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Online Retailers Aren’t Prepared for the NBN

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A new report from Forrester describes the key benefits Australian online retailers will receive from the National Broadband Network, and highlights the sad fact that many are failing to prepare for it properly.

The National Broadband Network (NBN), which is rolling out across Australia, will provide the country’s entire digital infrastructure a much needed boost. Increases in speeds and bandwidth will mean improvements in internet services in general – which is good news for anyone that uses the internet.

However the government and online shopping businesses are failing to acknowledge exactly how the NBN is going to revolutionise the online retail landscape, according to a report released recently by Forrester Research.

Steven Noble, Senior Analyst for Forrester and author of the report, says, “The government has focused its attention on maximising the public benefits surrounding the NBN, rather than the business benefits. This isn’t a criticism of the government by any means, but what it means is that there is very little in terms of promotion of the potential available for online retailers.”

On the other hand, Noble points out, many businesses that are aware of these benefits aren’t doing as much as they can to prepare for them.

“When I speak to online retail professionals in Australia today,” Noble says, “they always say they have so much that they’re currently doing already – that they’re spending so much time and so much effort just trying to recruit and trying to implement even the basic features – that they’re forced to neglect some of the bigger opportunities that require a heavier technological investment.”

Due to the heavy focus on the benefits the NBN will bring to healthcare services and other public concerns, including the introduction of high-definition video streaming for example, private businesses might be tempted to think that they will be forking out enormous sums to acquire similar technologies.

However, Noble is quick to point out that some agile and innovative companies ‘get it’ – and they’re already implementing changes that will hope to see their business capitalise on the new technology.

“There are some niche players and advanced players who are preparing for the advances that the NBN will present,” says Noble. “Opportunities like the ability to use high-definition videos for product marketing, high-definition two-way video for customer support and even the ability to bring augmented reality to the home are just some of these.”

In order to really get up to speed with the forthcoming technology, and hone a business that will excel in the resulting online environment, the report suggests two major points:

  • Build a breakthrough experience – Noble points to Australian businesses Appliances Online and City Beach for their investment in on-site photo studios. In-house creative studios will enable retailers to create high-quality video, pictorial or other content quickly and relatively cheaply when compared to high-volume outsourcing.
  • Acquire innovative, relevant startups – The big US retailers have been making huge investments into online R&D companies in order accelerate their ability to innovate and remain agile. Australia’s equivalents, like David Jones or Harvey Norman, are yet to follow suit with this trend. Noble expects this will change with the advent of the NBN.

The major problem for most retailers will be coming up with the requisite funding for whatever project they feel will best enhance their chance of success once the NBN is widely available. However that doesn’t preclude the wisdom behind researching these technologies regardless, as well as taking a careful look at investment budgets. Basically, any company that can identify the correct solutions and also afford to acquire and implement them, will be in a very strong position in the next few years ahead.

On the other hand, those businesses that do nothing may find themselves a significant distance behind the eight-ball.

Is your business NBN ready? To find out more about NBN compatible solutions, consult our Solution Providers page to find out more.

To read more about the report, more information is available via Forrester’s, How To Prepare For Australia’s National Broadband NetworkFor further information on the NBN and its rollout schedule, read through the relevant sections on the government’s NBN website.

Campbell Phillips

Article by

Campbell currently serves as Editor for Power Retail. He has a background in science communication and a long history in retail. Campbell has a keen interest in emerging technologies and their impact in the world of media and online retail. Campbell is an indoor sports junkie, to the point of playing in a local dodgeball competition once a week, “just for kicks”. Follow Campbell on Twitter, Google+ or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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