Export Council of Australia appoints new CEO

The Export Council of Australia (ECA), which promotes Australian industry in international markets, has announced the appointment of Alina Bain as the organisation’s new CEO.
Bain will commence in the role on 15 March and will be based in Sydney.
Dianne Tipping, Chair, ECA, congratulated Bain on her appointment.
“Alina Bain is a fantastic appointment for the Export Council of Australia, and on behalf of our members I congratulate her for taking on this important role,” said Tipping.
“Alina brings extensive public policy experience to the ECA following over 10 years in senior executive roles for the broadcasting and advertising and marketing industries, most recently a two-year appointment as CEO of the Australian Services Roundtable. Alina’s extensive experience in seeking and delivering positive policy outcomes in highly complex and challenging environment along with her unique skills in skills development and delivering member benefits will help grow the ECA at this critical time for Australia’s exporters.”
Bain added: “I am honoured to be appointed as the CEO of Export Council of Australia, which represents such an important part of the Australian international trade sector.
“I am looking forward to engaging with policy makers and the community about the wonderful work our members do to not only build international success for their own businesses but also build the Australian economy through significant investment and jobs creation.”
Tipping also congratulated outgoing CEO Lisa McAuley for her leadership of the ECA.
“I’d also like to thank Lisa McAuley who has been in the role since 2015,” said Tipping. “Lisa has done a tremendous job working with the board, the management team and our members to ensure that the ECA is the leading advocate for developing the international trade performance of Australian business.
“Lisa has worked tirelessly to develop our offerings through encouraging Australian business to engage in international trade, effective representation to government on market access and facilitation issues, the delivery of practical professional development programs and forums that foster the exchange of ideas and knowledge and reward excellence.
“This has been incredibly important work that means our new CEO will take over the reins of a strong organisation that is even better placed to represent the interests of the community and our members in this wonderful sector.”

Amazon Australia launch may have gone “horribly wrong”

Australian retailers partnering with Amazon have been left confused after the e-commerce company failed to launch its full Australian site on Black Friday, 24 November, ChannelNews reports.
The retailers have reportedly not received any communication from Amazon, since getting an email earlier in the week advising them to be prepared for a soft launch at 2pm yesterday, Thursday, 23 November.
ChannelNews shared that an executive from Synnex, a major distribution partner for Amazon, said it had not received a single order.
“It appears that something has gone horribly wrong and they have decided not to launch,” the executive said.
One retailer told ChannelNews that it felt that it was being kept in the dark. “We have no order, we don’t even have access to an Amazon tracking portal,” the source said. “Our stock is sitting in warehouses ready to go.”
Technology distributor Ingram Micro said it had had no orders so far, and suggested that the original communication announcing a soft launch may have been a tactic by Amazon to prompt local competitors to announce their own Black Friday discounts.

Australian online retailer The Iconic moves to major new DC

Australian online fashion retailer The Iconic has moved to a new, larger distribution centre (DC) in Yennora, New South Wales, due to growing customer demand and in preparation for forecasted growth over the coming years.
The company says the 19,000m2 site will be Australia’s largest ‘fashion wardrobe’, home to 700 brands, more than 45,000 different products and innovation in delivery, returns and technology.
“In just over five short years, The Iconic, Australia’s largest online fashion and sportswear destination, has redefined the Australian retail landscape and raised the bar in the way consumers shop for fashion,” the company said in a statement.
“The Iconic is now five years old and growing faster than ever,” said Patrick Schmidt, CEO, The Iconic. “We’ve expanded our team significantly, welcomed an influx of new customers shopping our site and app and have on-boarded so many beloved global and local brands that we’ve physically outgrown the warehouse space that saw us through our early years.
“As we prepare for the exciting years ahead we are pleased to have successfully relocated to a much larger and more sophisticated fulfilment centre to support the growth of our business through 2020 and beyond.
“This considerably larger space ensures we have the capacity to keep up with demand for the latest styles our customers want, and also supports our commitment to offering industry-defining delivery options to make online shopping joyful, convenient and seamless.”
The Iconic’s new DC is the size of three football fields, and moving operations to the new facility took 500 of the company’s staff members 25 hours, 50 truck runs – and 2,000 Subway sandwiches.

