Ecommerce growth is far outweighing growth of bricks and mortar retailers at 18% and 3% respectively, according to BluJay Solutions Australia and New Zealand regional director, Paul Soong. He has attributed this to the rapid adoption of mobile technology and the rise in marketplaces and social commerce among consumers.

“There has been a noticeable shift away from PCs to mobiles when it comes to online shopping as mobiles provide more convenience,” Soong told Retailbiz.

“Consumers are no longer just using Google to research products; they are turning to influencers and celebrities on social media for advice. However, there remains a lack of trust and concerns around privacy of information.

“There has also been an increasing number of shoppers who plan their purchases around sale events such as Black Friday and Boxing Day which is placing a significant amount of pressure on supply chains due to the unpredictable nature of these sales spikes. Consumers are more educated than ever on the lowest price points for products, so retailers need to be prepared with stock.”

However, not every retailer has large fulfilment networks, like Amazon, which can quickly adjust to changing orders, but Soong says retailers need to focus on their own path and not try to adopt global supply chain models.

“Traditional bricks-and-mortar stores tend to be slower to adapt to consumer trends, but we are seeing an increasing number of omni-channel retailers who operate across physical stores, online and social media channels/.

“A seamless online experience is paramount, and consumers now expect free and fast delivery, along with an easy returns process. Stock returns are difficult to plan for particularly when it comes to vehicle capacity and product size – for example, a lipstick versus a big screen television.

“Artificial intelligence and machine learning are designed to improve operational efficiency and provide historical trends to assist planning but it’s important that retailers truly understand the data. Technology also helps reduce the time it takes for businesses to react to consumer trends.”