How Gold Coast retailers can combat the Amazon invasion

By Greg Bell

As online retail giants like Amazon and Asos make their way Down Under, bricks-and-mortar establishments have reason to fear.

Positioned in Dandenong South in Victoria, Australia's first Amazon warehouse – a 24,000 square metre behemoth – is looming over many traditional retailers like a dark storm cloud. Worsening the outlook is the fact that Amazon has promised to launch their Prime service by the middle of the year. Amazon Prime, which offers free, next day shipping for orders over $49, represents a serious threat to the Australian retail sector.

So, what can stores do to remain relevant and stay afloat? In many ways, the answer lies in providing a top notch experience that consumers simply can't have online. Here are three ways your Gold Coast business can do just that.

1. Speed things up

Same day shipping is something the majority of Australian shoppers have only dreamed of. Living so far away from distribution centres, we've grown accustomed to slow, expensive shipping, which is one reason we prefer to shop in store.

Now, however, with major retailers establishing warehouses, it's essential for shops to offer a speedy, efficient shopping experience.

To compete, retailers must provide fast, convenient in-store transactions. Customers will no longer tolerate slow service, nor will they frequent your store if you routinely don't have the products they're after readily available. Stores should also invest in click-and-collect models in 2018.

2. Offer unique, human experiences

More than half (53 per cent) of consumers still prefer to shop in store for the face-to-face interaction, according to Salesforce.

As a Gold Coast business, keep customers coming back by emphasising this human interaction and providing top-notch customers service. Train your sales team not only to be helpful and personable, but to form relationships with shoppers and act as brand ambassadors.

You can also go above and beyond to offer unique experiences in your store, such as free coffee and tea or a small play area for children. Set up a station where shoppers can customise products or – even better – test them out using virtual reality. Stay ahead of Amazon by offering the services they simply can't!

3. Emphasise sustainability and 'brandsparency'

Australian shoppers value sustainability. According to a Nielsen survey, Australian shoppers are willing to pay more for a product made:

  • By a brand they trust (72 per cent),
  • From fresh, natural and/or organic ingredients (69 per cent),
  • By a company known for being environmentally friendly (58 per cent),
  • By a company known for its commitment to social value (56 per cent).

Local retailers should use this to their advantage by offering transparency about their business practices. Emphasise your business' commitment to ethical, sustainable trading and you'll remain competitive against retail giants like Amazon – regardless of their lower prices.

The best way to thrive in retail is to have a great commercial space in an ideal area. At Ray White Gold Coast Commercial, we have heaps of ideal properties for Australian local businesses. To find out more, reach out to our expert team today.

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