By Aimee Chanthadavong

While online sales only make up a small percentage of total retail in Australia, it’s still having a large impact in the way retailers should be interacting with their customers, said David Choi, HP market development manager of retail solutions. 

Speaking at Retail 2013 on Tuesday, Choi said based on statistics by the Australian Retailers Association the total Australian retail market is currently worth approximately $260 billion in comparison to the online retail market that makes up only 7 per cent of this total.

“This conversely means $240 billion is still fulfilled through traditional retailer making it still a relevant part of the business,” he said.

But because online does exist and is expected to grow, Choi noted this has created the concept of omni-channel retailing and bringing along with it the concept of customisation, personalisation and mobility. 

“Omni-channel retailing now sees consumers carrying more sophisticated hardware in the palm of their hands than the architecture retailers have in their stores,” he said.

“So what retailers need to look at is for the front-end execution of their business is how they can allow people to purchase online but still come into the store. 

“In the back end retailers need to look at increasing their different touchpoints and how they are going to collect all the customer data that they can eventually use to better serve their customers.”

At the same time, retailers need to think about how they can empower their store associates to help them dictate and lead the customer purchasing process. Choi suggested the solution is technology.

“Customers want to be pleasantly surprised, they want convenience because they’re time poor and want best value for money,” he said.

“Technology can be used to help service all that while helping retailers offer a more personalised experience, which will differentiate them from their competitors. Once they have done that it increases their chances of retain their customer for repeat purchases.”

Quoting Leo Burnett, Choi said the best way to deploy technology and to create an omni-channel experience is about making it fun, memorable, easy and simple for consumers.