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What to expect in 2018’s retail sphere

By Greg Bell

Looking back, many retailers on the Gold Coast and wider Australia would agree that 2017 was a challenging year. But just how well did retailers fare, and what should they expect to see creating competition in the coming months?

Last year's retail woes

Monthly retail turnover hit a four-year low in August last year, and even the Christmas period performed below expectations – falling 0.5 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS ). Retailers both small and large have struggled to keep up with customer demands.

The failure of Topshop and Topman is a prime example. With the rise of other global fashion retailers Zara and H&M, the brand wasn't able to compete and despite six years of Australian operations, closed its doors permanently.

But do retailers have another year of heartache ahead of them? Not necessarily.

Integration of micro financial technologies

By now, most of us have heard of Afterpay. This retail innovator has been responding to consumer demands for greater flexibility when it comes to making a purchase – customers can pay for items over time. Today, Afterpay reports it processes approximately 20 per cent of online fashion retail and five per cent of total online retail in Australia – and we're expecting that to grow more this year.

Of course, buy now, pay later schemes aren't unfamiliar – layby has existed for a long time now. However, what Afterpay offers is the option to receive your item as soon as you buy it – not after all payments have been made. This means customers are able to commit to a larger purchase without requiring a traditional loan which might incur upfront fees or interest. As a result, retailers can see an increase in incremental sales, boost conversions and potentially reduce returns.

Popping up everywhere

Pop-up stores aren't new to Australia but they're likely to become bigger than ever this year.

To combat the disruption caused by e-Commerce avenues, bricks-and-mortar retailers are going to have to provide exciting and engaging experiences to captivate local audiences and drive sales. Pop-ups are a great, and popular, way to generate attention. This model of retail requires low up-front spend due to a shorter-term lease and smaller footprint. Low costs don't mean low returns though, as pop-ups have the potential to surprise and entice potential customers to be introduced to your products.

Realising the rise of pop-ups, shopping centre giant Westfield has even renamed their casual leasing division to "pop-up department".

When looking for a site to set up your next retailing venture, however long-term, turn to Ray White Commercial Gold Coast for the best service and a huge range of competitive real estate.

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