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May 2020

View all on this date written articles further down below.

What’s your sales events plan?

The challenges of the past six months are unrivalled in our living memory. The skies were blackened with smoke as an area close to the size of England burnt. Our rivers ran dry crippled by drought. But even these disasters couldn’t prepare us for the Covid-19 pandemic. Not a single Australian has escaped the impact of the greatest health crisis in a century. It has literally shut down the country, and unloaded a volley of punches on our economy. The retail community is at the core of the economic downturn, but it hasn’t been negative for those well positioned. 

AlphaBeta provides weekly tracking data on the effects of the coronavirus on the Australian economy. It gives valuable insight into which categories are performing best now. Food delivery leads the way, up 258%. Following are furniture and office (155%), online gambling (114%), home improvement (57%), alcohol and tobacco (48%) and department stores (44%). 

The shining light for the broader retail community in these times has been the jump in online sales. From February figures provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, seven per cent of all retail sales in the country were online. In in the United States it’s 12 per cent, and in the United Kingdom close to 20 per cent.

Those numbers will have jumped significantly in the past three months as businesses evolve their strategies to cope with the new environment we all find ourselves in. This has included everything from adapting product selection through to providing social distancing contactless delivery services.

“A lot of retailers are probably taking a hard look at their store networks right now and considering whether they can survive without some of their physical stores in the future,” says Jo-Anne Hui-Miller, editor of industry publication Inside Retail.

News Corp reported this month that music and gaming stores, and even some home appliance retailers, may move their entire operations online after its contribution to sales jumped from less than 10 per cent to more than 30 per cent in a matter of weeks. Many stores that shut under the lockdown are choosing not to reopen.

In Australia we have now weathered the worst of the storm. Restrictions are easing, and opportunities are returning. Citizens are no longer focused on hoarding, but are willing to spend. To help that happen, sales events are returning – and we want you to take advantage of them. 

Brace yourself for Click Frenzy Mayhem Sale on May 19, EOFY sales in June, Amazon Prime Day in July, leading into the crazy Christmas sales period including Singles Day, Click Frenzy’s Sale that Stops a Nation and Cyber Monday. Australia has no shortage of sales events upcoming this year.

But are you ready to capture sales and make up lost ground?

Here at Playhouse, as the co-founder and former Business Development Director of Click Frenzy, I’m in a unique position to guide you through the online sales event maze so you can maximise the opportunity.

Not only can we assist you with a review of your current site’s capabilities but we are also well versed in product selection, landing page set up, cart and checkout improvements and hosting expansion.

Click Frenzy Mayhem starts at 7:00 pm on Tuesday May 19, and with 99%-off deals for members, the who’s who in retail getting involved, thousands of deals, and unprecedented online traffic, the team at Playhouse can help you get the most out of whats certainly going to be online mayhem.

With the launch of the Lets Regrow campaign focused on getting retailers involved, make sure you jump on board and let us ensure your online strategy is agile, robust, safe and secure, and gets the most out of the 53 hour sale.

Whether its Click Frenzy Mayhem or any other upcoming sales event we are here to help.

Make a FREE consultation with me, Peter Krideras, Co-Founder of Click Frenzy now. I will talk through some ideal prep for these big sales events.

Business is Ramping Up

Photo by Jozsef Hocza on Unsplash

Across Australia governments are beginning to lift coronavirus restrictions and the public are responding – opening their wallets as stores open their doors. Data from both the ANZ and Commonwealth banks has this week shown increased activity on their debit and credit cards. 

In March, consumers focused on essential purchases, hoarding everything from toilet paper to rice and pasta. In April, they just stayed at home, leading to a 20 per cent year-on-year fall in sales. Now, CBA believes spending is down just two per cent on the comparable early-May 2019 figures, while ANZ found spending to be up.

Importantly, while April spending was 20 percent down, online was actually 20 per cent up. This month it still holds a 15 percent boost on 2019.

Uncertainty led both consumers and businesses to put off non-essential purchases, but these are starting to return – though it would be wrong to assume it will return to business as usual. B2C and B2B sales have changed forever. Having moved online, many consumers will rely less on bricks and mortar stores.

Analytics company AlphaBeta is tracking real-time spending habits to study the effects of the pandemic. Director, Dr Andrew Charlton, believes new models of spending adopted by consumers during the lockdown will persist long past it. 

“There are a lot of consumer trends that this crisis has really accelerated,” said Dr Charlton, who was also an economic adviser to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

“In some ways Australia has been a bit of a laggard in online shopping, but this crisis has forced many people to get a login, open an account and work out how things work. And I don’t think they’ll ever go back.”

