Retailers are highly anticipating the Easter break this year, with Aussies set to spend over $1.5 billion. As retailers prepare for this busy shopping season, they must consider how they can leverage the shopping boom to stay ahead in the battle for customers.  

Since the pandemic pushed online shopping front and centre, there is even greater competition for retailers to stand out from the crowd. Notably, recent data from Australia Post reveals that even more Australians are shopping online, with four-in-five households (81%) buying something online during the last year. Looking ahead, data predicts that online shopping will grow much faster than physical retail as consumers embrace the flexibility of shopping from anywhere.

With more customers purchasing products online, retailers must reassess and enhance their current digital experiences to survive. So how can retailers ensure they stay ahead in the e-commerce battle, and where can they begin? 

Prioritise the online shopping experience 

To stay ahead in the e-commerce battle for customers, retailers must prioritise their customers’ digital experience. Recent research from PWC reveals that 73% of customers decide to purchase items based solely on their overall customer experience. 

Since customers today expect exceptional experiences, it’s crucial that retailers make this a core focus in their retail strategy. Importantly, to meet high customer expectations retailers must deliver seamless experiences across multiple channels and devices. By adopting an omnichannel strategy, retailers achieve higher engagement and purchase rates, higher order values, improved customer retention, and more consistent brand identity. 

With the cost of living continuing to increase, shoppers are becoming more selective with their purchases and it’s imperative that retailers focus on delivering services that focus on building brand loyalty and a unified experience across all their customer touchpoints.

Maximise digital technology capabilities 

The majority of retailers are investing heavily in digital technology, yet they are often not taking full advantage of these products. Digital experience platforms (DXP) are crucial tools that help retailers build, manage and optimise digital customer journeys. An optimal DXP will offer a centralised user-friendly platform and suite of tools that collate and analyse consumer data. With these insights the software framework should deliver the ‘control centre’ unifying customer experiences across an entire customer lifecycle.

For example, e-commerce fashion leader, Showpo, continues to elevate customer experience by focusing on a personalised digital experience. Effective retailers will find that delivering highly personalised content, products, campaigns and websites will not only increase customer satisfaction, it can also help businesses keep up with shifting market demands and predict new sales opportunities. 

Reinventing your retail strategy 

With consumers demanding more personalised content and experiences than ever before, the retailers that not only survive but thrive will be the ones who invest in digital tools that make innovation and agility seamless within their business. 

Leading e-commerce fashion retailers, like The Country Road Group, remain ahead of the competition by continuing to reinvent and innovate their digital experience to meet consumer expectations. For example, The Country Road Group constantly makes improvements to their website by embracing a proper, data-led approach and an agile way of working. The business is also learning and adapting with each customer experience, keeping on top of trends to ensure they are leading the market rather than following.

With 9.2 million Australian households shopping online, it’s clear that the pandemic changed the way we shop, and the new habits we’ve formed over the past two years are ingrained. To stand out from the competition and leverage holiday shopping booms, retailers can no longer offer a one-size fits all experience. By prioritising the user experience, maximising digital technology capabilities and reinventing the retail strategy, retailers can exceed customer expectations, bolster revenues, and build long-term customer relationships. 

Simon McDonald is vice president of sales for Australia & New Zealand at Optimizely.