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Online mega-sale Click Frenzy ‘Mayhem’ is bracing to smash last year’s sales figures after recording a massive uplift in traffic. 

The annual sales event, which kicked off at 7pm on Tuesday evening, is expected to smash through sales records, with the event’s managing director expecting a “significant uplift” in sales.

The discount sales event has already seen a 40 per cent increase in traffic compared to the following year with 1,136,676 visits.

While the full sales figures won’t be available until next week, managing director of Click Frenzy Grant Arnott said they were bracing for a new record.

“It was a great event, we’re really pleased with how Mayhem went in 2019. It’s certainly our biggest event ever and the biggest shopping event in May.”

The sales event, which allows shoppers to snap up incredible deals, has experienced a massive swing in online activity compared to the previous year.

“Last year Australia Post released a report finding in May online sales grew around 20 per cent. We think we’ll exceed that spike. I think it was very successful just from the amount of buzz we saw and the traffic growth we saw in excess of 40 per cent – and more importantly the growth in traffic we saw to retailers directly grew 56 per cent. We’re really expecting that to translate to a significant uplift in sales as well,” he told Retailbiz.

“It was a good week to do it straight after the election, the continuity of government perhaps helped people’s confidence. It delivered above expectations. It’s really pleasing to see us kick off EOFY sales with a big net buster event.”

Last year the campaign was plagued by a number of online glitches – issues which the retailer this year addressed – a factor that is likely to convert to huge sales growth.

The post Click Frenzy set to smash record, delivers “above expectations” appeared first on retailbiz.

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The Reject Shop’s chief executive has quit as the retailer falls into the red.

Ross Sudano on Thursday announced his resignation after the Reject Shop’s latest figures revealed the troubled retailer could be facing losses of up to $2 million, stoking concerns over its future.

The retailer said Mr Sudano would be leaving in the “near future,” most likely a matter of days not weeks, saying it is “an appropriate juncture” to “bring renewed energy and vigour to the role.”

The news comes after the brand announced massive store closures, with plans to close seven stores by the end of June.

While the retailer predicted inroads earlier this year, it is now looking at losses of $1 million to $2 million in the 2019 financial year.

The company blamed the figures on tough market conditions including dwindling consumer confidence and the rising cost of living.

“The company experienced a significant weakening in sales performance despite delivering well on key seasonal offers, including Easter, and this is an extremely disappointing result for our shareholders,” Chairman of the Reject Shop, Mr Bill Stevens, said.

“These factors, combined with increased competitive activity, have driven a decline in gross margin during the period.”

“Notwithstanding the current challenges facing the business, we continue to have confidence in the company’s long-term prospects, and the opportunities for a new CEO to deliver a refreshed product range that will appeal to a broader customer base, delivered through an evolving and expanding Store Network. One of the key priorities for the new leadership of the business is to generate sales growth and develop strategies to respond to the challenging retail environment.”

General Manager of Supply Chain, Strategy and Innovation Dani Aquilina has been appointed acting CEO as the company searches for a replacement.

The news also comes as the company appoints two new directors to its board, Mr Steven Fisher and Mr Zac Midalia.

The post Reject Shop CEO exits as retailer faces massive losses appeared first on retailbiz.

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Online retailer Kogan is facing fines of up to $10,000,000 for  allegedly increasing the price of products before offering a 10 per cent discount.

The retail giant has been taken to court by the consumer watchdog over alleged false or misleading discount advertisements.

The ACCC launched proceedings against the retailer in the Federal Court on Thursday morning, alleging that they made false or misleading representations about a 10 per cent discount promotion.

The watchdog claims that a promotion run at the end of the 2017/18 financial year was misleading because prior to launching the 10 per cent discount promotion the retailer allegedly hiked the price of more than 600 of its products, “in most cases” increasing the price by at least the same amount.

The promotion, which was run between the 27th and 30th June last year, was advertised on its website and via text.

“We allege that Kogan’s advertisements were likely to have caused consumers to think they were getting products below their usual prices. In fact, Kogan had inflated product prices which we say created a false impression of the effective discount,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

Towards the end of the promotion period, Kogan’s email advertisements used statements such as “48 hours left!” and “Ends midnight tonight!” which the watchdog claims gave the impression consumers only had a limited time to purchase the products at the “discounted” prices.

According to the ACCC’s website the maximum penalty for a breach of the consumer law is $10,000,000.

The post Kogan faces court over alleged consumer law breaches appeared first on retailbiz.

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Westfield and beauty giant MECCA are partnering to bring an exclusive beauty event and after party to the the masses next month.