Premier Investments, which operates 900 stores across brands such as Smiggle, Just Jeans and Peter Alexander, provides an example of how Covid-19 has affected the retail sector. When its stores reopen on Friday it will draw a close to a six-week shutdown that saw global sales plummet 74 per cent. During this time, however, their online sales doubled. For Peter Alexander, the online sales for the last week of April exceeded both the online and in-store sales totals for the corresponding week in 2019.

With Australian rents, particularly in Sydney, extremely high, selling online is just good business. “There’s a retail restructure underway with online growing,” CEO Mark McInnes told the Sydney Morning Herald. “We don’t see this going back to normal.”

Retail is moving online, and the post-coronavirus economic recovery has started. A wave of non-essential consumer and business purchases is on the horizon. The pandemic is likely to be with us for a year or so more, but the window of opportunity to prepare your business for this online retail growth is shrinking. Businesses that fail to move online and adopt best practice will be left behind.

We recommend working with Magento 2 to make the most of this unique opportunity.  When running platform selection for our clients we regularly find Magento 2 is a perfect fit.  

  • Magento allows you to fully control your customer experience without the limits found in platforms like Shopify.  
  • Magento is scalable and will continue to scale as your business grows and changes over time.  
  • Easily manage a B2C and B2B or B2C/B2B from a single Magento 2 backend instance.  
  • Feature your products in local marketplaces like Amazon, Ebay and Gumtree.  
  • Open your borders and allow customers to transact in multiple countries, languages, currencies, and use a network of worldwide shipping providers.
  • Reduce your integration complexity by utilising the Magento Extensions Marketplace.  Easily add new features and integrate with common 3rd party ERP, CRM and marketing automation platforms.

Now is the moment to set up your business on a Magento eCommerce platform. Don’t miss sales. Don’t miss this opportunity.

With decades of experience and as a certified Magento partner, Playhouse can help your business maximise its online sales capabilities. Get in touch with our team and we can talk to you about this or any other other eCommerce questions you may have.

Understanding Seamless Omnichannel Experiences

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Successful businesses are embracing an omnichannel approach to their cross-channel strategy.

The key distinction between omnichannel and multichannel is that the latter is focused on the product while the former is focused on the customer. Omnichannel strategy creates a consistent and unified customer experience for your brand regardless of where and how customers interact with it.

“Rather than treating channels as independent silos, omnichannel accounts for the spillover between channels and offers customer experiences within and between channels,” Shopify.com explains. “In essence, omnichannel removes the boundaries between different sales and marketing channels to create a unified, integrated whole. The distinctions between channels—onsite, social, mobile, email, physical, and instant messaging—disappear as a single view of the customer as well as a single experience of commerce emerges.”

Omnichannel is powered by technology and reliant on in to coordinate customer interactions with your brand. Previously, where it may have been acceptable for in-store purchases and offline marketing, for example, to occur in isolation, now customers expect each interaction to inform the other – something that has only increased with the acceleration of online adoption during the coronavirus crisis.

The core advantages of an omnichannel strategy are that it provides a clear and consistent vision of the brand, and it gives customers the information and interaction they want and how they want it, which increases customer acquisition and retention, and ultimately leads to an increase in sales. 

The Google report, Omnichannel shoppers: An emerging retail reality, concluded: “Omnichannel shopping presents a dramatic shift in how we think about retail, but it’s a change that comes with huge opportunity. Start your journey by understanding the specific traits of these shoppers. Get to know who they are and what propels them to shop online and in-store by using the tools that will help you measure online and offline purchases effectively across channels. Most important, give your customers what they’re craving: instant, relevant information no matter where they are or what device they’re using. Ultimately, though, it’s your team structure, incentives, and measurement that together support the common goal of attracting more loyal, valuable omnichannel shoppers. By focusing on their wants and needs, you’ll create a seamless shopping experience that’s more likely to drive sales across your organization.”

IDC predicts that half of all retailers have already adopted an omnichannel strategy, resulting in up to a 30% increase in profitability, due to higher revenue, and reduced costs of ownership, inventory, operations and promotions.

The Magento platform is geared to facilitating omnichannel strategy. With Magento Commerce and Magento Order management, you can:

– link in-store and online giving customers the option to buy online and pickup in-store, or to check inventory levels before leaving their homes

– centralise your global inventory and product sourcing, increasing efficiency, reducing costs and providing the best possible shopping experience

– grow your business through flexible order fulfilment, with stores, suppliers and partners effectively becoming mini distribution centres

Get in touch with our team and we can talk to you about this or any other other eCommerce questions you may have.