New research shows that 72 per cent of Aussies believe parcel delivery has improved in the past three years due to online shopping.
Audio Equipment giant Bose will close every retail store across the nation. 119 outlets will permanently close across Australia, North America, Europe and Japan within the next few months, due to what the company says is a “dramatic shift to online shopping”.
Coles Online has launched a new Click&Collect smart locker service at Melbourne Airport. This comes after a recent market insights report revealed online shopping is growing at a rapid rate (up 8.3 per cent between August 2018 and August 2019) with Coles Online seeing revenue growth of 30 per cent in FY19 as more Australians choose the service.
The number of Australians jumping online to shop continues to increase, with new research from Australia Post showing the total online spending in 2018 topped $27.5 billion, a 24 per cent increase for the year.
Australia Post has released its annual Inside Australian Online Shopping Report – an overview of Australia’s eCommerce market that provides key insights into who is shopping online, and what they’re buying.
It shows that Australians are embracing online shopping at an accelerated rate – with the online goods spending for 2018 reaching 10 per cent of total retail – two years faster than expected.
Australia Post general manager for parcels and express services Ben Franzi said the report also shows that 73 per cent of Australian households shopped online in 2018 – some 7.6 million Australian households.
“Australians are getting online more and more, and changing the face of shopping. With it, they are also expecting faster service and delivery – with next day deliveries growing by 31.7 per cent, with more than 62 per cent of these fashion-related purchases.”
Mr Franzi also said the way Australians are shopping online is also changing, with smartphones increasingly being the medium of choice.
“Use of the smartphone to make online purchases increased 28 per cent for the year – to now make up more than 26 per cent of all purchases. It now sits comfortably alongside the laptop (32.8 per cent) and desktop (27.3 per cent), both of which fell for the year.”
Fashion continues to be the leading category, accounting for more than a third (35 per cent) of all purchases, with more than 20 per cent growth year on year. Variety stores, health and beauty and homewares and appliances also attracted lots of online shoppers.
Marketplaces such as eBay and Etsy, together with newcomers Amazon, Catch Group, Kogan and Myer, continue to be popular.
“Australians appreciate the convenience that comes with being able to access goods from a variety of sellers in one place – it is quite literally a market, replicated online and providing an abundance of choice for consumers.”
The convenience of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) options such as AfterPay has also sparked joy for consumers, especially amongst millennials – those born after 1981 – who have become the fastest adopters. Unlike a credit card there is no service fee for customers who pay on time.
When it comes to overall volumes, the November/December period was the busiest time of the year – as Australians sought to snag a bargain ahead of Christmas.
“The five weeks from 11 November to 15 December accounted for almost 15 per cent of all online purchases. The peak for this period was the Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales, which accounted for the biggest online shopping week in Australia’s history, recording growth of over 28 per cent, year-on-year.”
Cross-border e-commerce is also booming with New Zealand (29 per cent), China (15 per cent) and India (11 per cent) the leading purchasers of Australian goods online. Fashion is the leading category, followed by health & beauty and baby products which are in demand, due to Australia’s great reputation for producing clean safe and premium-quality products.
The number one online buying location was once again Point Cook in Melbourne’s western suburbs, which topped the list for the fourth year in a row. The top twelve locations are again dominated by suburbs that have an influx of young families.
Top twelve online shopping locations by postcode:
- Point Cook VIC
- Toowoomba QLD
- Mackay QLD
- Liverpool NSW
- Cranbourne VIC
- Gosford NSW
- Hoppers Crossing VIC
- Campbelltown NSW
- Bundaberg QLD
- Wyong NSW
- Rouse Hill NSW
- Cairns QLD
SAP and Uber Freight have announced a partnership to modernise the freight industry through intelligent process automation and better access to a network of connected and reliable drivers.
The integration of Uber Freight into SAP Logistics Business Network will let customers access rates from Uber’s digitally activated carrier network and gain real-time quotes and guaranteed freight capacity, greatly simplifying load management and execution.