The move is part of Westfield’s ongoing bid to engage its shoppers with unique experiences.

Just last week Mecca hosted its exclusive beauty festival MECCALAND, showcasing scores of products and interactive pop-up experiences including makeup masterclasses.

Now the travelling roadshow will bring a similar experience to shoppers at Westfield in five Australian states and New Zealand.

The public event in June will replicate the experiences available at MECCALAND with an after party featuring a variety of different MECCALAND ‘world’ experiences, as well as Beauty Lab masterclasses and tutorials.

Customers in NSW, VIC, WA, SA and QLD will be given the chance to attend the event, as well as customers in Auckland New Zealand.

Westfield pushes unique experiences

The news is part of Westfield’s ongoing bid to offers its customers unique and engaging experiences.

Head of Brand Experience Content & Programming Scentre Group, Bronwyn Cooper said Westfield’s partnership with MECCA is an example of the brand’s commitment to working with retailers to curate one-of-a-kind experiences for its customers.

“At Westfield, providing unique and memorable experiences for our customers is at the heart of everything we do, so partnering with MECCA to bring this experience to customers who may not have otherwise had the opportunity, is incredibly exciting to us.

“The #MECCALAND After Parties will be an extension of the main event and will be tailored to each individual centre and the interests and tastes of its community. We’re looking forward to seeing the fun unfold across Australia and New Zealand next month,” she said.

The after party will be hosted at ten centres throughout Australia from 1-2 and 8-9 June.

For more information visit the website here.

The post Westfield to open MECCALAND experience to shoppers appeared first on retailbiz.

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We’ve had Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) but for Aussie retailers, the newest service they should care about is Commerce-as-a-Service, more commonly referred to as headless commerce.

At its core, headless commerce enables merchants to simultaneously provide rich content and a robust e-commerce platform, without having to prioritise one over the other. With global giants setting up shop down under, the retail industry in Australia is becoming increasingly competitive. As a result, customer experience and loyalty are more important than ever and merchants must embrace new technologies to transform the shopping experience for their customers. For Australian vendors, adopting headless commerce gives them the unique ability to deliver both quality content and a dynamic e-commerce platform for their customers.

Having the best of both worlds with headless commerce

One of the main benefits of headless commerce is that it enables retailers to create well-rounded e-commerce experiences, as vendors are able to enable content management and delivery, user experience and SEO all at the same time. As the e-commerce space grows and develops, consumers globally are expecting more from their shopping experiences. We’ve seen this happen with traditional physical retailers who’ve had to adopt an omnichannel approach and now we’re seeing it with online retailers who have to ensure the end-to-end experience is top notch from clicking in to checking out.

For example, camera and photography company, Kodak uses WordPress on the front end to host its products and blog content. However, for its back end and checkout, Kodak uses BigCommerce to manage PCI compliance, checkout, uptime and security. The seamless interaction between the front and back end of Kodak’s website allows the business to save time and money, not to mention improving security. With headless commerce, Kodak is able to invest in innovation and maintain its competitiveness in a constantly evolving industry.

Embracing headless commerce provides vendors with more flexibility as they aren’t forced to choose between a content management system (CMS) and the back ends of their e-commerce businesses. Headless commerce also frees up time for retailers, empowering them to spend more time investing in the growth and scale of their businesses. At its core, headless commerce enables retailers to easily choose between the top content platforms without having to sacrifice e-commerce performance.

Agility is becoming increasingly important for retailers as customers demand more from their shopping experiences — they want to be able to browse online, engage with rich content, have access to multiple payment options and fast, reliable delivery. Headless commerce is particularly important for vendors looking to expand across new channels and geographies, as it can help them set themselves apart from the myriad of competitors biting at their heels.

All about customer experience

For customers, headless commerce is the miracle tool that powers the stunning online experiences they want from retailers. In fact, headless commerce provides e-commerce businesses with the tools to invest in flexibility, speed, and intuitive design — all qualities of a website that consumers crave.

The old school mantra of ‘the customer is always right’ rings true for online retailers too. For e-commerce businesses, this is centred around giving customers exactly what they want from online shopping experiences all the time. Being customer-focused from the initial browsing stage to the final checkout is vital to maintain customer loyalty — particularly as more options are being presented to consumers than ever before. Gibson Guitars is another example of a retailer that has created a front end to entice customers and appeal aesthetically to them. However, the way a website looks is just one part of the shopping journey for customers, and another reason why Gibson has been successful online is because customers can trust that the back end of the website will manage any transactions safely and securely.

