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Retail trends and insights

2019 was another momentous year for Australian retail. Headlines were often made for the wrong reasons, as retail spending slumped to a 28-year low, the industry was further impacted by the challenge of employee underpayments and more retailers were forced to shut their doors, driven by a wave of consumer change.

The Australian Retail Outlook 2020, co-produced with Inside Retail offers retailers key insights into the year ahead. KPMG retail specialists delve into the key trends and forecasts included in the report.

The pressure on retailers to remain relevant in the eyes of the consumer have never been stronger. Consumers are shopping differently, paying differently and their values are continuing to shift as sustainability and ethical retailing have taken centre stage.

Retail has a tremendous capacity to adapt to changing customer preferences and consumer behaviour. 2020 is likely to be another challenging year where retailers will continue to adapt and look for that opportunity to differentiate themselves, reinventing their businesses and leveraging digital and data to engage with their target customer.

Key contacts

Australian Retail Outlook – Matt Darby

Key highlights

Sustainable is the new ticket to play

Transitioning to a circular textile economy is both a sales opportunity and risk management strategy that can safeguard a retail organisations future.

Unsurprisingly, caring for the environment has never been a hotter issue both for society and businesses, and right in the middle of the battleground is retail, which is a huge contributor to the environmental problems faced around the world.

In response to a global environmental disaster, the circular economy movement is gaining momentum as brands recognise that a sustainable environmental footprint is the new ticket to play in retail. The circular economy gives new life to products and materials that would otherwise make their way to landfill, letting products have an infinite lifecycle through different uses.

Retail and the social licence to operate

More consumers now chose to buy brands based on their social and environmental impact, and retail boards have to comply or risk the costs.

The report outlines four pillars which align customer values and compliance requirements – placing compliance at the heart of a retail business can create a strategic advantage by helping retailers manage risk in their supply chain, protect customers and safeguard employees more effectively:

  • know your customers
  • protect your customers
  • protect your people
  • understand regulatory requirements.

Is e-commerce priming to boom?

Cautious consumers under increased economic pressure and a system of investments to improve experience are setting the stage for the next wave of rapid e-commerce growth.

There are some interesting parallels with today’s retail conditions that could be signalling that a new wave of rapid growth in online shopping is on the horizon for Australia.

  • A wanting market
  • A primed Consumer
  • All hands on the experience
  • Building an end to end online shopping journey.

Invest in CX – but not for CX sake

Customer experience strategies are about more than the ‘fun’ stuff – so why are retailers still getting it wrong?

KPMG’s six pillars of Customer Experience Excellence provide a valuable prioritisation framework which can support a retailers CX program focus and shape a new way of organisational thinking:

  • personalisation
  • integrity
  • time and effort
  • expectations
  • resolution
  • empathy.
Australian Retail Outlook – James Stewart