o all of us involved in online relationships, below are four new ‘truths’ for online retailing. But first, we think this article (Cliona O’Dowd, Business Spectator) is a valuable read. It highlights where Australian retailers are failing.

We have had to come a long way very quickly – being online is no place for laggards. It’s only in March this year that The Economist Intelligence Unit published its survey – a turning point – that warned online retailing was having an impact.

Now we can see:

  1. There is a world standard for customer expectations, constantly being re-set by companies like Amazon, that we have to achieve. Online customers have that expectation.
  2. The tyranny of distance is now the tyranny of closeness. There is no forgiveness for being local and ‘Buy Australian’ no longer cuts-the-mustard. The article describes a group of retailers that are still not grasping basic online concepts, while a growing proportion of shoppers have well and truly ‘got it’. One reason for this is retailer laziness – we’ve tried to find another excuse.
  3. We can therefore expect a bias against buying local, from those Australians who are ‘down’ on Australian retailers (check out the comments at the end of  the article).
  4. To succeed we need to be better-than-world-standard in our online/offline relationships. Anything less is not-good-enough. First step in that direction is a change in mind-set.

In part the article reads:

If Australian retailers are to survive, they need to adapt better and faster. Shoppers won’t put up with paying exorbitant prices when they can get the same goods from an international site much cheaper, no matter what Lew says. Why pay $30 for a book from an Australian retailer – online or in store – when the same book can be bought for $18 on Amazon.com?

“Why wait longer to get clothes delivered from Myer – up to seven business days – instead of ordering from a shop like Next in the UK, where delivery is within five business days? Why bother nominating a delivery day on David Jones’ website when all it guarantees is that your item will be delivered “within two working days either side of the nominated date”? It’s completely absurd for retailers to think this is acceptable for shoppers.

“Australian retailers need to get their act together. If they won’t compete on price, they need to offer a service that overseas online retailers can’t..<more>

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