“Finding and booking freight can be the most expensive and often the most complex piece of the supply chain,” said president of SAP Digital Supply Chain Hala Zeine. “This combination will remove roadblocks and offer a simpler, more automated approach that streamlines operations, delivers tangible cost savings and ultimately creates a better customer experience. Adding Uber Freight to our SAP Logistics Business Network will help our customers optimise their logistics and put their customers at the heart of their digital supply chain.”
SAP Logistics Business Network, built on SAP Cloud Platform and the SAP HANA business data platform, expands transportation management to enable shippers, freight forwarders, carriers and other logistics partners to easily onboard, collaborate, exchange logistics information and share insights. With this Uber Freight integration, shippers and carriers can work together using tools that bypass traditional roadblocks, enabling shippers to select from a much broader carrier base and perform real-time pricing of shipments, while gaining improved utilisation and efficiency.
“For the world’s biggest shippers, an efficient, digitalised supply chain is critical to their success,” said senior director at Uber Freight Bill Driegert. “Uber Freight is partnering with SAP to bring shippers and carriers together at the level where freight decisions are made. This tech-forward approach to freight means shippers can spend less time sourcing quotes and capacity and more time getting goods to market.”
The value of a networked approach
With this partnership, SAP and Uber Freight will work to connect both sides of the freight marketplace, increasing visibility and transparency for all players. These efforts will support easier and faster decision-making based on real-time pricing for shippers and carriers, empowering organisations to maximise daily work time and make more informed decisions about their operations.
Australian shoppers will be just as likely to open their wallets for online shopping as they will in-store in a decade’s time, with new research by Australia Post revealing that by 2030, it is expected that one-in-two purchases will be made digitally.
The survey of almost one thousand small and mid-size Australian businesses across retail, manufacturing, logistics, financial services, education, health and utilities found that almost half (49 per cent) expect online retail to reach parity with bricks and mortar retail sales in 2030.
The findings come as online shoppers are invited to celebrate their favourite online retailer by voting in the Australia Post ORIAS People’s Choice Award. Voters have the chance to win the ultimate online shopping spree, an opportunity to spend $10,000 in 60 seconds on a range of products across travel, technology, fashion, homewares and leisure.
Australia Post general manager of segment development & marketing Rebecca Burrows said consumer habits have changed significantly over the past few years, with retailers evolving to find new ways that encourage people to buy.
“People want an in-store experience but in the comfort of their own living room – they want to see, touch and try. Trends such as Augmented Reality (AR) are bridging the gap between online and in-store shopping, and AI-driven personalisation and biometric payments are all shaping the way we shop. Leading retailers are also embracing mobile commerce and voice-activated shopping. It is those in tune with customers and willing to embrace the latest online technology trends who will have the winning strategy.”
One company doing this is fashion-tech company GlamCorner, a contender for this year’s Australia Post ORIAS People’s Choice Award.
Co-founder & CEO Dean Jones said GlamCorner’s vision is to revolutionise the way Australian women think about their wardrobes by providing a smarter and more sustainable alternative that is better for the community and the environment.
“One of the most important initiatives we’ve implemented over the past 12 months has been in direct response to customer feedback. We’ve introduced a monthly subscription box service, which gives our customers near-unlimited access to three pieces of designer clothing each month for formal occasions, workwear or everyday wear,” he said.
“The service is growing at an exponential rate, contributing significantly to the 30 tonnes of clothing we process each month. As a result, our customers are telling us their wardrobes are shrinking, while they still have a fresh new look every day.”
Voting for the Australia Post ORIAS People’s Choice Award for 2019 runs from 1-31 May via www.auspost.com.au/shoppingspree.
The Amazon effect
Industry experts are still divided on the impact services like Amazon Prime will have on the retail sector. Many believe the behemoth doesn’t do enough to differentiate itself in Australia, and that consumers are unlikely to get on board – however Woolworths CEO, Brad Banducci, calls it out as a new benchmark in terms of consumer expectations of delivery.
“We think Amazon Prime is the key vehicle, we see them being successful with that in the US and we will simply need to be better at on-demand,” he said, in line with the news of Woolworths-owned Endeavour Drinks Group’s 4.5 percent sales increase. “F18 was the year of pick-up for us.”
