Australia Behind on Online Retail

A recent report on the ABC suggested that Australia was 12 to 15 years behind most European countries when it comes to online retailing.

The same article suggested, and everything I read supports the view that failure to embrace online shopping, has contributed significantly to the decline of Myer and David Jones.

I saw Bernie Brookes, the Managing Director of Myer on television recently suggesting that Myer would become dominant in on line shopping, just as it has been in bricks and mortar shopping, because in the United States, the bricks and mortar retailers are with few exceptions, the dominant online retailers.

The fact is however, the major retailers in the United States get online shopping and very few Australian companies seem to.

It is interesting to note that 10% of retailing in Australia is now online, up from 5% two years ago.  At the same time, 25% of all betting is online 40% of all travel bookings are online.

I’d suggest that within five years, online shopping would have caught up with betting and would be well on the way to equaling travel.

Furthermore, I’d argue that the retailers that are going to suffer the most are those that offer a dreadful experience or at least an experience that adds no value and in that regard I include Myer and David Jones and the likes of Harvey Norman.

I purchased a television not so long ago from Harvey Norman.  The staff knew 2/3rds of nothing about the product, the service was slow as the store was understaffed and there was nothing particularly special about the pricing.  The fact is, I would have been much better off buying online.

After all, when it comes to a branded product, and in particular electronics product, there is nothing really to look at and there is certainly nothing you could see in the shop that you can’t pretty well see online.

Australian retailers are behind European and American retailers in terms of online shopping but they will catch up and bricks and mortar retailers like Harvey Norman add very little value, will be impacted substantially.

That’s what I say what say you?