A new study has shown that the state of Australia’s online maturity among some of the country’s largest retailers is grim.

The report Beyond the Basics – Why the largest Australian retailers are losing the online battle from digital and e-commerce marketing strategist eMarketingConnected, which evaluated 62 of Australia’s retailers, found that less than one third are using the more sophisticated selling tools such as user reviews and videos.

eMarketingConnected founder Peter Paterson said it online retailers overseas are doing something right as it’s expected 44 per cent of all online retail sales are expected to go offshore this year.

“The report shows that even the biggest and most successful retailers in Australia, such as David Jones, Myer and Harvey Norman, are behind in their approach to selling online. As a result, the smaller retailers have very little to benchmark themselves against in terms of best practice—unless of course they look abroad for leadership when it comes to first class retail marketing habits,” he said.

“If Aussie retailers don’t look to their overseas competitors for inspiration, they stand to lose customers who are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their use of multiple online channels—review sites, blogs and social networks—so they can find out more about a brand, product or service.”

The report also revealed that two thirds of the big retailers are only doing the absolute minimum when it comes to collecting customer data of names and emails and provide little-to-no social engagement for their customers, nor the higher level of personalisation that consumers are coming to expect.

Paterson suggests that retailers need to take an integrated cross-channel approach that is specific to their customers.

“The good news is that there is room for positive change in the maturity of the online retail sector. The first step for retailers is to gain a deeper understanding of who their customers are and how they prefer to research and buy products, that way they can implement the right multichannel engagement strategies,” he said.

“It’s only through offering rich, meaningful experiences both online and in-store that retailers will see sales improve.”