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How e-commerce changed retail

Betsan Jones
Technology Journalist

Betsan Jones is a freelance lifestyle and tech journalist with experience across a number of international publications

Betsan Jones
Technology Journalist

Betsan Jones is a freelance lifestyle and tech journalist with experience across a number of international publications

Highlights
  • Australians are among the biggest spenders online in the world.    
  • Consumers are increasingly using smartphones to make purchases, meaning having a mobile-friendly website is a must.    
  • Using a live chat service can give your website a human touch that other digital channels lack.    

The introduction of e-commerce has drastically changed the retail landscape. But what does the digitisation of operations mean for Aussie businesses?

e-commerce offers a huge opportunity for Australian businesses. Since the first pilot for an online shopping system in 1979, the act of selling online has continued to develop and expand.

The term new retail is used to describe a fusion of old and new: the combination of traditional retail experiences with digital platforms that creates a dynamic, new shopping experience for customers.

And Australia has been quick to embrace these trends. We’re currently ranked number 10 for best e-commerce market in the world, and many businesses are reaping the rewards that being active on the global (or broader domestic) marketplace can deliver.

But what are some of the key behaviours having the biggest impact?

woman talking on phone whilst sat at her desk on laptop

Mobile commerce

We use our mobile and tablet devices more and more to organise our lives, along with carrying out transactions. Research from Google has shown that 50 per cent of people said that even if they like a business, they will use them less often if the website isn't mobile-friendly. A recent report showed that 30 per cent of all e-commerce conversions in the US now occur on mobile – a fact search engines are now acutely aware of, rewarding those that cater for mobile visitors.

Live chat

These days, customers are likely to expect an immediate answer to a query, and some won’t even want to trawl through your FAQ list.

Live chat, on desktop or mobile, provides customers with the human touch that is sometimes lacking on digital channels. The data collected through live chat – particularly when combined with staff insights around reasoning – can also help your business understand purchase decisions. 

Micropayments

A micropayment is a very small sum of money paid online, that relies on high volumes of purchase at a low price point to stimulate profits. In the same way that the music industry was revolutionised by 99 cent songs, businesses are starting to recognise the power of lowering price-points to capitalise on the volume of a global marketplace. This is particularly effective for digital assets that don’t have the manufacturing costs associated with physical products.

One new software startup, Blendle, recently suggested that micropayments could be used effectively within the publishing industry – allowing readers to buy one article at a time, rather than having to pay for a subscription model. 

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Drone delivery

Drones’ usability are still being evaluated in an e-commerce context, but according to eDigitalResearch, 33 per cent of online shoppers are open to using drones to speed up the delivery of their orders.

With drone delivery service from Google's parent company Alphabet set to launch commercially in 2017, a fly-by delivery service may not be too far away.

Digitisation of operations: Edible Blooms

Founded in 2005, Edible Blooms is a gift delivery service that specialises in edible bouquets, creating bunches from fresh fruit and flowers in order to send to customers all over the world.

Built on a strong e-commerce platform, these days 70 to 80 per cent of Edible Blooms’ orders come through their website.

So how did an e-commerce approach benefit their business?

Better for budget

Edible Blooms launched on an e-commerce platform due to a tight, startup budget. Beginning with a simple website format, founder Kelly Jamieson has since switched to use e-commerce solutions and shopping cart software platform.

Using the platform to sell online, process payments and manage inventory across multiple sites, Kelly can manage almost all aspects of her business via one online dashboard. Since going live with its e-commerce platform, Edible Blooms’ conversion rate increased by 20 per cent, and the average cart size has grown by $5.

Edible Blooms’ online strategy has kept their prices down and competitive with traditional florists. This approach has also meant that they haven’t brought in financial partners – meaning they own their business fully.

Doing it for the data

Edible Blooms’ strong online presence and focus on customer service has resulted in a high Google review ranking of 4.9 out of 5.

Managing customer experience is very important for Kelly, and careful monitoring of their online Net Promoter Score (NPS) – an index that that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company's products or services to others – has given Kelly the insight and power to tweak the customer journey where appropriate. 

Edible Blooms used eCommerce to overhaul their business and make a big difference online

Read the next part in the Edible Blooms story today.

Find out more

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