Off the back of its digital transformation journey, Australia’s largest footwear retailer, Accent Group, has doubled its online sales numbers with growth of 110% year-on-year from 2019 to 2020. Digital sales accounted for 22% of total sales in the first half of 2020 alone.

In 2017, Accent Group worked on its digital transformation journey. ‘Click and Collect’ functionality saw group sales of $1.6 million in stores within the first seven months, while ‘Click and Dispatch’ digital functionality saw $2.4 million sales within the first six months.

Leveraging digital transformation tools, Accent Group has been able to significantly enhance the customer experiences while continuing to use its store network to fulfill online orders in the face of store closures across the country.

The retailer has impactfully demonstrated that retailers in the Australian and New Zealand market can enjoy enormous business rewards from digital transformation.

Accent Group general manager of digital, Kasie Heathcote shared her advice for retailers that are undergoing digital transformation, suggesting that the strategy must be congruent and aligned with the entire business’ vision.

“Develop a plan for the medium term – around two to three years and outline a roadmap for the technology required, the implementation, and the resources to support the strategy. Then develop use cases that create meaningful business value. With so much available and so much flexibility with technology, it’s easy to be distracted by cool or shiny and forget about what will create meaningful value for the business,” she told Retailbiz in a recent interview.

The last 12 months have been a defining moment for many businesses, but some companies were more prepared than others to face the abrupt shift to digital in 2020, according to Heathcote.

“In saying that, there has been considerable progress made and digital standards across the board have improved in response to the challenges we’ve all faced,” she said.

“We’ve seen a huge rush to invest and prioritise digital across many organisations, which has created competition for resources both internally and externally. I expect that this will continue for the next one to two years at a minimum.”

Moving forward, Heathcote expects personalisation and a more human experience in the digital space to be a priority to create a more engaging and effective experience.

“At Accent, we tackle this space with a number of tactics, including personalised content, merchandising, size & fit tools, and virtual sales, which is an experience where customers can do video calls directly with our in-store teams to receive the in-store experience online,” she said.

When it comes to facing the challenges in the ecommerce landscape, Heathcote believes finding the right vendor partners is key to success.

“Understanding the landscape, your business needs, and defining business goals will be critical to finding the right partner. Securing the talent required to bring the vision to life and balancing the business needs for long-term strategy and short-term outcomes,” she said.