Top 5 Retail Predictions for Australia in 2017

Retailers will be pushed to balance between convenience and experience, stores needing to deliver a least one of these exceptionally well to succeed.

With the first quarter just passed and plenty of change in the world of retail, I thought I’d touch on what we at CROSSMARK see ahead for retail in the remainder of the year. The impending entrance of more large international players will kick competition into an even higher gear and continue to change the landscape for Australian shopping. The consumer’s ever-evolving ethical and social priorities are affecting buyer behaviour and loyalty.

1. Amazon’s dominance in focused categories

We’re no strangers to retail titans slashing prices to control a category (read “In Amazon and Walmart’s Battle for Dominance, Who Loses Out?”), but until now we’ve been mainly watching it from a distance in the US market.  Will Amazon try the same tactics here (probably) and will existing retailers have to adapt and respond to compete with them (absolutely)?  

2. Increased importance in the in-store experience


Successful stores will provide an experience that cannot be replicated online. The latest buzzword catching on is “retailtainment” – which aims to make the shopping experience so entertaining and enjoyable to draw customers into bricks and mortar. Retailers will be pushed to balance between convenience and experience, stores needing to deliver at least one of these exceptionally well to succeed.

See General Pants bringing together offline with online shopping experiences, UNIQLO using technology to leverage neuroscience to suggest the right T-shirt and Toyota’s award-winning interactive screens to customise your car.

3. Continued rise of ‘the discounters’


Australia is an attractive market to international giants and grocery is no different. Pending launches of Kaufland and Lidl, global retailing giants, will drive market leaders Coles and Woolworths to innovate. Pricing pressures to continue for all retailers and suppliers.

4. Same-day and free delivery will become the norm

A combination of voice-command interfaces (see Amazon’s Alexa), free delivery and same day delivery will change how and when people shop. Amazon is reportedly seeking local logistics centres, setting up the infrastructure to handle these features and Amazon Prime – their paid membership program that offers every day household items with free two-hour delivery.  This will drive fundamental changes in how consumers will purchase, and also drive their basic expectations of retailers.

5. Push towards quality, sustainably sourced and locally sourced products


Consumers will continue to care more about the providence and environmental impact of what they buy and be more knowledgeable about what they put in or on their body. From sustainable packaging to shoppers opting wanting to feel connected to the community, we’ll see even more focus on product-transparency to convert socially-conscious shoppers.

CROSSMARK is excited to be part of this evolving market, adapting what it takes to connect brands to consumers. We’re working with our clients to make sure they’re staying ahead, driving competition and innovating their brand engagement strategies.