In the US, more than 50% of shopping journeys start with Amazon – and there’s no reason to believe Aussies won’t follow suit.
Amazon’s logistics, product range and deep knowledge of its customers pose a significant threat to Australian retailers. The e-tailer knows everything about its customers, to the point where it can predict what they will buy based on past transactions, and what they might like to buy in the future.
“Unless you’re using data effectively, you’re fighting with one arm tied behind your back.” Jonathan Reeve.
According to speaker, author, e-commerce fulfilment consultant and General Manager of Eagle Eye ANZ, Jonathan Reeve, local businesses are too focused on selling. “What I’ve seen over the last 17 years is that 80% of everyone’s attention has been on the digital challenge of selling,” he says. “The physical challenge of actually getting the products to the consumer has been given 20% of their attention.”
This trend needs to be reversed, says Reeve, as customers are buying an experience. They want cheaper and more convenient delivery, and that is what Amazon is providing.
With the entrance of Amazon, the continued presence of eBay and local operations like Catch.com.au, e-commerce in Australia will continue to grow rapidly whether we like it or not. To survive this surge, retailers must enhance their ability to collect, analyse and store data, and collaborate with other businesses and consumers to offer better service and better delivery.
“Customers are buying an experience. They want cheaper and more convenient delivery, and that is what Amazon is providing.” Jonathan Reeve, General Manager, Eagle Eye ANZ.
The changing face of brand loyalty
According to Councillor Susan Riley, who is responsible for the City of Melbourne’s Small Business, Retail and Hospitality portfolio, “customers come back [to boutique stores] because they like you and they know they’re going to get the service they want. Online doesn’t provide that.
“Online is a real issue for Melbourne. So many customers come in to the store – look, feel, shake – and then go buy it online,” she says.
But brand loyalty looks very different than it used to. The in-store/online balance is key for small businesses – they must become more experiential, so that people will come in-store for the activities that surround the buying experience, as much as the buying itself.
Retail industry executive at Telstra Gareth Jude said: “Based on our studies, Australian retailers achieve up to 20% attachment rates on sales for click’n’collect. Customers buy online then come in-store – and because of the great service and experience they’ve received, they decide they need to purchase something else while they’re there.
“Boutique retailers can complement their physical, in-store experience with an online presence and function.”
While Councillor Riley may be concerned about the notion of a “city of empty shops”, e-commerce provides a significant value-add for physical retailers. As Localz’ CRO James Westlake explains, when you use Woolies’ click’n’collect, you go in to pick up your shopping – but you browse around and shop in-store first before picking it up. Or even if you don’t, by the time you get home, you’ve forgotten something you needed to include in your order.
“Brand heritage now is a reduced value compared to convenience,” he said. “When a retailer gives customers back the time they were going to lose [by enabling them to shop online], they reward the business by doing more shopping. Gifting customers this time is what creates brand loyalty.”
Mr Westlake refers to UK clothing company, River Island, as another example.
“River Island has repositioned itself as a tech company that sells clothes, so it can fulfil customer journeys. It realises clothes are its commodity – but its ability to form a relationship with its customers and help them with their lifestyle is what maintains brand relevance and loyalty.”
For High Street stores, brand is something that keeps their customers coming in the door. But now shoppers can come in the door, try something on, then go online to buy it – with next day delivery included and at a lower price than in-store.
Today’s retailers need to consider brand value versus convenience. If you’re relevant to your customers at this moment, they will like you. If you’re not relevant, the customer won’t be interested.
So, what is the answer for small and medium-sized retailers who can’t count on brand loyalty to get customers through the door (or clicking online?) According to Localz’ Louise Robertson, they need to become more experiential.
“Where you used to find a coffee shop on the high street, today you’d find a coffee shop in the back of a hairdresser’s, or with art on the wall,” she said. “Businesses are merging and becoming more experiential, which is critical for them to reinvent themselves. It’s not good enough to do what they did 20 years ago.”
“We think Amazon Prime is the key vehicle, we see them being successful with that in the US, and we will simply need to be better at on-demand. Brad Banducci, CEO, Woolworths.
