As a customer-centric business, we value our shoppers, retail partners and communities, and believe that together we can adapt to and thrive in the dynamic and evolving retail environment.
Trends across the globe demonstrate that the retail landscape has changed. Fuelled by consumers’ altered behaviours, values and technology uptake, the common emerging trends are heightened personalisation and widespread adoption of omnichannel approaches. We asked resident retail customer expert, Stockland General Manager of Commercial Property Marketing, Brooke Lee, for her thoughts about the future of retail and what strategies and predictions lay in store for FY23.
The rise and rise of retail omnichannel
“It’s no longer about singular bricks-and-mortar versus online, but rather a blended online and in-store experience,” says Brooke. “The two must co-exist which is underpinned by the desire for customers to be more in control of their experience – one that is relevant to them and their evolving needs.
In its report for eBay, The Omnichannel Opportunity – Unlocking the Power of the Connected Consumer1, Deloitte notes that “The ultimate objective of omnichannel retailing is to provide a seamless experience, where the consumer engages primarily with the brand, instead of the channel.”
It continues that “In this fast-moving environment, the opportunity needs to be seized promptly. Retailers who have been quick to embrace these trends are already seeing the benefits. A strategy that combines store and non-store channels and enables each channel to serve the customer at every state in their purchase journey can raise brand awareness and generate incremental sales.
New shopping behaviours here to stay
COVID-19 has created many new consumer purchasing behaviours, and in several instances accelerated and cemented the adoption of existing behaviours years ahead of previous predictions. CBRE’s report, Australia's E-Commerce Trend and Trajectory, concluded that while Australian ecommerce has been steadily increasing over the last five years, it accelerated in 2020 with a lasting effect. While there are fewer trips being made, basket size has grown, and expanded online sales appear to be here to stay.2
While frequency of visitation has changed, we have seen an increased consumer appetite for meaningful, authentic experiences. Shoppers are rethinking their priorities and seeking more community connections and experience-led interactions. At Stockland, our goal is to meet these needs with a focus on creating authentic, meaningful, and relevant experience-led offerings extending length of stay.
Despite online sales surging during COVID-19, consumers are opting to head back into our Retail Town Centres to reconnect with their community. Post COVID-19, 73 percent of Australians say they prefer to shop in-store and 54 percent of consumers say physical stores should be exciting to visit.3
The hybrid model, a more connected customer experience
At Stockland, we understand that retail shoppers are looking for hyperlocal shopping experiences beyond traditional and pure-play online shopping platforms, which make it easier, faster, and more convenient to shop locally.
Brooke says Stockland expect digital penetration and omnichannel retail to continue to grow, driving new initiatives to connect our shoppers digitally with new customer-led digital ecosystems and targeted marketing campaigns harnessing omnichannel environments.
“From a consumer experience perspective, we will likely see further investment in front-end and back-end technologies that support the omnichannel experience,” says Brooke. “This is in addition to continued focus on acquisition and engagement, fulfilment, inventory and order management, and merchandising to support the omnichannel customer experience.”
Ecommerce has become more than a transaction; it has become an interaction, an experience. As consumers, we have grown to expect the personalisation and convenience that we have seen become standard practice during the pandemic.
Stockland Marketplace leverages the power of the endless aisle, by partnering with world-leading4 technology platform creating an opportunity for brands and businesses to grow local sale. Stockland Marketplace is a cost-effective way for our retailers to flourish online and potentially grow incremental sales.
“Shoppers want quality, diversity, ease-of-shopping and the ability to be in control of their experience,” says Stockland’s Brooke Lee. “But they value their strong connections to the community and sense of belonging, which is now more important than ever. Through a blended online and in-store omnichannel approach, we can deliver just that.”
Experiential retail and personalisation is expected
To stay ahead of consumer wants, Stockland focuses on key areas of opportunity, aligned to customer value-drivers. Our deep dive into customer insights from our advanced analytics is helping us generate new ideas and drive targeted experiential marketing campaigns.
“We do know that our customers have an increasing appetite for meaningful, authentic experiences and are shopping more mindfully,” says Brooke. “They are rethinking their priorities and seeking more community connection and experience-led interactions. We are committed to delivering strategic marketing initiatives aligned to this.”
“We are enhancing the customer experience in-centre through the introduction of events and exhibitions aligned to emerging retail trends, one being the Future Now Exhibition, which taps into the growing interest in sustainability. Future Now aims to excite people about the ways we can create a brighter future using the technologies and approaches we possess.”
Highlighting positive solutions to create a better future, the touring exhibition is driving community engagement reinforcing our value proposition of creating connected communities. We continue to innovate and improve the end-to-end customer experience to provide our business partners with new opportunities to thrive.
1. The Omnichannel Opportunity – Unlocking the Power of the Connected Consumer 2014 Stockland Research, 2021
2. Australia’s E-Commerce Trend and Trajectory Report, June 2021
3. Taluna, Australian Shopping behaviours, 2021 Australian Bureau of Statistics; Stockland Research 2021
4. Business Wire, 7 October 2021 https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211007005707/en/Marketplacer-Named-a-Leader-in-Marketplace-Development-Platforms-by-Independent-Research-Firm