Does my shop need to be online?

Businesses without an online presence are dying slow and painful deaths. Retail is not changing... it's changed and if you haven't adapted you're missing out on the new buying process.

MYOB.com.au

There are still many retail outlets that have either no online presence or a very limited one. These shops tend to be the ones dying a slow and painful death, with year-on-year sales drops and an evaporation of customer loyalty. They’re the ones where price increases aren’t about staying in line with inflation and where heavy discount sales are the norm instead of the exception.

They’re the ones that are eventually going to go out of business.

The evolution of retail

Retail has changed. There’s no hiding from the fact anymore, and it’s no longer in a transitionary phase: it’s not ‘changing’, it has ‘changed’. Anyone who hasn’t evolved with the marketplace is a long way behind already, and it will take considerable time and effort to catch up.

The ways in which retail has evolved are numerous. One of the major shifts is people moving their purchase patterns from brick-and-mortar stores to online retailers. At first this caught us all by surprise, with many traditional and larger retailers struggling to adjust.

Even the likes of Myer and David Jones were very late to the online party in understanding that there were some products in some channels that the consumers felt utterly comfortable buying online. And not only that, those online retailers that didn’t have the burden of rent and rates to pay suddenly found they could offer the same products at a much cheaper prices, especially if they sourced them outside of Australia. New, online-only retail businesses sprung up overnight.

So the odds were -- and still are -- stacked against the traditional retailer, especially for certain products. Urban myths arose of savvy tech shoppers wandering into Harvey Normans and using the retail giants’ very own connected PCs to go online and buy from a competitor website. I don’t know how true that is.

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