What’s important to consider here is that customers generally have no knowledge of what’s going on in the background during their online shopping interactions — they just know they want the smoothest and most seamless experience possible. With this in mind, vendors should look to headless commerce as an effective way to engage consumers and influence their shopping decisions. The smoother the shopping experience, the better. Headless commerce allows retailers to deliver an unparalleled shopping experience, while still managing back end priorities such as security, inventory management, order fulfilment and points of sale.

This seamless integration of the commerce and engagement layers will allow retailers to focus on personalising the shopping experience, so their customers keep coming back. In this way, headless commerce should be seen as a growth tool, not only to help scale businesses, but to grow and nurture relationships with customers.

As the e-commerce industry continues to develop and new competitors come to the forefront, it’s more important than ever that retailers invest in e-commerce systems that can grow with them. Technology is becoming a cornerstone of successful e-commerce businesses as the value of headless commerce becomes clear. For local businesses that haven’t yet jumped on the headless commerce train, it’s not too late — but should be a priority for 2019.

Jordan Sim, Director of Product, BigCommerce

The post Why the time is now to embrace Headless Commerce appeared first on retailbiz.

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Retailers can make a real difference to the environment if they rethink the way they manage textile waste, writes Adrian Jones.

The term ‘external cost’ is a rather dry, economic concept, but when it comes to a topic such as recycling of textiles, this concept has the potential to change the Australian retail sector’s attitudes and help the environment.

By external cost, I mean a cost an activity imposes on a third party, which was not part of the original transaction.

To understand the additional external costs of textile production and consumption, which will only increase as the population and demand for fast fashion skyrockets, should be impetus enough to have Australian companies reviewing where they can recycle and find efficiencies.

Paradoxically, increased recycling lowers the internal and external costs over time.

To explain it more simply, when we buy a garment, the price we pay is the internal cost, which covers the costs of production, fabric, shipping and so on and it is these factors which determine the price the item is sold for by the retailer.

What is not part of this equation is the external cost, which the consumers do not pay at the point of purchase. This falls on the retailer.

These include all the things we often choose not to think about, as they are all a bit unpleasant. This can include everything from the full cost of disposing of that product at the end of its life as well as the environmental damage and degradation that occurs in the manufacturing process.

A good example of an external cost would be the disposal costs quoted by the charity sector in Australia, to transport and sort unsaleable product into landfill. Currently this is $13million of additional cost incurred by them when they did not buy the original garment.

Globally, the external costs of the textile industry are staggering, yet are only recently being discussed, as they have often remained out of sight and out of mind.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation found the total greenhouse emissions created by the apparel industry in 2015 was 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2, which was more than that emissions created by all the global flights and maritime shipping combined.

Strange isn’t it, that when you buy a flight, you have the chance to pay for a carbon offset to reduce the external cost, but in all my years in retailing I do not recall implementing a carbon levy on any garment?

Here in Australia, another example of a pricing mechanism being used to try and reduce external cost are landfill levies. The theory being that these set a price for disposal into landfill sites and so, over time, encourage more recycling to avoid the fee.

In terms of textiles it is further complicated by the fact we have no state-based textile recycling to capture our garments as we dispose of them, so they become waste of donations to charities.

Neither method places the external cost onto the consumer of the textiles, nor onto the manufacturer. If you think about TVs, there are product stewardship schemes in which the manufacturers directly pay for their waste, but this does not happen in textiles.

A scalable solution

Australia needs the equivalent with a scalable and repeatable solution for the fabric separation of polyester and cotton. We have been working on developing recycling centres in regional Australia for textile waste and it’s our hope the centres will recycle and reuse more than 10,000 tonnes of polyester and cotton from post-consumer garments.

What will the impact of doing this? For every 10,000 of recycled polyester produced, CO2 emissions are reduced by over 15,000 tonnes; by using recycled as opposed to virgin polyester we reduce the amount of energy in production by over 50 per cent.

These are significant numbers that have a real impact on reducing the external costs of textile consumption. Why do we continue the cycle of buy and markdown when we know we are caught in an expensive cycle?

A growing population will consume more and businesses will grow so how do we achieve this and lower the external and internal costs of doing business?

I know now that there is a certain point in the markdown cycle, where there is more value in the fibres of your garments than the garments themselves.

  • Maybe we should intervene in and start to recycle garments earlier?
  • Maybe we should aim to reduce our external costs by reducing our virgin fibre consumption and use our own recycled fibre, which we have already purchased?
  • Maybe we divert recycled garments into our coat hangers or in store fixtures as all of these are costs?

We can, and we must, reduce external costs and we need to embrace volume recycling to do so.

