Is e-commerce the key to customer retention?

E-commerce is emerging as both a challenge and an opportunity for businesses around Australia, with even established brands struggling to keep up.


IT professionals have plenty of opportunity to influence a number of industries throughout Australia, with the retail sector being the latest to join the queue.

The rise in e-commerce trends means that retail stores need to have one eye on their brick-and-mortar store and the other on the online marketplace. However, new research has revealed that simply having an online store is not enough to guarantee success. There is a lot of competition in the digital space, and it’s not difficult for consumers to find an alternative if they feel let down by a company’s services.

A new report from SAP has outlined the struggles that businesses can face when managing e-commerce trends, and it’s not just smaller enterprises that are suffering.

E-commerce tests established brands

Online retailing is nothing new for the experts, with sites like Amazon making their name in this sector. For newcomers, however, there is a lot to learn – and not a lot of time to catch up.

According to a survey from SAP, nearly half (47 per cent) or all respondents were dissatisfied with the e-commerce experiences of 34 of Australia’s most-recognised companies. In such a competitive marketplace, this can be the difference between retaining a customer or losing them to a rival organisation.

Of those who indicated they weren’t happy with the experiences provided by these companies, just 17 per cent said they still felt loyalty to the brand. On the other hand, 73 per cent of respondents who had positive engagement with these e-commerce initiatives said they would stay loyal.

How can companies ensure a positive experience?

SAP breaks successful e-commerce platforms down to one key step: simplicity. The firm believes that a “digital experience should be cohesive, integrated and easy”.

Deloitte’s recent report entitled Navigating the Digital Divide provided further advice to companies looking to leverage the influence of e-commerce platforms. Just because these are based online doesn’t mean they exist without influence from physica​l stores, with the firm advising that employees should be trained to bridge the gap between these two sales platforms.

According to Deloitte’s report, 40 per cent of Australian shoppers will consult a digital platform at some point in the buying process, with the majority of this interaction (65 per cent) occurring pre-purchase.

The future is likely to see these strategies go one step further, with industry leaders expecting a seamless integration between physical and digital platforms. According to an August 3 SmartCompany article, Research Consultant at Monash University’s Australian Centre for Retail Studies Violet Lazarevic gave the example of a sports retailer that started as an online store before moving into the physical.

To keep its digital image, the company adorned the walls of its building with interactive screens that merge digital with physical shopping.