online, but you do have the opportunity to differentiate yourself from Amazon by ensuring you provide a personalized shopping experience for customers in your store, and the online compliments this.
- Unique product offering: How is your product offering different and not just the same as every other store.
- Run a sleek omni channel business: Small business can adapt to omni-channel faster than larger retailers. Imagine the efforts a JB-HI would be going through now to get their business ready to streamline their online sales and distribution process? Small business is more nimble to make these changes, and the software offerings can assist to easily achieve what could take years in a larger business.
What is Omnichannel Retail?
It’s letting your customers shop across physical and digital channels, so they can seamlessly interact with you in-store, online, or on their mobile devices.
Amazon is going to drastically raise Australian consumer's perception of online shopping. A study of 46,000 shoppers found that:
- 73% have used multiple channels throughout their shopping journeys.
- Omnichannel shoppers logged 23% more repeat shopping trips to the retailer’s stores
and were more likely to recommend the brand, compared to single-channel customers.
How can we help?
SMART Business Solutions can assist you with implementing your omnichannel. This can be a combination of Vend POS software, Shopify for online retail and Xero for your accounting system providing
- Real-time information on your inventory sales by type, size, colour or any other attribute
- Profitability of individual stock items
- Tracking of sales by day, hour, month – when are your peak times, who sold the item
- Point of sale software using a computer or ipad
- Loyalty programs and gift cards
- Easy stocktakes using an app on your mobile, never using that clipboard again!
- An instant online store on Shopify that sync’s with Vend so sales in store or online automatically update
- Links to social media enabling customers to see a product on your facebook, and buy straight away!
SMART Business Solutions are experts in implementation of cloud based business software and providing one on one training so you get the most out of your investment.
So yes, Amazon is coming, but if you get your business online and ready now, Amazon will just become another option for you and not a threat to your business.
Call us today to learn how we can help you get your business online and ready to compete with Amazon.
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