The way we shop is set to change, with new research forecasting one in two purchases will be made online within a decade.
Australian shoppers will be just as likely to shop online rather than in store by 2030, a survey by Australia Post has found.
The survey of about 1000 small and mid-sized Australian businesses found nearly half expected online sales to reach parity with bricks and mortar sales in 10 years.
Consumer habits have changed significantly over the past few years, Australia Post’s Rebecca Burrows said.
“People want an in-store experience but in the comfort of their own living room – they want to see, touch and try,” Ms Burrows said.
“Trends such as augmented reality are bridging the gap between online and in-store shopping … Leading retailers are also embracing mobile commerce and voice-activated shopping.”
The nation’s rapidly expanding online food and grocery market is currently estimated to be worth about $3.1 billion, and is growing at 12.5 per cent annually.
Last month, Woolworths announced it would be rolling out its ‘on-demand’ grocery delivery service, ‘Woolworths Delivery Now’ in partnership with ‘last mile delivery service’ Yello.
Coles also announced a $150 million deal with British online supermarket Ocado, revealing that it would seek to double its home delivery services within the next four years.
However, major improvements are needed before shoppers have confidence buying certain products online, research commissioned by parcel delivery service CouriersPlease found.
The survey of online shoppers across Australia found 60 per cent wanted a more user-friendly internet and delivery experience before they would consider purchasing certain products online from categories including jewellery, appliances, and hardware.
The majority of those surveyed said they wanted to see more “clear and realistic” images of such products on websites, plus cheaper deliveries and returns.
Australia’s smaller population size compared to the world’s biggest eCommerce markets such as the US, UK, and China “does limit the ability of retailers to experiment with different services at cost effective scales”, CouriersPlease head of commercial and transformation Jessica Ip said.
The sheer size of the country also poses a challenge when it comes to “on-demand” same day or next day delivery.
“Even in metropolitan areas, unless there is scale, on-demand can still be very expensive for the consumer if the expense of delivery is not covered completely or partially by the retailer,” Ms Ip said.
Returns experience key
Unlike in-store purchases, an online transaction isn’t over once payment has been made.
Instead, many shoppers don’t make a final decision on whether they want to keep an item until after they’ve unboxed it. A positive returns experience is a crucial factor for brands looking to cultivate customer loyalty and repeat purchases, Ms Ip said.
A recent survey by ME Bank found that Australian shoppers are wasting up to $384 a year by failing to return unwanted online purchases.
Tips for online shopping:
- Only purchase from trustworthy and secure sites
- ‘Sense check’ what you’re buying and when you’re buying it. Ask ‘is this really something I need, and is it in the budget?’
- Delay the purchase: sleep on it for a night before you buy
- Check the returns policy: know what you’re entitled to and how much returning an item will cost
- Remember the transaction isn’t over until you receive the item and make a final decision