The rise of online shopping has been largely accelerated by the pandemic and it’s showing no sign of slowing down. It’s anticipated that by the end of this year, ecommerce sales will account for 18.1% of retail sales worldwide

In response to the transforming retail landscape, we’re experiencing a growing trend of online shopping events. From Boxing Day sales to Click Frenzy, Afterpay Day, Black Friday and every sales’ occasion in between, Australia has plenty of ecommerce events to keep the retail sector busy. 

However, with some of the world’s biggest brands like Levi’s, REVOLVE and Calvin Klein participating in these sales’ periods, homegrown brands are faced with the new challenge of generating cut-through on a global stage. Here, we share how Aussie brands can remain competitive in a global marketplace to drive customer engagement and revenue. 

Winning mindful customers

Australia’s next normal is the cautious customer. We’re already seeing Aussie consumers becoming more mindful and less spontaneous. Roughly 30% of Australians expect to buy more on sale or look for cheaper alternatives. 

A focus on value for money is not a new trend, although has been augmented by the economic uncertainty of the pandemic. Consumers are becoming savvier with their spending, planning shopping sprees in advance and aligning purchasing decisions with e-commerce sales’ events to save some extra cash. 

But it’s not all about price… Aussies are also craving an emotional connection with the brands they’re interacting with. For example, research from McKinsey suggests that consumers are joining the buy local, shop local movement. Consumers are choosing to support neighbourhood businesses and have a preference for Aussie brands compared to international labels. 

However, in order to win mindful customers, brands must ensure they are visible and accessible in the world of ecommerce. 

Cutting through the competition

The globalisation of the retail sector has created a seemingly borderless marketplace, with global brands integrating into the Australian market and driving local consumerism. Major international brands have various advantages — accelerated speed to market, robust marketing teams and influential buying power —making it difficult for emerging brands to compete. 

However, in an era of mindful customers, investing in technology and digital tools can help connect brands with customers, both existing and prospective and help cut through the competition. Brands that have embraced the changing landscape and utilised technology to facilitate a higher number of touchpoints with their customers have driven brand loyalty. 

As competition continues to increase, retailers should be adopting innovative technologies to help cut through the crowded market and create more personalised experiences for customers. One of the biggest competitive advantages enterprises tend to have over SMEs is access to resources. Smaller businesses often lack the financial support and manpower needed to make a real dent in the market.

Tapping into tech

Thanks to the democratisation of software, artificial intelligence tools have a key role in levelling the playing field, helping small businesses reduce manual work, automate processes and improve efficiencies. 

The results speak for themselves, with 52% of marketers experiencing an increase in sales, and another 51% noticing an increase in customer retention since introducing AI capabilities into the ecosystem, according to Quantcast and Forbes Insights.

By tapping into technology, businesses can ensure their hard-earned marketing dollars are being strategically invested to ensure their products stand out during peak sales periods, while also engaging the right customers to yield the best results possible during peak sales periods and throughout the remainder of the year. 

Drawing on one of Metigy’s customers, Share with Oscar leveraged technology to increase its brand awareness while also consistently engaging with customers via digital and social channels, as well as promoting its service offering. The Share with Oscar team then used Metigy’s AI tool to help identify the best time of day to post the content in order to deliver optimal results — and the post generated more than 13,000 views with a spend of just AU$10. 

For brands looking to generate cut through on a global sales’ stage, technology can play a critical role. By focusing on winning mindful customers and tapping into tech to do so, Aussie brands will become empowered with a competitive edge that sets them apart. 

As such, technology plays a critical role in levelling the playing field for businesses, democratising the e-commerce sector and empowering homegrown brands to compete with international retailers during peak sales periods and otherwise.

David Fairfull is CEO and co-founder of Metigy.