Data is knowledge is power
Consumers want complete control over their experience – and to provide this, businesses must know their customers intimately.
The key to getting e-commerce right comes down to data – and lots of it – about your customers and their habits, likes and preferences.
“As a retailer, you can always serve your customer better if you know more about them than the next guy,” said Telstra’s Gareth Jude.
Major e-tailers are continuing to turn data on its head, in stark contrast to the early periods of e-commerce when companies gathered plenty of information about their customers but didn’t know what to do with it. Businesses implemented complex CRM systems – only to have the data lay dormant.
“There’s a competitive imperative to get data right,” continued Mr Jude. “If you’re not doing anything with your data, Amazon, Alibaba and all the rest of them certainly are. And they’re going to eat your lunch.”
Jonathan Reeve concurred: “Unless you’re using data effectively, you’re fighting with one arm tied behind your back.”
Computing power and analysis are readily available as services – so there’s no excuse for Australian businesses not to be leveraging them. “Many technologies are converging, and there’s a lot more processing power available,” said Charles Edwards, Manager of supply chain management consultancy GRA. “This enables us to drive more insights from data with more data collection points, and we have the technology and computer power available to analyse it.
“It’s all about driving insights from consumer behaviour.”
“Boutique retailers can complement their physical, in-store experience with an online presence and function.” Gareth Jude, Retail Industry Executive, Telstra.
Over the horizon: the inevitable consumer mindset shift
The irrational, emotional, uneconomic Australian consumer is coming – and local businesses need to be ready. Although we might be reluctant now to share our data, the mindset shift is just over the horizon. It’s a journey that will organically happen.
Mr Edwards: “The first time I used an Uber, I thought – ‘I’d never get in to a stranger’s car!’” But his mindset changed as soon as he used the service and was amazed at its accuracy and cost-effectiveness.
Furthermore, there’s already a cognitive dissonance around how consumers share their data, and who they share it with. NBN Co’s Megan Park exclaimed: “Everyone’s opting out of MyHealthRecord – but they’re sharing their whole lives on Facebook!”
Pressure from consumers is also now being felt in the field services arena, with everyone wanting to know who, when and where their service will be delivered. The increased criticism and regulation of the European utilities is sector is driving a flow-on impact, and confidence in the Australian utilities sector is at an all-time low.
“Expectations of service delivery and parcel delivery are becoming converged,” said Localz’ regional sales director for A/NZ, Gareth Phillips. “Customers want more control and visibility of what they experience when they have their internet connected or their solar panels fitted. The Iconomy conversation is an important one for utilities and service companies to be involved in, as much as retailers.”
“Customers want more control and visibility of what they experience when they have their internet connected or their solar panels fitted. The Iconomy conversation is an important one for utilities and service companies to be involved in, as much as retailers.” Gareth Phillips Reg, Sales Director, Localz.
Online retail is only going to grow, and it remains an opportunity to be lost for local brands if they don’t take control of their own destinies and make the most of the data and the delivery services they have.
Australian businesses need to get their data analysis and deep learning right to give irrational, emotional and uneconomic consumers command of their delivery experience.
Localz’ Louise Robertson concluded: “It’s all about the human. Whatever technology we put around them, it’s all about emotions and data.”
Part 1. of this article appeared in the January-February issue of MHD Supply Chain Solutions magazine, which you can read here: https://bit.ly/2TZ3qnB. For more information visit www.localz.com.
FedEx Corp. has launched a new agent to meet the rapidly changing needs of consumers: the FedEx SameDay Bot, an autonomous delivery device designed to help retailers make same-day and last-mile deliveries to their customers.
With the bot, retailers will be able to accept orders from nearby customers and deliver them by bot directly to customers’ homes or businesses the same day. FedEx is collaborating with companies such as AutoZone, Lowe’s, Pizza Hut, Target, Walgreens and Walmart to help assess retailers’ autonomous delivery needs. On average, more than 60 per cent of merchants’ customers live within three miles of a store location, demonstrating the opportunity for on-demand, hyper-local delivery.
