Outdoor group accelerates omnichannel expansion

Fenix Outdoor Group, a subsidiary of Switzerland-based outdoor goods specialist Fenix Outdoor International AG, has boosted its international, omnichannel growth strategy. Fenix Outdoor Group will standardise its order fulfilment on the Manhattan SCALE system with initial deployments in its distributions centres in the US and Germany, followed by the Netherlands, Norway, China and Australia.
Fenix Outdoor Group develops and markets high-quality, low-weight equipment and clothing for outdoor activities under its Fjällräven, Tierra, Primus, Hanwag and Brunton brands, and sells through a combination of its own stores, retail partner stores and a growing online operation. The company’s major markets include North America, Germany and the Nordics as well as Australia.
Established in the 1950s, Fenix Outdoor has grown organically and through a series of acquisitions. Its 2015 purchase of Globetrotter, a German retail group, transformed the company from a predominantly wholesale-oriented business to a multi-channel commerce operator. The multiple, disparate systems it had inherited over the years were, however, hindering its further development. Fenix Outdoor therefore opted for a new warehouse and distribution management system to optimise its expanded business operation and to support its broader international and omnichannel growth ambitions.
Global supply chain director at Fenix Outdoor Group Marcel Gerrits commented: “With today’s consumers requiring exceptional shopping service, we are building our capabilities to provide a ‘best in class’ omnichannel one – offering our customers the goods they want, whenever and wherever they want them. We selected Manhattan as our chosen partner and its SCALE system that allows us to serve multiple channels from a single inventory pool. It also has on-the-ground support teams in all the geographies where we will deploy.”

Leveraging Alibaba for SME

Opinion – Lisa McAuley
Attending the inaugural Alibaba E-Commerce Expo in Melbourne helped shed light on the opportunities e-commerce platforms like Alibaba present for small and medium-sized Australian businesses.
Already valued at over USD 16 trillion, online sales are one of the world’s fastest-growing retail channels.
Selling online gives businesses access to a whole world of new customers without many of the challenges, risks and expenses that often come with establishing a physical presence in a new market.
To harness this opportunity, it is imperative that small businesses invest upfront in developing and equipping themselves with the necessary knowledge and skills to make informed business decisions.
Success in online exporting, as in all business, relies on careful planning, risk mitigation and dedication.
Platforms like Alibaba offer new pathways to market in many ways, each of which may present new challenges for new-to-online manufacturers or retailers.
For example, bricks-and-mortar commerce requires a focus on location, merchandise assortment and display, as well as the in-store experience. E-commerce, on the other hand, requires a focus on order fulfillment, logistics, the online customer experience and customer lifecycle management.
Businesses must also ask themselves a number of new questions, such as: is growing a global business via online channels appropriate for my product or service, and what are the right platforms to consider? What tax or regulatory considerations need to be taken into account? What logistics and financing solutions will be required? How do I protect my intellectual property?
Alibaba’s Melbourne conference was a perfect opportunity for aspirational buyers and sellers to explore the cross-border export opportunities provided by ecommerce platforms such as Alibaba. Through exposure to a network of reputable and experienced service partners and buyers, businesses were able to advance the knowledge and skills needed to successfully export to China.
Alibaba is one of many established online marketplaces that Australian businesses can leverage to access the massive international consumer market, but there are also several tools available to Australian businesses who opt for more proprietary solutions to reach new consumers in overseas markets.
Starting a new business or extending market reach overseas is never easy, but by working with platforms like Alibaba and their partners, companies have a new opportunity to grow.
Of course, the Export Council of Australia is always here to help as well. We offer a range of services that can support you to successfully grow your online business, including our international business coaching service and various education programs.
I would like to congratulate Maggie Zhou, Alibaba Group’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand, for convening such a great event in Melbourne. The Alibaba platform is an excellent tool to assist Australian companies in accessing new opportunities, in particular small businesses interested in leveraging the global marketplace to fast-track their own growth.
Lisa McAuley is the CEO of the Export Council of Australia.