By Adrian Jones, co-founder of BlockTexx

The post The true cost of textile waste in the Australian retail sector appeared first on retailbiz.

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Harrods, Woolworths Group and Amazon are three brands reshaping the retail sector and shining a spotlight on the incredible value of owned media and the possibility of unlocking multi-million dollar revenue streams.

By developing internal media business units, these companies, along with numerous iconic retailers, are placing a stronger focus on unlocking revenue by leveraging what all retailers have, but don’t necessarily recognise – owned media assets.

So what is an owned asset and why does it matters?

Simply put, owned media is basically any point of contact a business has with its customer, which they control. This can be everything from websites, in-store POS/screens, apps, customer databases and loyalty programs right down to staff and packaging.

Our research values Australia’s owned media market at $96 billion, with the retail sector accounting for nearly half (46 per cent) of that, equating to a significant $44 billion; yet just over 10 per cent of retailers understand the potential of these assets.

We see this as a truly powerful opportunity for business and this is backed up by the December 2018 Owned Media Monetisation report by independent consultants Forrester Research.

The report states that the serving of online ads to consumers facilitated opportunities for “commerce companies to deliver a superior customer experience, while also cultivating a rapidly growing new revenue stream with healthy margins.”

Forrester values global digital advertising at $219 billion in 2017, with 62 per cent of all global online advertising revenue coming from Google and Facebook and that Expedia now “generates 11 per cent of its revenue from advertising and media on its (own) properties.”

Amazon has been the latest big brand to launch its own owned media business, launching Amazon Advertising in Australia in early April, to generate a separate income stream by allowing companies to buy advertising space on their owned media including video ads.

“With Amazon Advertising, agencies and advertisers – regardless of whether or not they sell on Amazon – can deliver relevant messages to customers on and off Amazon, throughout their customer journey,” the company explained in a website blog.

“We are excited to continue working with advertisers and agencies to help them grow their businesses and meet their goals.”

In March, Woolworths Group launched Cartology as a standalone media business, which will tap into the group’s owned assets as part of a shift from its current model of using external agencies for their media selling.

Harrods Group did the same thing in 2011 when they launched Harrods Media which has set the benchmark for using owned media assets for luxury brands.

Back home, the launch of Amazon Advertising and Cartology herald a new awakening in Australian business about the potential value of using their owned assets. It has also revealed an appetite for a new way of working as Australian retailers start to position themselves to take advantage of the unlocked value sitting right under their noses.

So where to start?

Many senior retail leaders know the importance of owned assets however, most retail businesses in Australia still undervalue and under-leverage their owned media assets.

Some of this points to a lack of awareness about how to better utilise owned assets, some of it’s due to a lack of appreciation of the real value connected to these assets and some of it’s simply not knowing where to start.

To fix this, in my opinion, retailers need to:

Value: audit the media assets in their own organisation, understand the scale of their audience and define their media asset value. From there you can determine annual commercial potential.

Unlock: identify what needs to be done to existing assets to make them commercially viable and develop new assets. These assets must align with channels in-demand for advertisers, for example, a digital screen network. Also find ways to improve operations so that advertisers see them as a professional media owner.

Commercialise: develop sustainable commercial strategies that deliver a triple win: for their customers, their suppliers and their profitability. The growth in pop-up retail experiences is a good example of this triple win.

Retailers who avail themselves of this will be better positioned to utilise their owned assets and equip themselves with a very powerful weapon against digital disruption and consumer changes.

The opening of new owned media businesses shows the market shares my conviction that business owners who take the steps to utilise their owned assets will have a significant edge over their competition.

By Jonathan Hopkins, Co-Founder of Sonder

The post How Aussie retailers can unlock millions in revenue appeared first on retailbiz.

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Japanese retailer Muji has created its largest ever immersive concept store in Melbourne, featuring an embroidery service, workshop space and Melbourne to Go concept.

The shopfront, which will be unveiled in August, has a floor space of more than 1700sqm, making it the biggest Muji store in Australia.

The immersive store will boast an array of household furniture new to the Australian market and Muji’s signature minimalist Japanese-style clothing, stationary, skincare, bedding and travel goods.

The concept store will also give shoppers the chance to explore the retailer’s offerings while immersing themselves in experiences like MUJI books and MUJI Labo – a new garment capsule range, embroidery service and dedicated kids play area.

A cutting edge space where workshops and exhibitions take place will also feature in the story, as well as a separate Melbourne to Go concept which showcases all things to do in Melbourne and a coffee cart.

The embroidery stand at Muji’s concept store.

