With Black Friday and Cyber Monday upon us, a number of retail business leaders have shared their advice on how retailers can best meet customer needs.

According to Bazaarvoice managing director for APAC, Kate Musgrove, reviews play a key role in shoppers’ decision-making and purchasing habits, putting authenticity and brand trust at the forefront and enabling shoppers to make informed purchase decisions.

With trust being hard to build yet easy to break, our research has shown that 55% of Australian buyers refuse to purchase the product should they suspect a fake review. Retailers should fully embrace authenticity in everything they do, especially when it comes to shopping in today’s always-on commerce landscape,” she told Retailbiz.

“Channelling the power of the customer’s voice – both positive and negative – is a powerful way to deliver an elevated omnichannel experience, as blending innovative in-store offerings with the demand in online shopping is crucial for both merchants and buyers to capitalise on increased customer activity and sales over a key retail period.” 

ShopFully Australia marketing director, Nick Larcher believes it’s critical that retailers prepare their digital offerings and drive to store strategies for the influx of traffic.   

“Consumers are increasingly looking to plan out their shopping, using tools such as digital catalogues to avoid splurging. Australians are tapping into their smartphones as an anywhere remote control for shopping, where they can compare offers from different retailers, and are rewarding the retailers that connect the online and the in-store shopping experience,” he told Retailbiz.

“Retailers will need to pave the way for these omnichannel customer journeys. To start, it’s critical to be present where shopping starts, which in today’s world, lies with the smartphone. By leveraging tools such as proximity marketing to communicate with shoppers when they are ready for purchase and when they are near a retailer’s store, you can show offers and promos at the right time and place.”

Many retailers’ loyalty programs still rely on physical cards and slow sign-up processes, assuming consumers still carry physical wallets However, a report released recently by AusPayNet – Australia’s Payment Industry Association – highlights that 47% of Australian’s prefer paying by mobile wallet, and one in four card transactions are now made using a mobile wallet.

“This shift in consumer behaviour will make physical loyalty cards increasingly less relevant to the digitally native consumer. To create stronger bonds with customers, retailers should look to adopt modernised friction-free loyalty programs which help deliver personalised, omnichannel services all while securing the data needed to optimise their processes,” Endava Australia principal industry consultant, David Marsh told Retailbiz.

Confluent vice president of sales at ANZ, Gavin Jones believes retailers are increasing efforts to deliver a seamless omni-channel shopping experience. However, this may also become a target for malicious actors to attempt retail fraud.

“It is estimated that businesses often spend $3 for every $1 of fraud to process the claim and reimburse the customer. Yet, in the days of instant payments, fighting fraudsters is a challenge now best addressed with a combination of data and speed. Businesses need to be able to leverage the power of data in motion – real-time data streaming to pull information from various customer touchpoints into data streams for analytics,” he told Retailbiz.

“This can mean combining records of past customer behaviours, IP addresses and comparing it with recognised pre-fraud actions to identify potential bad actors. Response can be made in real-time by notifying customers for verification and stopping fraudulent transactions before it is completed while maintaining a secured and frictionless experience for customers.”