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, The Playhouse Group 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 eCommerce questions you may have.