MUJI Australia’s Managing Director Mr Takeshi Fujimoto said uptake of the brand in Australia has already been strong, with a sharp increase in sales over the last five and a half years.

“We’ve received a very positive response from the local market since we opened our first store in Chadstone back in 2013, and we’re incredibly excited to continue to grow our presence within Australia with this new offering. It will provide shoppers with a unique Japanese MUJI experience through our increased product range, new store design to this market, and the inclusion of such elements such as Open MUJI. All this combined will make for a truly MUJI feeling,” he said.

“We look forward to further developing and sharing our brand concepts with our valued Australian customers and are thrilled to showcase the new Chadstone retail space,” added Takeshi.

The doors of the concept store are set to open at the end of August this year.

The post Muji launches Japanese-style concept store appeared first on retailbiz.

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With Australia’s biggest online sale upon us in a matter of hours, retailers have the chance to unleash massive sales.

As one of e-commerce’s biggest events of the year, Click Frenzy – which opens at 7pm on Tuesday AEST – opens up massive opportunities for retailers – potentially reeling in scores of new customers and massive profits.

For some, sales can increase twofold, with online sales increasing 45 per cent during the week of the sale, according to recent data from Criteo.

With these sales getting bigger and bigger each year, attracting more retailers than ever, competition is fierce, says Jordan Sim, Group Product Manager at BigCommerce.

But with these four tips, retailers have the opportunity to unlock massive sales, he says.

  1. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

Preparation is absolutely crucial to success this evening – with website functionality one of the most important factors, Mr Sim says.

“There’s nothing worse for consumers than thinking they’ve scored a bargain, only to realise at checkout that the item is out of stock. Retailers must ensure their websites are fully stocked to help them make the most of the sales period and prevent frustrated customers.”

  1. Provide a smooth shopping experience

Giving consumers a seamless online experience will also gives retailers an upperhand, he says.

“Participating in these types of sales today is a given, but succeeding in them comes from being smart and giving customers what they want — a seamless shopping experience from start to finish. Avoid cart abandonment by ensuring the online shopping experience is as smooth as possible.”

  1. Spread the word

But marketing through the right channel is equally important to ensure you target the right consumer.

“There’s no use in participating in Click Frenzy if your customers don’t know about it. Utilising a range of channels to alert your followers to the bargains you’re offering is key, and communicating with them directly through platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and EDM, is essential,” he said.

  1. Don’t forget about shipping and delivery

Finally, making sure shipping and delivery is good value is absolutely critical to close the sale, Mr Sim says.

“Your customers won’t want to spend the money they’ve just saved on the cost of shipping and delivery. Sweetening the sales experience with cheap or even free delivery can help you seal the deal.”

The post Four tips for retailers to blitz Click Frenzy appeared first on retailbiz.

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The re-election of the Morrison Government is being hailed as welcome news for the retail sector, who last week flagged concerns over Labor’s push to restore penalty rates. 

The retail industry peak on Monday praised the return of the Coalition government, saying the news was “warmly welcomed” by the retail sector.

The Morrison Government, who appears on track for a majority government with Tuesday’s polls showing 75 seats for the Coalition, and three ‘close’ seats, will give retailers much-needed stability, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said.

Russel Zimmerman, executive director of the ARA applauded the election outcome, saying that the sector will continue to work with the government on the key issues affecting retailers.

“On behalf of Australia’s $320bn retail sector, we’d like to offer our warmest congratulations to the Prime Minister and his team on their victory in a hard-fought contest at Saturday’s federal election,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the government on a raft of issues affecting our members,” he added.

Mr Zimmerman called out Labor’s pledge to reverse penalty rate cuts – reaffirming the peak’s commitment to pushback against such a move.

“The independent umpire – the Fair Work Commission, set up by Labor – makes evidence-based determinations regarding issues such as penalty rates, and its independence must be respected,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“We hope the election result puts an end to attempts to interfere politically with bodies such as the FWC.”

Just last week retailers flagged concerns about Labor’s ambitions to reform the industrial relations sector, particularly as tough market conditions continue to plague retailers, with retail growth in 2017-18 being the lowest on record.

“Governments don’t determine trade or turnover, but what they administer dictates the conditions with which our retail member businesses must work to be profitable, to make a living, and create jobs,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“The Morrison government has signalled a commonsense approach to workplace relations, business energy costs, lower taxes, cutting red tape, and taking a rational view on climate change, and we welcome its re-election to office,” Mr Zimmerman concluded.

The post Re-elected Coalition ‘a win’ for retailers appeared first on retailbiz.

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