RetailBiz Round Up for Thursday 9 January 2014 – with Andrew Jackson

Good news for retailers who do business online! The NAB Online Retail Sales Index for November 2013 has been released and it shows that the online retail industry continues to grow. 

In the year to November 2013, and before the Christmas rush, over $14.6 billion was spent by Australians in online retail. This was an increase of 10.7 per cent from the previous year, meaning that online retail purchases are now equivalent to 6.4 per cent of traditional retail spending (excluding commercial food services).

This coincides with a separate report by Juniper Research, focusing on global trends relating to mobile payments for digital and physical goods. While the buying of goods via mobile devices globally accounted for $182 billion last year (15 per cent of all goods purchased online) that number is predicted to skyrocket to over $700 billion by the end of 2018 (or 30 per cent of all online retail).

Another point of interest was the rise of purchases made on tablets. Among those consumers who had access to both a smartphone and a tablet, the latter was the preferred tool for shopping online. So much so, that by the end of 2013, global per-month retail spending on tablets had eclipsed spending on handsets.

The report ended with a warning that although many companies have recognised the online market as an essential part of global business (retail conducted on mobile devices in particular) the focus currently has been on optimising websites or apps for smartphone use. This could deter purchases made by those using a tablet and may turn away potential customers all together. As such, optimising a business's online or app store presence for tablet browsing should be of high interest to any involved in online retail.

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The results are in! The national winners for the Global Innovation Awards (GIA), sponsored by Chicago based International Housewares Association, have been announced.  Each year independent retailers are judged at a national level (this year from over 22 countries) on everything from store layout, to visual merchandising and innovation. 

Taking out the Australian award is Melbourne-based quirky homewares retailer TheSuperCool, which specialise in providing unique, everyday items suitable for homes and apartments. TheSuperCool uses a combination of permanent stores, pop-up retail outlets and online shopping to sell their one-of-a-kind items, providing an eclectic mix of everything from specialised cocktail shakers, to assorted vintage milk bottles and a colouring book featuring famous hip-hop artists.

The New Year is looking to be a good one for Australian business. ABS figures show that throughout the year, Australian retail turnover rose 4.6 per cent in November 2013 (seasonally adjusted) compared to November 2012. This is expected to continue to rise in 2014.

Fresh off the back of a year of increasing turnover and a strong Australian dollar, the results of Dun & Bradstreet’s Business Expectations Survey reveal that 18 percent of businesses are planning to access new finance during Q1 to grow their operations; the survey’s highest response since Q4 2011.

Fifteen per cent of businesses intend to take on more staff while 13 per cent intend to increase capital spending in Q1 2014. The overall positive mood has lifted first quarter expectations for sales, profits, selling prices, investment and employment to their highest levels in 12 months.

D&B’s expectation graph shows major indicators are rising in percentage terms for the start of calendar 2014. Source: Dun & Bradstreet.

Resolutions are a New Year’s tradition, and fantastic fodder for brands to advertise the promise of a better year and a ‘New You’ to millions of consumers. However, this year one major campaign is coming from an extremely unlikely source: The Australian Taxation Office.

The oft maligned government office (though that may just be reaction to the phrases ‘Business Activities Statement’ and ‘Audit’) is taking the average Aussie New Year resolution and turning it on its head to help Australian businesses reach their financial goals in 2014.

The campaign hopes to not only help small businesses in retail and hospitality keep up to date with their tax, but also to soften the image of the ATO. Research conducted by the office showed that though most believe keeping their tax records for the year in check is a priority when the clock ticks over midnight on 1 January, the majority don’t put these healthy tax practices into place (much like any New Year’s resolution). Unfortunately for everyone the ATO isn’t like a gym: you can’t just cancel your membership.

“Everyone says that they want to lose weight, that they want to get rid of bad habits” said ATO Assistant Commissioner Jennifer Molitisanti, “but not many people actually follow through.

“The ATO is providing tips and encouragement to help you keep (what could be) your most important resolution.”

Quote of the Day

"I've been begging them to drop the brand or fix the product…I'm sorry that the software has my name."

Anti-Virus pioneer and eccentric millionaire John McAfee is glad to have his association with now Intel-owned McAfee Anti-Virus removed, claiming that the system is outdated and broken. The product is to be rebranded Intel Security, the switch being completed by the end of 2014. 

Image of the Day

To celebrate kids going back to school, Kleenex is releasing a range of four limited edition colouring-in tissue box designs, available exclusively in Woolworths stores. The Kleenex ‘back to school’ tissue boxes are designed to “add a fun and personal touch to an everyday essential”.

Video of the Day

Since 2007 Doritos has been asking fans around the world to make their own advertisements for their corn chips in the annual ‘Crash the SuperBowl’ competition, with the winner being played in front of millions during half time. This year, for the first time, an Australian has been selected as one of five finalists: Queenslander Thomas Noakes with the quirky ad ‘Finger Cleaner’.

The top two ads are screened at the SuperBowl, with the most popular (by community vote) receiving $1 million in prize money, and both directors get the opportunity to work with Marvel on their next ‘Avengers’ film. Voting is still open, just follow the link to support our entry.