White Paper: A Fresh Perspective on Australian Retail

In October 2011, Brainmates, in partnership with Nine Rewards, conducted a nation-wide survey of over 1000 Australian consumers to uncover the key issues and attitudes that are driving their purchase decisions. The results of the survey are outlined in this Brainmates white paper – a must read for product manager’s seeking to better understand the mindset of today’s consumer and deliver ‘valuable’ end to end product experiences. For those specifically working in the retail industry, this research provides insights that will answer the burning question of the moment -what aspects of retailing are failing to deliver on this end to end product experience. In answering and responding to this question, retailers will identify new and sustainable sources of competitive advantage.

Click the link at the bottom of this page to download your free copy of the white paper

Our research confirmed that Australian consumers are still spending, however what they value and need from the end-to-end retail experience has changed. Satisfaction is now derived from having a retail experience that is more engaging, convenient, customised – and extends beyond the purchase stage. To meet these changing consumer needs, Australian retailers should apply a Product Management approach. This includes building capabilities in the following areas:

  • Customer research, contact and engagement: understanding changes in customers’ behaviours to increase customer equity
  • Competitor analysis: keeping abreast of the changing industry environment
  • Benchmarking: Looking across retailers and categories to identify and share best practices at the front end of the business
  • Defining and developing your businesses core capabilities: operational and reshaping capabilities
  • Instilling innovation in your business: using Brainmates strategic product management methodology to design, develop and deploy products and services that will add value for your customers and will increase share of wallet

Additionally, in an increasingly global and interconnected world, Australian retailers need to keep abreast of international trends and events. This white paper details some of the key trends (as below), and suggests benchmarking against winning international formats, performing regular audits of brand image to ensure consistency in the eyes of the consumer, and increasing efforts to take brands and relationships with customers “beyond the store.”

  • Getting bigger and going global. The most successful retailers are those that are taking the plunge and entering new geographical markets. The world’s ten biggest retailers including Walmart (#1), Tesco (#4), Lidl (#5), Home Depot (#7), Costco (#8), Aldi (#9) and Target (#10), have been able to increase sales by 100% (from 2000 -2008) and expand from 96 countries to 155 countries over the same period. The take-away for Australian retailers is not only that the trend of internationals expanding into the Australian market is set to continue, but also that globalisation and consolidation will need to be considered by every local retailer if they want to remain competitive.
  • Building great brands. Retailers have traditionally been the distributors of great brands; however there is a significant shift to becoming the ‘builder’ of great brands. This strategy is epitomised by Tesco in the UK, and Woolworths in Australia, who have recently announced plans to expand their private label product offering. The pillars of this brand-building strategy include value added private labels, the extension of brands in related services, introducing a variety of store formats, and corporate citizenship.
  • Understanding the individual consumer. The new model of retailing puts the consumer at the centre of all things. International retailers are ramping up their customer relationship management in a push to understand shopper behaviour. The dominant strategy to achieve this is through loyalty programs, which enable retailers to develop comprehensive CRM systems, understand customer sets using multidimensional segmentation and then target product selection and range, as well as marketing communications and promotions to suit these consumers.

“This is a challenging time for Australian retailers, however the factors affecting the Australian retail industry now are similar to those that have spurred transformation, innovation, and excellence in other industries in the past. This is an opportunity for Australian retailers to reconnect with consumers, carve out new opportunities, create new products and services, and ultimately grow the industry,” says Brianna Ragel, Product Marketing Consultant at Brainmates.

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