CouriersPlease partners with e-commerce platform eCorner

CouriersPlease has announced a strategic partnership with eCorner, an Australian e-commerce platform that provides services to online retailers and organisations such as Weight Watchers Australia, Gadgets 4 Geeks, Translink and the Australian Institute of Sport. Through the partnership, eCorner is now fully integrated with CouriersPlease’s services.
Over 10 million consumers visited eCorner-partnered online retail sites last year, placing more than 400,000 orders. These customers will now have access to CouriersPlease’s delivery network and will automatically be provided with the option to get their parcels delivered to conveniently located POPPoints of their choice – comprised of retail outlets (POPShops) and parcel lockers (POPStations).
“In the dynamic e-commerce industry, customer expectations are changing and consumers expect reliable and fast shipping,” said Mark McGinley, CEO CouriersPlease. “Customers also want a choice in how and where their parcel is delivered. Our flexible options will give customers of eCorner retailers the option to redirect their parcel at any time during the delivery, at no additional cost. By offering customers access to a range of on-demand, flexible services, online retailers can stay relevant in the industry and compete with giants such as Amazon.”
John Debrincat, CEO, eCorner, added, “At eCorner, we are always looking at ways of improving our offering. We do that by extending the functionality of ePages to support third-party systems. The direct integration of ePages with CP will allow their customers to request convenient shipping options directly from their store. This added feature will allow our clients to enhance their customer experience, so online shoppers won’t miss a delivery.”

Sendle launches free integration with Shopify

Courier service Sendle has launched a free integration with e-commerce platform Shopify to simplify and accelerate delivery for Australian online retailers.
Shopify customers can now opt to start shipping through Sendle’s nationwide door-to-door delivery service.
As part of the integration, all Shopify sales that have been paid for will be synced and imported directly into the customer’s Sendle dashboard, helping store owners streamline delivery through label printing, order booking and management and easy parcel tracking, with no minimum order quantities
“Shopify is a market leader in making it easy for business owners to set up and sell online,” said James Chin Moody, CEO and Co-founder, Sendle. “This new integration will extend that simplicity even further to help users eliminate pain points and make shipping and delivery seamless. Through our integration with Shopify, we are unlocking the power of big business logistics — convenience and affordability, for small and medium online sellers around the country.
“Our vision is to level the playing field and simplify shipping and delivery for thousands of small business owners around Australia. The ongoing development of our open API allows us to easily integrate with key partners, as we work to create an eCommerce ecosystem for more users.”

AusPost launches commerce hub

Australia Post has entered into a joint venture with a global fintech company AlphaPaymentsCloud, PowerRetail reports. The two will create an integrated commerce platform, AlphaCommerceHub, which will ease online trading for Australian retailers, a one-stop shop for e-commerce services including payment processing, identity, fraud detection and shipping.
“Businesses will no longer need to invest in multiple platforms, integrations and expensive ongoing investment to stay current,” said Andrew Walduck, Executive General Manager of Trusted e-Commerce Services and Group Chief Digital Officer, Australia Post.
“AlphaCommerceHub offers contemporary point of sale and online checkout options.
“It’s an absolute game changer in Australia’s fintech evolution so we’re incredibly excited about the potential this joint venture brings to both our banking partners and our customers.”
PowerRetail shared that Oliver Rajic, CEO, of AlphaPaymentsCloud noted that the platform will provide customisable commerce services and streamlined payments.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Australia Post to realize our shared vision to become Australia’s vendor solution switch,” said Rajic.
“Everyone’s talking about fintech, but Australia Post is truly embracing this transformation. It’s amazing to consider the potential for our joint solution to create the infrastructure underpinning Australia’s fintech future.”
 

