Forrester Research Unveils 2012 Online Retail Predictions

It’s the beginning of a new year, a time when resolutions are made and broken – within mere hours and days. But what will the start of 2012 mean for those in the online retail industry?

“The National Broadband Network initiative is poised to bring gigabit broadband to 93% of Australian Households. Australian online retail sales will charge ahead during this period, almost doubling from A$16.9 billion in 2009 to A$33.3 billion in 2015”, says Steven Noble, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research.

In its recently released report, Trends 2012: Online Retail In Australia Will Finally Hit Its Stride, Forrester highlights the trends that online retailers should take note of, if they want to be part of this growth. The report explains that there are five areas to focus on, which include:

  1. Mobile Commerce – No longer the poor cousin.
    It has been waiting in the wings for a chance and now the smartphone will have its day (or year) in the limelight. The number of smartphone users continues to grow and online retailers are going have to start meeting the demand for mobile optimised sites in 2012. According to Forrester, there is evidence that applications and mobile sites do work, ‘consumers in Australia purchase and item every four seconds in Australia through eBay’s mobile apps’.Online retailers have been paying so much attention to getting online the traditional way, that the new methods of reaching the customer are passing by unnoticed.
  2. Mass Customisation – When all else fails, design it yourself!
    Australians are doing just that within the booming mass customisation industry. Think of sites like Shoes of PreyJoe Button, Sneaking Duck, Mooo and Vinspi (just to name a few) – this niche retail industry is experiencing high growth and profitability in a short time. While the rest of the world is following the trends, Australia remains a ‘mass customisation hub’ and 2012 will see it grow yet again.
  3. Daily Deals – Will they stay or will they go?
    Daily deal sites have been popping up left, right and centre. Offering hundreds of different deals, day in and day out. But will 2012 be the end of the deal sites? Customer satisfaction has fallen in other countries and if that happens in Australia, the number of purchases will drop. This may mean the end for some sites, or the partnership of others to survive in the future. Retailers need to be aware of consumer sentiment and if utilising these sites be mindful that their investment delivers value and returns.
  4. Closing the Gap – Keeping ahead of the game.
    The report highlights that the gap between small innovative startups which have very little capital and retail bricks-and-mortar  giants will start to converge.
    “In 2012, a plucky few will take serious steps toward becoming the first local online retailers to combine speed and scale,” says Noble. He gives the retail examples of Deals Direct Group and CatchOfTheDay which both secured external funding in 2011 to aid the rapid growth of their businesses.
    This highlights the need for retailers to keep on the front foot online to ensure their continued survival.
  5. Industry Partners – Getting your pick of the litter.
    There is always a third party which retailers need to rely on behind the scenes, namely banks, software developers and delivery services. With the emergence of private companies offering specialised services, particularly in the areas of fulfilment and banking, in 2012 online retailers will enjoy a smorgasbord from which to select these third party solutions to better their businesses.

For more information and/or to purchase the report, please visit the Forrester Research website.

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