Retailers lift online game ahead of Amazon

More Australian retailers are adding click and collect services as they prepare for Amazon to roll out.

A woman browses an online clothing store on her iPhone

Online is expected to account for more than a third of Australian retailers' sales. (AAP)

Online is expected to account for more than a third of Australian retailers' sales as more offer click and collect services ahead of Amazon's arrival.

The latest CommBank Retail Insights Report has found click and collect - whereby consumers buy a product online and pick it up in store - is being offered by 42 per cent of retailers, up from 24 per cent in August 2015.

And 38 per cent of retailers now allow shoppers to return online purchases in-store, up from 23 per cent about 18 months ago.

The report, based on two surveys of about 2,700 small to large retailers, found online sales accounts for 29 per cent of the retail sector's volumes.

This is expected to rise to 35 per cent in the next 12 months.

"To maintain growth, retailers continue to adjust their strategies to adapt to changing market conditions such as the pending arrival of Amazon," Commonwealth Bank national retail industry manager Jerry Macey said.

"Only a fraction of retailers are leveraging third-party sites as a sales channel currently, and we expect that may change as Amazon's platform rolls out in Australia."

Amazon, which already sells Kindle devices and content in Australia, confirmed last month that it will roll out all its services Down Under over the next few years.

Mr Macey said 11 per cent of retailers see Amazon's entry as an opportunity.

The report said company-owned websites remain the primary online sales channel for most retailers, but that 22 per cent were also using third-party websites to sell.

Email, social media and mobile apps have become significantly less popular among retailers, including among pure-play online businesses, in the past 12 months.

Instead, more retailers are turning to live chat software that allows them to talk to customers on their websites, while a small number of retailers are using chatbots, a computer program that responds to customers' questions.

2 min read
Published 15 May 2017 at 12:16pm
Source: AAP