Australian logistics survey highlights e-commerce service gaps

The widening gap between customer demand for improved online shipping experiences and retailer capabilities is leaving businesses vulnerable, according to new research from Australian shipping and fulfilment software platform Temando, as the arrival of e-commerce giant Amazon later this year promises to revolutionise the online market on a never-before-seen scale.
Temando’s annual State of Shipping in Commerce survey found that while 65 per cent of Australian consumers stated that they abandoned their cart due to the high cost of shipping, 61 per cent of Australian retailers struggle to manage the increasing cost of carrier rates. What’s more, 57 per cent of shoppers will buy from competing stores when retailers fail to provide relevant shipping options to suit their needs.
Carl Hartmann, Co-founder and CEO, Temando, said as the competition is heating up between local retailers and the coming of Amazon, there’s a golden opportunity to drive innovation faster on local shores.
“Smart retailers have their foot on the gas and are using the arrival as a huge opportunity to streamline their processes, optimise logistics and embrace digital transformation to put them in a prime position to not only survive, but thrive,” said Carl.
“Shipping is sometimes overlooked in favour of marketing and packaging, but as we enter a post-Uber age, it isn’t just a ‘back end’ issue anymore, but a front-and-centre priority to enrich customer experience and fuel growth.”
The survey identified three major areas for improvement in the local delivery offering – shipping experience, smart technology and order platforms.
In-demand shipping options that cater to convenience such as ‘specified time slot’, ‘same-day’, ‘weekend or afterhours’ and ‘hyperlocal’ was found to be offered by less than a quarter of retailers currently, and a negative shipping experience would put off 59 per cent of customers from shopping with that retailer again. Eighty per cent of the 1,279 shoppers surveyed noted that they would purchase again if they enjoyed the shipping experience, and free shopping would entice 68 per cent of shoppers to do more online shopping.
“We’ve found Australian shoppers react more strongly to shipping experiences compared to American shoppers,” said Hartmann. “New alternatives to standard and express delivery has been largely unmet this year compared to 2016 which opens up enormous opportunity for retailers to re-imagine their retail operations and create meaningful, cost-effective customer experiences.”
Over half of the 258 retailers surveyed acknowledged that technology platform compatibility is an issue, with 58 per cent finding integrating carrier services into their systems a key challenge. While shipping and fulfilment automation was recognised as a challenge by almost half of those retailers surveyed, only 29 per cent are planning to invest on improving these issues in the next 12 months.
When it comes to international shipping, 72 per cent of retailers grapple with the accuracy of costs, with only 21 per cent having the ability to charge all applicable duties and taxes for international customers in the cart.
“Using smart technology to streamline processes will help to remove some of the key fulfilment challenges retailers are facing now and in the future. How businesses evolve with this changing landscape will influence how far their business grows, and how fast they scale,” said Hartmann.
One in four shoppers are using their mobile devices as their primary shopping tool, with Millennials the highest adopters, at 48 per cent, while Gen Z sits at 29 per cent. Access to a wide choice physical and online stores has given rise to two behaviours: webrooming (looking online, buying in physical store) and showrooming (looking in a physical store, buying online) which is engaged by 65 per cent and 51 per cent of shoppers, respectively.
“The race for customers is not going to subside and with the imminent arrival of Amazon, Australian businesses should be embracing the challenge, said Hartmann. “With future growth opportunities existing in the ability to cross borders, its vital that delivery networks and retail operations work seamlessly together to satisfy the customer while managing the bottom line.”

Sweden trials ‘in-door’ delivery service

PostNord has teamed up with door-opening solution manufacturer Assa Abloy to launch a new service that will allow online shoppers to have their parcels delivered inside their front door, Post and Parcel reports.
The delivery method is made possible with digital locks and single-use codes. Once the driver has used the code to open front door and deliver the parcel, the code becomes invalid and the customer receives a delivery notification.
PostNord and Assa Abloy are now starting a pilot project along with e-retailers Jollyroom, Apotea and Komplett that will involve 100 households in Lerum, a town east of Gothenburg, trialling the delivery option.
Johan Hellman, Head of eCommerce, PostNord commented, “It should be simple and convenient to shop online. This is why we want to give consumers greater choice and the opportunity to receive their e-commerce items in several different ways.
“We’re seeing a clear trend and a demand for greater choice on delivery, and we’ll now be able to deliver items inside the front door in a secure way. The recipient doesn’t need to be at home or be available at a particular time, which makes it both simple and convenient.
“Our ambition is for PostNord to deliver items in the way that best suits the recipient.”

Amazon planning ‘thousands of new jobs’ in Australia move

Amazon has broken its silence over an impending move to Australian shores, which is expected to shake up competition among domestic retailers.