“The FedEx SameDay Bot is an innovation designed to change the face of local delivery and help retailers efficiently address their customers’ rising expectations,” said Brie Carere, executive vice president and chief marketing and communications officer for FedEx. “The bot represents a milestone in our ongoing mission to solve the complexities and expense of same-day, last-mile delivery for the growing e-commerce market in a manner that is safe and environmentally friendly.”
The FedEx bot is being developed in collaboration with DEKA Development & Research Corp. and its founder Dean Kamen, inventor of many life-changing technologies, including the iBot personal mobility device and the Segway.
“The bot has unique capabilities that make it unlike other autonomous vehicles,” Mr Kamen said. “We built upon the power base of the iBot, an advanced, FDA-approved, mobility device for the disabled population with more than 10 million hours of reliable, real-world operation. By leveraging this base in an additional application, we hope that the iBot will become even more accessible to those who need it for their own mobility.”
The FedEx bot is designed to travel on sidewalks and along roadsides, safely delivering smaller shipments to customers’ homes and businesses. Bot features include pedestrian-safe technology from the iBot, plus advanced technology such as LiDAR and multiple cameras, allowing the zero-emission, battery-powered bot to be aware of its surroundings. These features are coupled with machine-learning algorithms to detect and avoid obstacles, plot a safe path and allow the bot to follow road and safety rules. Proprietary technology makes the bot highly capable, allowing it to navigate unpaved surfaces, kerbs, and even steps for extraordinary door-to-door delivery.
The initial test will involve deliveries between selected FedEx Office locations. FedEx Office currently offers a SameDay City service that operates in 32 markets and 1,900 cities using branded FedEx vehicles and uniformed FedEx employees. The FedEx bot will complement the FedEx SameDay City service.
The FedEx bot will support retailers in several segments, and the first group of retail customers to view the prototype have recognised the value the technology can bring to their industries.
The latest report from Ti shows a market still expanding rapidly, but one in which competition, challenges and new entrants are raising questions over future development opportunities
The global e-commerce logistics market grew by 18.2% in 2018. Still a relatively nascent sector, e-commerce logistics growth is well above that seen in other logistics markets. Emerging markets are showing the fastest expansion, but even in developed economies, growth rates in nominal terms are usually in double-digits. Ti expects the global market to grow at an expected nominal 2018-2023 compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.8%.
Ti’s latest figures suggest the cross-border component is a significant driver of this uplift. Cross-border e-commerce is bringing supply chain stakeholders into direct contact and challenging the status quo. But while gaining access to millions, if not billions, of new customers is an attractive proposition for e-commerce companies, targeting purchasers in foreign markets is not the easiest of strategies.
The report also examines the trend for offering more omni-channel retail solutions, likely to be a key requirement moving forward. This is largely driven by the purchasing behaviour of consumers, who demand a seamless experience enabled by the use of different channels to order, pay, collect and return products. They demand more delivery and returns options and leverage retailers against each other to get the best value for their money.
In addition, Global e-commerce Logistics 2019 examines e-fulfilment and last mile cost structures, and provides analysis of structural variations by geography and retail sector.
The report authors spoke extensively with senior management and leaders at the largest e-fulfilment and last mile providers globally, as well as with niche e-commerce logistics providers. A common theme was the threat posed by global retail platforms managing their own logistics requirements whilst also offering services to third parties.
The entry of players such as Amazon, Alibaba and JD.com is forcing many to consider what the future of e-commerce logistics might look like. The report’s lead author, Viki Keckarovska, senior research analyst at Ti, said: “While some would say that Europe’s legacy infrastructure and market structures are unfit for the new e-retail world, it could equally be argued that Europe boasts probably the most efficient logistics and transport sector in the world. Ti’s discussions with logistics executives and leaders in the market suggest Europe’s legacy infrastructure is seen as a hindrance to the development of efficient e-retail distribution networks, with facilities in the ‘wrong’ place and markets which were more focused on B2B rather than B2C deliveries.”
Performance highlights for the six months to 31 December 2018:
- Group revenue was flat against last year at $3.6 billion, masking significant changes.
