7 September 2011: Amidst retailer uncertainty and predictions that a renewed global recession could be on its way, new data into the purchasing behaviour of Australians was revealed this morning at the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association’s (AIMIA) ‘Online retail: Brand engagement in a multi-channel environment’ Forum in Sydney.
Chief Executive Officer, Greg Muller of international customer experience research company, Global Reviews presented the findings of the firm’s latest study into the trends and behaviour of Australian online consumers.
Conducted in August 2011, it compared findings with a replica study which was completed by Global Reviews in 2009 to compare trends. The study focused on the search and online buying behaviour of Australian consumers for jeans, lounge suites and air conditioners.
The study highlighted the impact that consumers’ online pre-purchase research was having on offline retailers. In each of the product categories, study participants were most likely to start their buying cycle online - jeans 54 per cent, lounge suites 91 per cent and air conditioners 100 per cent.
While the study showed that online dominated product research, consumers still had a preference to go into the store to try and buy.
Reflecting on the results, Mr Muller said, “The data unveiled today demonstrates that retailers need to be very conscious of a multi-channel strategy. This doesn’t mean just having a website and a physical store, rather it requires a whole new way of thinking to engage and win the modern consumer.”
“Now, more than ever, traditional retailers must work harder to retain a captive consumer audience to give them a worthwhile reason or incentive to walk in to their store,” he said.
A key finding of the 2011 study was while typically two thirds of consumers would start their buying cycle through research via a search engine, an increased number of participants went directly to brand websites because of their previous experience with that brand.
“Customers just expect our main retailers to be online. Australian retailers have invested heavily over the years with brand awareness and their physical stores. Customers are willing to give them a first chance because there is history, and trust. While overseas shops are having an impact, it’s our retailers that typically get the first bite. It’s up to them to get the experience and engagement right,” says Muller.
Some of the study’s other findings included:
• A previous buying experience with a particular shop or brand dominated participants’ initial search and discovery behaviour. More than 80 per cent of participants in the study used a direct web address or brand name to find an online shop where they had previously purchased something.
• Facebook was the most influential social media platform compared to Twitter, LinkedIn, FourSquare and MySpace, when it came to conducting online research and influencing purchases online. However, for more than 50 per cent of people, social media did not influence their research or purchase decision.
• PCs and laptops were the predominant devices consumers used when completing online purchases. Mobile phone and tablets made up less than 2 per cent.
• Although the frequency of online research had increased for high-cost purchases since 2009, visiting a retail store was still the most popular next-step for most consumers, once they found a product of interest online.
• ‘No shipping costs’, ‘payment security’ and ‘easy to buy’ were cited as the top three influencers to purchase online.
Global Reviews Chief Executive Officer, Greg Muller will be available for interview today, Wednesday 7 September from 12.00pm (AEST) following his address at the AIMIA conference.
People interested in obtaining a free detailed summary of the report findings can register their interest at www.globalreviews.com/aimia
Ronald McDonald House, Perth
In 1985 a group of parents with children being treated for cancer at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) realised the need for an accommodation facility close to the hospital. They formed the ‘Life Group’ and started their mission to raise funds to build a ‘House of Life’.
Later in 1985 Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Australia was established and the Life Group received assistance to build a House in Perth. The partnership between the House of Life and RMHC commenced.
PMH provided a block of land on York Street, Subiaco, and local community groups, individuals and local McDonald’s licensees fully funded the House with $450,000. It opened on 27 November 1990.
In 1995, due to the increasing need for more accommodation, the House was extended to include six self-contained units for families in need of long-term accommodation. There have been further upgrades and extensions to the kitchen and family area, courtyards and administration areas.
The House increased its occupancy levels in 2007 when it expanded its eligibility criteria to include families with children who were suffering other forms of serious illness as well as cancer. These days the House has 100 per cent occupancy almost every night.
In addition to the House, there are also two Ronald McDonald Family Retreats in WA – one in Bunbury and one in Jurien Bay. They provide families of seriously ill children with the opportunity to get away from the hospital and enjoy some much needed rest and relaxation time.
P: (08) 9388 0944
M: 0404 151 817
Peter KocovskiM: 0401 053 662