The e-commerce giant has confirmed it is searching for a “large distribution and fulfilment centre” in Australia with the introduction of services including Amazon MarketPlace, Amazon Prime Now, Amazon Pantry and Amazon Fresh on the cards.

“Amazon Web Services launched an Australian region in 2012, we launched a Kindle Store on Amazon.com.au in 2013, and we now have almost 1,000 employees in the country,” Amazon said.

A recently added banner of Amazon's .com.au domain.
A recently added banner of Amazon’s .com.au domain.

“The next step is to bring a retail offering to Australia, and we are making those plans now.

“We are excited to bring thousands of new jobs to Australia, millions of dollars in additional investment, and to empower small Australian businesses through Amazon Marketplace.”

According to a report in the AFR, more than 1,000 Australian companies already sell their wares on Marketplace, which “gives them access to customers in Australia and overseas.”

“We are optimistic that by focusing on the things we believe customers value most – low prices, vast selection, and fast delivery – over time we’ll earn the business of Australian customers,” Amazon’s statement added.

A former worker for Amazon previously confirmed that the company’s rumoured Australia ambitions were well founded, though this is the first time the e-commerce giant has acknowledged the plans.

NZ Post announces new CEO, strengthens China link

New Zealand Post has announced that David Walsh will take up the role of CEO from 1 May 2017.
The announcement follows the notice of retirement last year of Sir Brian Roche.
“Following an extensive search, which considered candidates from New Zealand and overseas, I have much pleasure in announcing David Walsh as our new CEO,” said Jane Taylor, Board Chair, NZ Post.
Walsh has been at NZ Post for two years as Chief Financial Officer and has provided executive leadership to the IT function.
Prior to joining NZ Post, he was CFO at KiwiRail in 2004, before moving into the role of General Manager, Corporate & Finance.
Earlier in his career, Walsh spent time in the NZ Racing Board, Fonterra, TransAlta NZ and Shell NZ.
Taylor said that since joining NZ Post, David has been instrumental in building the performance and capability of the Finance team, as well as taking an important leadership role across the Group Technology function.
“Most recently he has played a pivotal leadership role in working through the complexities associated with the Kiwibank partial sale and operational separation from NZ Post.
“The Board feels that the momentum behind the transformation already underway at NZ Post will benefit from the continuity provided by having an internal appointment. David knows the company well, knows where we are heading and knows what we need to do to become a more customer-centric, service oriented business, enabled by our digital future.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Brian’s contribution to the NZ Post Group over his seven years as CEO and to thank him on behalf of the Board for his exceptional leadership in the transformation of one of New Zealand’s largest companies.”
NZ Post also announced that it had signed an agreement to facilitate commerce for New Zealand’s companies looking to do business in China.
The agreement with the Henan Bonded Logistics Centre (HNBLC) and Trademonster will simplify access for New Zealand companies to one of world’s largest consumer markets.
The signing took place at NZ Post’s Auckland Operations Centre and was attended by senior representatives of the People’s Government of Henan Province, including Chen Run’er, the Governor of the province.
HNBLC processes more than 90 million domestic parcels in China, and more than half of all cross border ecommerce trade. Trademonster has a strategic alliance with NZ Post and has strong relationships with the major ecommerce platforms in China, which is key for New Zealand SME businesses looking to enter China.
NZ Post CEO Brian Roche said the agreement is testament to the trust and loyalty that has been developed between the New Zealand Government and the Henan Government.
“Chief Executive of Henan Imported Materials Public Bonded Center Group Co. Ltd Madam Xu Ping brought her senior team to New Zealand to meet with our heads of business and to consolidate the business trading lanes that are now actively open between our two countries.
“This provides New Zealand traders with simplified access to one of the largest consumer markets in the world.”
Dene Green, General Manager, NZ Post International, said the Trademonster relationship, which is headed by Managing Director Gavin Yang, is one of the most exciting and supportive cross-border agreements NZ Post has ever had.
“NZ post carried more than seven million items between New Zealand and China last year. Supported by strong relationships such as these, this is forecast to grow by up to 15 per cent over the next 12 to 18 months as more Kiwis shop online and more Kiwi companies grow their ecommerce capability and sell into overseas markets.”
Image: Abaconda Management Group from New Zealand – New Zealand Post Building, CC BY-SA 2.0  source

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