Australia’s Physical Retail Ecosystem Is Changing Dramatically. Are Retail Brands Keeping Up?

Australia’s retail audience is changing dramatically as we speak. The country’s 2016 census showed that net migration accounts for over 50% of Australia’s population growth in the last decade and over 28% of Australians are not native Australians but individuals born overseas. Adding to this complexity according to Nielsen is the growing spend of ethnic-Australians versus their Australia-born counterparts ($4.4 billion in incremental revenue). Asian born Australians in fact are already accounting for 57% of the incremental growth. The consumption pattern – both products and services as well as content and platforms – of such a culturally diverse audience is as diverse as it gets. Australian marketers continue to grapple with understanding and engaging with this audience.

Simultaneously, the retail landscape in Australia is undergoing significant shifts. The worst of it came when 161 popular Australian bricks-and-mortar stores announced closure just a couple of weeks into 2020. Harris Scarfe, McWilliam’s Wines, EB Games, Bardot, Curious Planet – if the names are anything to go by, Australian retail leaders and marketers know that their brand, no matter how loved and admired today, could be next in the line of fire. Amidst all these changes and uncertainty, one thing is clear. The retail landscape today is dramatically different from what it was just five years ago. The dynamics of the store-consumer relationship has turned on its head, especially with e-commerce gaining larger mindshare with each passing day. The choice and access Australian consumers have today – in store or outside – is truly unprecedented. For them, shopping is no longer about walking into a store and buying what is in store. Rather, consumers now know exactly what they want and then find a store – online or offline – that can sell it to them. The level of personalisation that every consumer expects – and is now used to – is unprecedented in history and this is a global phenomenon.

The retail apocalypse might well and truly be in Australia if retailers don’t act fast.

 

How do they keep up in these times of flux and churn? Real world intelligence might hold these answers.

All of this means that Australian retailers need to ask themselves some tough questions about expansion, business and operations, and marketing strategies. These questions are crucial in an era where more stores are shutting down than opening up. To keep up, retailers need consumer insights that go much deeper and enable personalization despite the cultural diversity of Australian consumers. 

  • Who are these consumers?
  • What are their cultural nuances and how does it affect their shopping needs and lifestyles?
  • What content they engage with online, and on which platforms? 
  • Does their ethnicity have any bearing on these choices?
  • How often are consumers shopping in specific locations?
  • Which store formats work best for business in which locations?

Audience data platforms powered by AI and real-world intelligence can help retail brands find the answers to these and many other questions. In fact, Lifesight is already enabling this for many Australian brands by helping them understand, activate, and measure their audiences and marketing investments.

 

Measurement matters

In these uncertain times, it is extremely critical for retail brands to not only get their audience right and be hyper-targeted but also extremely on the ball when it comes to marketing attribution and measurement. After all, store closures are a result of bad ROI and business outcomes. How do we improve this ROI, at least from a marketing point of view? By measuring right and measuring what matters.

Footfall attribution – i.e. accounting for exact marketing touchpoints that led to store footfalls – is the most relevant and effective means to achieve this. We recently delivered this for a top-notch luxury fragrance brand’s Christmas campaign in Australia, to some great results. We provided their media agency with our footfall attribution solution to measure the impact of the brand’s omni-channel festive campaign across search (Google), social (Facebook & Instagram), high impact display (TTD and Bonsai) and CUTV/ CTV platforms (Amobee). Lifesight Attribution Pixels were implemented by the agency’s tools in the respective platforms to measure post impression and post click actions. Unique IDs were captured and matched to Lifesight’s universe of 14M+ mobile ad IDs and their location data signals were subsequently tracked. If exposed/ engaged devices were seen within a geo-fenced store location, the store visit was counted and attributed back to the channel or the creative that drove it.

The brand witnessed an outstanding visit lift of 673.90% (way beyond the industry benchmarks), understood the visitation and engagement patterns of their consumers, which ad creatives performed the best, the platforms that worked by measuring the right metrics, which were otherwise unknown to their agency partners.

 

In conclusion…

With changing market dynamics and rapidly diversifying consumer segments, Australian retail brands have only one option ahead of them – evolve or be forgotten. We can help you evolve, holler for a demo.