2 in 3 small online retailers welcome Amazon

With the arrival of Amazon causing heated debate among industry experts and retailers alike, new research reveals smaller online retailers are more likely to welcome the eCommerce giant than larger online retail businesses, and see it as an opportunity to grow their business.
Parcel delivery service CouriersPlease (CP) has conducted a survey among its online retailer customers to gauge sentiment about the arrival of Amazon.
Of 193 online retailers who took part in the survey – many of them small businesses – more than half (59%) see Amazon’s arrival as an opportunity to grow their business to Australian and international customers. The percentage consistently increased the smaller the size of the business: 62 per cent of micro businesses, 56 per cent of small businesses, 53 per cent of medium-sized businesses, and 33 per cent of large businesses would welcome Amazon.
The survey also revealed that 63 per cent of online retailers – and 74 per cent of small online retailers – believe Amazon will not compete with their business.
Attitudes among online retailers, however, are in stark contrast to shopper behaviour. CP research in June revealed that 90 per cent of Australian online shoppers admitted they would purchase from Amazon if it fulfils its promise to deliver low prices, vast selection and fast delivery.
CEO of CP Mark McGinley said: “Amazon is a disrupter and it’s likely that its arrival will change not only the retail sector, but also the logistics industry. Like every disruptor in the market, Amazon is customer-focused and local businesses wanting to compete will need to look at how they can add value to the customer. There is no doubt that the competition will make us all better at what we do.
“Australian online shoppers have told us that they will redirect their purchases to Amazon if it can deliver more of what customers want. It’s no surprise that smaller online sellers see Amazon as a partnership opportunity, to enable them to reach more local and overseas customers.”

It’s not all about e-commerce

Opinion – Dr Raymon Krishnan
In retail, the focus today is very much on e-commerce and there is much being said about how it is taking over traditional retailing. Lower costs, a wider selection of suppliers, and options with the convenience of access anytime or anywhere makes buying online an attractive proposition.
Like with many trends, the tide seldom moves in one direction. Take mobile phones for example. At a certain point, the market realised that phones needed to be big enough to be used comfortably and had to be practical. So phones (and not just smart phones) started getting bigger until they were right-sized.
Something similar seems to be happening in retail. In the US, brick and mortar retailers account for roughly half of online sales and related activity. Disruption of traditional commerce models continues to accelerate at an unprecedented pace and retailers are being forced to re-evaluate how they go to market, balancing front-end footprints with back-end fulfilment capabilities and their overall digital presence. At the same time, the uberisation of freight and FaaS (Freight as a Solution) offerings, and warehouse sites that combine prescriptive analytics capability, are resulting in flexible networks and infrastructure capabilities. These developments are elevating supply chains and logistics strategies into must-have, strategic differentiators.
In the experience economy, meeting consumer demand requires a seamless partnership between front-end retail service and back-end fulfilment capabilities. Additionally, retailers cannot rely on just one, ‘go to market’ channel. More and more companies are realising that an omni-channel approach is needed for long-term commercial sustainability. This does not mean that shopping malls are going to have people flocking back to them. What it does mean is that channels and resources to markets will need to be relevant and differentiated as opposed to ubiquitous.
Investing in e-commerce and digital marketing, often with insufficient focus and prioritisation alone is not what consumers want and the simple fact of the matter is that the majority of retail purchases, in virtually all categories starts online and till today, digitally influenced physical store sales are far bigger than pure online sales.
The future of omni-channel will not be evenly distributed across all channels, and challenges will still remain for brick and mortar malls and stores. Retailers need to have a well-sequenced roadmap of digital and conventional marketing, combined with channel integration initiatives rooted in a deep understanding of customer behaviour and underlying economics. The scattergun approach many have taken in implementing an e-commerce strategy has not proven to be successful. A laser focus, targeted at specific groups or areas, will be what results in success through the coupling of rich datasets and consumer insight.
This is good news to me. I am a little old school and still like the personal interaction brick and mortar stores afford the consumer. Being able to touch and feel what exactly I am intending to buy is another plus point, and I am sure I am not alone. E-commerce is not the be-all and end-all and the winning formula will be one that is balanced and measured.
Dr Raymon Krishnan is the president of the Singapore Logistics & Supply Chain Management Society and editor-at-large of LogiSYM.

Sendle joins eBay

Australian courier service Sendle has partnered with eBay. Sellers can now link their eBay accounts directly with Sendle to create shipping labels and receive access to flat-rate pricing throughout Australia, with door-to-door service that includes pick-up at prices that are said to be significantly cheaper than the post office.
eBay sellers also have access to Sendle Premium, which provides an extra $1 off standard pricing and allows merchants to ship 500g satchels for only $6.95. A 2kg parcel from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast costs $9.95 with Sendle.
The partnership is targeted at small and medium-sized businesses and to launch the partnership, Sendle is giving away 25,000 free deliveries to the eBay seller community.
Director of small business & shipping at eBay Australia & New Zealand Amrita Blickstead said: “We hear from our sellers that shipping can be one of the biggest pain points in running a business. The integration with Sendle is designed to remove some of this friction, and will allow our 40,000 small-to-medium sellers to be more efficient and sell instantly without being locked into a contract or a minimum commitment.”
Co-founder and CEO of Sendle James Chin Moody said: “‘Sendle for eBay’ is levelling the playing field for small and medium-sized eBay sellers, giving them a new shipping option that is simple, reliable and affordable. With a deep understanding of eBay seller needs and working together with eBay, we are focusssed on eliminating frustrating pain points for both buyers and sellers, making the delivery process seamless.”