- Group parcels contributed $1.9 billion, up 9 per cent, adding $25 million in profit.
- Group letters at $1.1 billion, down 10 per cent, reducing profit by $102 million.
- Group expenses contained at 2 per cent growth, including $121 million in productivity gains.
- Reported profit before tax at $154 million, down 36 per cent, included positive one-offs. Profit after tax $118 million, down 45 per cent.
- Australia Post is expected to make a modest full-year profit in FY19 given the continued impact of letter decline, economic headwinds and seasonality.
Australia Post has announced a profit before tax for the first half of $154 million, down 36 per cent year-on-year. This included $30 million of one offs. Underlying profit before tax was $124 million, down 38 per cent. Group revenue was flat at $3.6 billion.
The largest business segment, domestic parcels, performed strongly with revenue growing by 10 per cent, up $147 million, well ahead of the general retail market, which grew 2.9 per cent in the period. Group parcels profit grew by $25 million to $127 million. In December, Australia Post delivered a record 40 million parcels, up 12 per cent.
All Community Service Obligations were met or exceeded and customer service standards remained high for letters and parcels, including through extreme weather conditions across the country during the Christmas peak.
Group chief executive officer and managing director Christine Holgate said she was pleased with the continued strong performance of the parcels business, however, significant challenges remain for Australia Post with letters revenue now declining at the fastest rate in its history.
“Although we delivered 10 per cent growth in domestic parcels, well in excess of the growth rates of the economy and in a period of very strong competition, this could not make up for the profit decline in the letters business,” Ms Holgate said.
“Letter revenues are down 10 per cent or $125 million, which reduced profit by $102 million in the half. This is after saving an estimated $50 million in delivery costs as posties carried 40 per cent of our parcels.
“Since the last increase in the Basic Postage Rate in January 2016, more than three years ago, our costs to deliver letters are up 10 per cent. The number of new delivery addresses has increased by 500,000, yet letter volumes have declined by 800 million.
“Australia Post will deliver more than two billion letters to almost 12 million homes and businesses this year. Although it is shrinking, letters is still viewed as a critical service by the overwhelming majority of Australians.”
Australia Post is an entirely self-funding business. Last financial year, Australia Post incurred an estimated cost of $404 million in delivering the letters service in accordance with its legislated community service obligations.
Group expenses were held at two per cent growth in the first half, underpinned by total productivity savings of $121 million. Independent research shows that Australia Post has improved its Total Factor Productivity at twice the rate of the overall economy and reserved letters at three times the rate.
Ms Holgate said the business was also making good progress on delivering on its strategic initiatives including:
- Securing the historic Bank@Post agreement with CBA, Westpac and NAB, protecting critical banking services in Community Post Offices, particularly in regional and rural Australia. A further seven financial institutions have already committed to new Bank@Post terms: Suncorp, Resimac, Auswide Bank, AMP Bank, Maitland Mutual, Transport Mutual and ME Bank.
- The first new major agreement with its important licensee partners in 26 years, providing technology and aligning payments to parcels and other growing services.
- $64 million of investment in the operational network, including new processing equipment in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane enabling automated sorting of an additional 100 million parcels.
- The fastest growing parcel product, Express, expanded in a trial to a further 500 postcodes.
- Acquisition of remaining 60 per cent stake in Aramex Global Solutions, which provides end-to-end cross-border logistics and eCommerce solutions, supporting the international growth strategy.
“We have invested in both capability and capacity, without which our teams could not have delivered the Christmas Peak. Our people were exceptional as they delivered through the most challenging weather conditions, including floods, bush fires and hail storms,” Ms Holgate said.
“Our Net Promoter Score with our customers is at a record high and complaints on Australia Post entities to the Postal Industry Ombudsman were down 31 per cent, although we recognise we still have much more work to do.
“The progress we have made against our strategic initiatives, coupled with the unwavering commitment of our extended workforce to serve the community, means we remain confident that Australia Post will play an important role for many years to come.
“Australia Post is on track to deliver a modest profit for the full year, in the face of ongoing market pressures in the traditionally quieter second half. Australia Post will release its full results in August.”