Australia remains continuingly attractive to global retail brands not only because of the relatively strong economic performance after the Global Financial Crisis, but also with the promising average of 4% annual growth in retail sales from 2008 to 2016.
According to the 2016 Global Powers of Retailing by Deloitte, only 39 of the world’s 250 largest retailers operate in Australia (16%), meaning more global retail brands are expected to enter the market in the following years.
How should local retailers face the challenge of global retailers?
Here are 6 retail marketing tips to prepare your business for global competition.
#1. Understand your retail market better
To begin with, make good use of your knowledge of the local retail market. Your customer base is the most important asset you have. Start a membership or loyalty program to understand your customers as early as possible. For example, Liquor Legends utilizes a membership database to find out the products customers like most, the company then sends tailored promotional text messages about the products when they are on sale. By understanding customer preferences, Liquor Legends converted their customers into loyal advocates and increased their average customer spend.
#2. Expand your product line
In order to match global retail brands, Australian retailers must try to expand their product line to create branded products that will excite customers. Make sure you provide products that appeal to local tastes as well. Consider how you want to launch and communicate your new products through different channels, whether on your website, through traditional advertising, or social media.
Remember, the campaign you set up must be measurable and results-driven. This allows you to compare the performance before and after the campaign, which further provides the insights of what you have done right or what you can improve next time.
Although measuring a campaign might sound a bit abstract, it can actually be done easily as long as you identify the right metrics to help. Depending on the media channels used in your campaign, you can review metrics such as the click through rate, conversion rate and email opening rate. Don’t forget to use Google Analytics to get real time results and deeper consumer behavior insights. The stronger customer database you have, the more competitive you are.
#3 Partner with other local retailers
Have you considered partnering with other local retailers? Find businesses that share similar values as your business. By doing so, not only can you acquire functional know-how and a different business perspective, but also reach potential new customers and increase your average customer spend.
For example, Japanese local bookstore Tsutaya partnered with coffee shops to create a new store concept known as “book café”. The store provided an environment where customers could hang out and enjoy a new, leisurely lifestyle, which also increased the time customers spent within the bookstore. The result was so successful that the company has replicated the business model and expanded overseas.
#4. Utilise your digital platforms
While global retail brands have access to larger marketing budgets and resources to market their products, Australian retailers are able to remain competitive by allocating resources in maintaining or improving digital platforms.
Having a SEO friendly website is a way to compete with global retail brands. By having the right keywords and posting quality content, you can attract the right traffic to your website and increase awareness.
Furthermore, include call-to-action buttons for more potential conversion. In addition, supplement your website through social media platforms. Tailor your content to your local customers to create a fan base. Get customers to engage in your brand by encouraging them to share their feedback or use hashtags.
#5. Follow the retail trends
Always be nimble and observe the retail market. Think about new and innovative ways to improve your customer’s decision-making process or customer experience and how they interact with your brand.
Be culturally aware
An increasing number of Asian visitors has provided new opportunities for Australian retailers. Make sure you can capture this market by offering services that satisfy your new audience. Having a multi-lingual language website, brochure, and menu is important.
However, don’t use the direct translation from the internet, as the quality is usually poor. Moreover, there’s a chance that search engines will view it as spam. Also, ensure that translated material appears on its own landing page, as mixing different languages on the same page can cause confusion for search engines.
Be service focused
Your service can also be improved with just little innovative ideas.
For instance, as online shopping has become the new retail trend, the importance of last-mile delivery cannot be overemphasized. Think of ways to speed up your delivery, instead of traditional parcel delivery, consider combining your local distribution knowledge with the partnership of third party outsourcing companies like Zoom2U or Sendle, your customers can receive their order at a more flexible location and time.
Improving your service by providing a new level of convenience is a great way to differentiate your brand from global retail brands.
#6. Check out available Government Support
Don’t forget to routinely check for updates about government incentives for Australian retail business (https://www.business.gov.au/assistance). For example, Queensland-based small businesses can apply for Queensland Digital Grants program, which helps business to purchase hardware, software, and services to cope with digital disruption.