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COVID-19: Six months On. Where is Australian eCommerce now? | #027

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Nathan Bush is a director at eCommerce talent agency, eSuite. He has led eCommerce for businesses with revenue $100m+ and has been recognised as one of Australia’s Top 50 People in eCommerce four years in a row. You can contact Nathan on LinkedIn, Twitter or via email.

Kate is an eCommerce consultant & growth marketer specialising in Shopify & Shopify Plus with a decade’s experience in eCommerce. She’s often called a “digital Swiss army knife” by clients, with a wide skillset spanning data & analytics, digital and platform strategy, paid media and customer lifecycle marketing. She works with retailers including Nimble Activewear, The Daily Edited and Steele label.

Craig is Managing Director of digital marketing agency Reload Media, a multi-national agency with offices in London, Brisbane and Manila. Craig’s worked with some of the world’s leading brands on all aspects of their digital marketing, and is a regular industry speaker at events such as Online Retailer and Shopify Unite.

In this episode of Add To Cart, we are re-joined by Kate Collinson, eCommerce consultant & growth marketer and Craig Somerville, Managing Director of digital marketing agency Reload Media.  It has been six months since we first met with these two for an insider’s take on Australian eCommerce in the time of COVID and we are due for an update.  This chat includes tips on how retailers should approach the latter part of 2020, Black Friday included eCommerce growth predictions for 2021 and a discussion of the most innovative Covid-inspired pivots our guests have seen.  If you’re an Aussie retailer struggling to make sense of a COVID-impacted world, this one’s for you.

Kate shares that there have been lots of changes since March and the impacts of the global crisis remain industry-specific. Businesses have started learning to live with it and some brands will continue to battle with it for a bit more.

Craig says that while it’s been tough responding to everything that’s changing every single day, he feels that businesses including his own are yet to see the worst of the economic crisis. 

The difference since March is that business owners and marketers now understand the rules of the game far better. Depending on the stage of the lockdown implemented in a specific city/state, marketers and businesses already have an idea of how consumers might behave or respond. 

…we’ve got the data we’ve got the evidence and we’ve kind of got a bit more of an understanding of what these new rules of the game kind of are.”

 Kate Collinson

Questions answered in this episode include

  • Is the online growth we’ve seen as a result of COVID going to continue?
  • What have been the most innovative responses you’ve seen during this crisis?
  • What three things should eComm departments invest in going forward?

The growth sustainability of the online purchasing trend in Australia

According to Craig, the growth itself is not sustainable, but the behaviour shift probably is. Many businesses have seen a fast-forward in digital adaptation and eCommerce adaptation. Recent studies also suggest that consumers are not going to reverse those behaviours. 

While there has been significant growth in online purchasing, Kate believes that Australian eCommerce will continue to be left behind by the US and the UK, given how spread out the locations are and the price of logistics in these areas. 

Craig agrees that Australia will always trail behind the US and the European markets. He says that it has been the trend for the past 25 years and it will not shift anytime soon because of COVID alone.

Kate added that it’s not a bad thing that eCommerce shopping does not become the preferred way to shop, given that actively going shopping is an experience in itself and that’s never going to go away. People will always want to be able to touch and feel different types of products that they are purchasing. 

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