One in five Australian consumers would shop less on overseas websites if the Australian dollar fell below US90 cents, a survey shows.
A survey of 1,800 Australian consumers, by comparison shopping network Getprice, reveals two thirds of the consumers surveyed have increased their level of online shopping.
Meanwhile, 87% of respondents have purchased online from an overseas retailer, with more than half identifying broader product availability as a key factor for shopping on international sites.
However, it seems the strong Australian dollar is also to blame for the growing appeal of foreign websites.
One in five of the consumers surveyed would shop less on such sites if the dollar fell below US90 cents, while 16% would shop less on these sites if the dollar fell to less to US80 cents.
But online retail still trumps its bricks-and-mortar rivals, with three out of five respondents saying online retail fares better than offline retail with regard to price, deals and discounts.
For example, three out of five of the consumers surveyed asked retailers to price-match online prices, but only half of those retailers would do so.
Getprice marketing director David Whiteman says retailers that fail to integrate a “digital shopping experience” with their retail store will lose out, particularly over Christmas.
“We can expect [online shopping] to peak during the busy Christmas retail period as other factors… like crowds and parking spaces become problematic,” Whiteman says.
“It’s now very easy for shoppers to go somewhere else to find what they’re looking for.”
Whiteman says the rise of mobile shopping has provided consumers with more power when it comes to bargaining.
“However, when requesting a price-match, it’s important that shoppers make sure they are comparing like for like,” he says.
“Product features and bundles, warranties, return policies, shipping costs and personal customer service are all things that change the retail price.”
Samuel Junghenn, managing director of digital marketing agency Think Big Online, says the onset of real-time online reviews means retailers need to properly manage their online presence.
“Consumers can now leave reviews about their shopping experiences, which can reach hundreds of people in just a few minutes,” Junghenn says.
“Gone are the days where one person could tell only five of their friends about a bad experience. Now it can go viral very quickly.”
“You just need to look at the example of Gasp, the Melbourne retailer who asked those young ladies to leave their store.”
“The ladies tweeted and posted about their bad experience on Facebook and their comments went viral, as well as being picked up by TV, radio and newspapers in Australia and around the world.”
Whiteman says the prospect of another global downturn is prompting consumers to do more research before purchasing.
“More people are turning to review sites and social media forums to find out what businesses are really like before they buy [so] businesses can’t afford to ignore what is being said about them online,” he says.
Junghenn offers his top tips to retailers:
- Have a Google Places listing and monitor it.
- Have an interactive and engaging Facebook page.
- Always answer negative reviews in a humble, professional manner.
- Set up Google Alerts for your business name.
- Register your business domain name in all extensions (.com, .com.au, .tv).
- When clients are happy with their purchase, ask for a review or testimonial on the spot as most people won’t do it later.