The retail supply chain event to attend is here

The countdown is on to the Retail Day at the GS1 Supply Chain Week as the event returns for its sixth year.
With less than two weeks to go, the event is being held at Doltone House Jones Bay Wharf in Pyrmont, Sydney on Wednesday 6 September, and at Sumac & Sketch, Central Pier at the Docklands in Melbourne on Wednesday 13 September.
Head of customer engagement & business development at GS1 Australia Marcel Sieira said: “This event is bringing together industry experts and influencers who will share their experiences across a wide range of topics including evolving retail technologies, online marketplaces, RFID, inventory visibility for omni-channel effectiveness, and the future of Australian retail.”
Hosted by GS1 Australia, the retail program promises to deliver an interactive learning experience for supply chain professionals, operations and digital managers to explore the role GS1 standards can play to drive business efficiencies and reduce costs while meeting today’s supply chain challenges.
GS1 Australia’s head of marketing & training solutions Richard Jones said: “If you work in the retail sector, this event is an ideal opportunity to learn about the rapid changes in retail technology and the demands of the mobile consumer.”
A snapshot of some of the speakers and their topics includes:

  • Pier Smulders, Business Development Director New Zealand at Alibaba Group – Alibaba driving opportunity with big data;
  • Gareth Jude, Retail Industry Executive at Telstra – the potential of data to transform the retail supply chain;
  • Gary Stones, National Retail Operations Manager at Myer – RFID technology is the key enabler of inventory accuracy;
  • Kenta Sakakibara, Partner Management Lead, Ads/Commerce Partnership at Google – the power of GTINs in Google Shopping;
  • Julianne Westaway, Director, Client Service at Nielsen – real growth is still possible in the Australian retail sector.

Delegates will also have the opportunity to network with sponsors of the event to explore how their solutions will enable the implementation of GS1 standards. Our sponsors include Stibo Systems, MessageXchange, SICK, DSI, Checkpoint Systems, Honeywell, Ivanti, Pacific Commerce, and Matthews Australasia.
Please join us to be part of this rewarding event where attendees will exchange knowledge and enjoy great networking opportunities. For registrations or further information, please visit the Food & Beverage Day website or contact Katya Saliba, Events Manager at katya.saliba@gs1au.org or 03 9550 3476.

Online shopping surging

Australians are shopping online more than ever and mainly from local retailers, with sales surging more than 11 per cent in the past year, according to new research from Australia Post.
Australia Post has released its second annual Inside Australian Online Shopping Report – an overview of eCommerce in Australia, identifying who is buying what and where online.
The report, which draws on all of Australia Post and StarTrack’s customer and delivery data, showed online shopping sales rose 11.5 per cent in 2016 compared with 2015, and domestic retailers accounted for 79 per cent of the total online spending.
Australia Post’s general manager of e-commerce & international Ben Franzi said Australians’ love of fashion and department/variety store items continued, with the two categories accounting for more than half of all online sales.
“Price, range and convenience are the three main reasons why consumers shop online, and why growth rates remain strong,” Mr Franzi said.
“Online shopping empowers people to shop at a time that suits them.”
“Almost one third of all online purchases were made from 7pm-10pm, while 18 per cent were made from 2pm-5pm. Australians are increasingly using their smart phones to shop online, with purchases made from a mobile device growing 52 per cent.”
Other popular items included personalised goods, which grew 28.2 per cent. Mr Franzi said more online retailers were offering shoppers the ability to co-design and add their own personal brand to products such as watches, handbags and other accessories.
Point Cook in Victoria was the No.1 buying location for the second consecutive year, reporting 13.2 per cent growth, followed by Toowoomba in Queensland (7.6 per cent growth) and Liverpool in NSW (15 per cent growth).
Together, Australia Post and StarTrack deliver more than four billion items to 11.6 million addresses across the country annually. Mr Franzi said the data provided critical information for businesses looking to get ahead in a tough retail market.
“Here in Australia retail as we know it won’t ever look the same,” Mr Franzi said.
“The Inside Australian Online Shopping Report is a powerful tool to help businesses understand their existing and potential customers better, so they can create targeted offers and grow their sales by giving consumers what they want based on facts and data.”

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