The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the digitisation of how Australian consumers shop. This retail revolution was already underway across the globe, with leading technology company ShopFully developing digital solutions that simplify the shopping experience and ultimately generate traffic in physical stores.
Australians amassed a record-breaking online spend in 2020, however, e-commerce purchases still only account for 16.3% of the total retail industry; the other 83.7% are made in-store. Despite this, consumers no longer see the difference between online and offline—they are after a seamless shopping experience wherever they are browsing and checking out.
RetailBiz spoke to ShopFully’s Country Manager for Australia, Dean Vocisano, to understand more about customer purchase behaviours and its booming regional operations.
Retail’s digital revolution
Now, more than ever before, consumers are planning their shopping online. According to ShopFully, the pandemic has accelerated a digital revolution already underway in shopping and physical stores.
Recent research by ShopFully and Nielsen found four in five Australian consumers use digital platforms to collect information on the stores to go to, and over 60% decide what to buy and when while using their smartphone.
“Aussies are tapping into their smartphones as an anywhere remote control for shopping. From home, they’re exploring stores and the products available, comparing offers, seeking additional information and even booking appointments with experts” Vocisano said. “In store, devices are being used to simplify the experience—from empowering customers to find products themselves to paying without going through the checkouts. Retailers and brands that are seeing this as a rich opportunity to engage with customers are reaping the rewards”.
The increasing shift to online has driven phenomenal growth in the use of digital catalogues, with ShopFully experiencing an 88% year-on-year increase in new in-app sessions for its catalogue database in 2020, with a 35% rise in engagement.
Tech driving in-store visits
Over 12 million Australian consumers look to ShopFully to simplify their shopping, and local retailers like ALDI, Coles, Big W and The Good Guys are tapping into its mobile-first marketplace to drive traffic to their nearby stores. Close to home and across the world, over 700 retailers and brands use ShopFully’s single-platform solution to digitise their storefronts and catalogues, ultimately transforming online traffic into physical shopping in over 320,000 stores.
Vocisano explained, “Our technology helps retailers to make their storefronts as transparent as the eCommerce world where products, prices and promotions are obvious. Consumers still want to shop in-store, but our research has shown they often don’t know where to go, how to get there, where to find the products they’re after and more. We’re transforming this digital engagement into store visits for retailers.”
“ShopFully was founded in Milan in 2011, where the retail industry’s digital transformation is two, three years ahead of Australia. We’re bringing this experience and many key learnings to our retail partners as we help them on the journey to digitise their catalogue programs at the fast pace customers expect.”
Supporting physical Australian retailers will always be the core of what ShopFully does, with Vocisano emphasising how important bricks-and-mortar stores are to the national economy with millions of people employed and driving traffic to city centres as meeting places.
ShopFully’s continually simplifying shopping
With the soul of the business focused on technology to make consumers’ lives easier, ShopFully is not slowing down any time soon. Last month, it launched an in-app savings list feature to help customers discover deals and promotions as they plan their shopping trips. Australians generally love a bargain, however, the update comes as the global pandemic has forced over one-third (34%) of Australians to be more careful with their spending due to budgetary constraints.
Looking to the future, Vocisano said the company will continue working with retailers and brands to help them seamlessly integrate their online and offline worlds. “We are a drive-to-store company and our focus will always be converting digital to physical. However, consumers want choice, so we’re working to integrate more omni-channel solutions into our app so customers can purchase from multiple retailers with ease.”