Australia’s retailers have experienced a surge in competition with the growing trend of online shopping. And, with large stores like Costco and Amazon disrupting every market, even big businesses are struggling. With more competition, consumers have higher expectations of retailers too.

Get Ready to Adopt a New Way of Shopping

With product options available from all around the world now, customers are sold on the new shopping experiences available. No longer is it necessary to walk in a store to try on activewear since the online markets provide virtual shopping experiences.

With that being said, clothing is by far one of the hardest things to sell online when considering the logistics of purchasing. While all sorts of products matter in terms of sizing, coloration, and texture, those factors couldn’t have a bigger impact than they do with a clothing purchase.

In this sense, the internet still falters when it comes to selling clothing. People want to try things on to see how it will fit their individual body. They want to know what the color actually looks like. They want to know how the material feels. They want to know how much stretch the item has and how high quality it appears to be made.

Photos, videos, and in-depth descriptions can help answer these questions to better sell such items online. But nothing beats seeing it for yourself. To accommodate this “seeing is believing” approach, many retailers are offering “try-on” periods for clothing. This allows consumers to order a product without paying, try it on (usually within 7 days), and then decide if they want to keep it, exchange it, or send it back.

Returning a package can still be a hassle though, so in-store shopping continues to excel in this regard for the time being.

Invest in Online Reputation and Product Education

Thanks to the internet, consumers are conducting their own product research, including price and quality comparisons, as well as learning about companies prior to purchasing.

Due to the array of purchase options and the unique ways of shopping consumers have become accustomed to, the retail industry has dubbed it the “new retail.”

People simply are not approaching the task of shopping the way they used to. Whereas a person may have previously gone straight to the store to see an item for themselves and compare them side-by-side, now people can rule out a product before they ever even see it. Generally, product research starts with an item, like active leggings. They will then narrow down their options based on one or two specific features they want, like pockets or a certain style.

After narrowing down their options, a person may then go into researching the brand itself. They are likely to check reviews for the product and possibly even some videos of people trying on and testing out the product.

Ultimately, they will only make their decision after they have found sufficient evidence that the company makes a good product and that the specific product that they are considering satisfied other buyers.

Expect Local Rent Increases to Continue

As if the foreign and online competition was not enough, landlords are cutting into the bottom line for local retailers, with escalating rent prices.

According to reports, landlords are confident vacancies will fill quickly when retailers move out, stating it will make room for variety businesses geared towards entertainment, health, and lifestyle.

If you have a local presence, this is unfortunate news. But, it is even more motivation to bring your business online and widen your audience. By doing so, you can also widen your profit margins. Plus, by building an online reputation, you can attract more customers to your store presence as well, helping to further justify its cost.

Anticipate Exciting Growth in Health and Lifestyle

Even stores like Woolworth’s recognize purchasing habits shifting towards the health and lifestyle move, as customers buy less prepackaged foods and soft drinks and opt instead for fresh produce. This is indicative that the fitness craze is not slowing down anytime soon.

Experts expect that, in the long-term, retail will divide itself between online niches and offline niches. In other words, many products will begin to be bought almost exclusively online. Meanwhile, some niches will continue dominating the storefront realm of retail.

Some of the niches that will likely continue to have a strong local presence include home improvement, furniture, clothing, and of course food and grocery. Diversifying to include some of these niches can help a local presence stay relevant. Moving online where more customers are going is also a smart option.

What’s Next?

New foreign competitors have opened for business in Australia, including H&M, Uniqlo, and Zara, which may specialize in discounted apparel. But consumers are highly attracted to quality and offer loyalty to trustworthy companies.

Australia has an outstanding reputation for providing quality, service and eco-friendly products; therefore, area retailers have a major advantage that even Amazon cannot compete with.

That means you should continue to focus on providing a quality product. And, you should go above and beyond in your marketing. Continue to set your company apart by establishing a consistent and trustworthy brand. Help customers recognize you and build a relationship with you by telling your business’ story.

Now more than ever before, people want to know the work that goes into the products and companies they support. That means supporting the right causes, hiring the right people, and showing off the effort and dedication your company puts into every item is the right way to go. These are the “human” aspects that big corporations like Amazon are having trouble tackling. Use it to your advantage.

Start Selling Today

Looking for more ways to take your Sport and fitness eCommerce business to the next level?

Check out our 10 Tips to Building a Successful Sport & Fitness eCommerce Business guide today.

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