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What strategies can retailers employ to foster sustainable growth in 2024?

Explore effective strategies for retailers to foster sustainable growth in 2024. From embracing live selling to prioritizing customer loyalty programs, discover key insights to drive revenue and enhance customer engagement.

The magnitude of Australia’s retail sector cannot be overstated. With a collective presence of 155,000 businesses contributing to 11% of the total GDP and providing employment for nearly one-and-a-half million Australians, its significance is undeniable.

In 2023, ecommerce transactions alone surpassed $63 billion, highlighting the sector’s immense scale. Undoubtedly, this landscape is fiercely competitive, characterized by a constant struggle for consumer attention and market share. Adding to the challenge are economic factors that are heightening consumer discernment in their brand engagements.

Securing customer loyalty is paramount for all retailers, regardless of their scale, especially within the highly saturated and competitive ecommerce sphere. According to numerous projections, cultivating customer retention proves to be four to eight times more cost-efficient than customer acquisition. At SHOPLINE, we prioritize fostering relationships over mere transactions, recognizing that strong connections incentivize loyalty and encourage repeat purchases.

To gain insight into how retailers are addressing not only loyalty but various other aspects as well, SHOPLINE recently conducted and launched our Unified Commerce Benchmarking Study.

So, what were the key findings of this research, and how can retailers transform occasional shoppers into enthusiastic brand advocates?

Enhancing loyalty

Our research underscores the significance of membership and loyalty programs in bolstering customer engagement and incentivizing loyalty. A noteworthy 60% of retailers identify these programs as highly effective in promoting repeat purchases and cultivating brand advocacy. 

This trend is especially pronounced among very large retailers, those with a GVM (gross value merchandising) of AUD$100 million or more. Remarkably, 89% of respondents within this category have already integrated loyalty or membership initiatives into their strategies. Respondents have leveraged them to drive repeat purchases and pursue sustainable, long-term growth.

Nevertheless, small retailers, with a GVM of less than AUD$10 million, exhibit significantly lower adoption rates, with only 31% offering loyalty programs to their clientele. Considering the success attained by retailers of all sizes through loyalty programs, addressing this gap becomes imperative for small retailers. 

An effective loyalty program should offer solutions for customer activation and repurchase. It should also facilitate the transformation of customers into devoted, engaged members. SHOPLINE’s Member System empowers retailers to establish tiers that grant exclusive perks to top customers, enhance engagement and repeat purchases through points. The system can even leverage customers as brand ambassadors using referral codes.

Among those already employing loyalty programs, many fall short of optimizing their strategies. Surprisingly, just 49% of these programs are accessible across multiple channels. To fully harness the potential of their loyalty initiatives, retailers must adopt a unified approach. 

Unified commerce embodies a seamless experience across all customer touchpoints. By deploying loyalty programs that acknowledge both in-store and online purchasing behaviors retailers can unlock greater rewards. This offers compelling incentives for customers to become regular shoppers.

Customer retention and revenue

Customer retention is crucial, especially in today’s climate of economic challenges and heightened competition. Global retail giants like Amazon, Temu, and Shein exemplify the significance of repeat purchases. Whether through diverse product offerings, flexible delivery options, or compelling price points, they have successfully cultivated the loyalty of millions of Australian shoppers.

Despite the vast reach and resources of these giants compared to local retailers, through unified commerce and loyalty programs, retailers can transform one-time buyers into loyal customers.

Unified commerce platforms, such as SHOPLINE, are equipped with the necessary tools for retailers of all sizes to connect with customers. 

SHOPLINE helps retailers to: 

  • Establish member systems
  • Manage orders and inventory
  • Operate across various channels
  • Simplify payment processes
  • Analyze every facet of their business operations.

This integrated, unified approach lays a solid foundation for retailers to launch successful loyalty programs. Retailers who define clear goals and structures for their loyalty schemes, offer meaningful rewards and incentives, gamify the customer experience, seamlessly integrate across one unified platform, and promote social sharing and referrals are experiencing substantial growth.

Harness the power of data analytics and personalization

Shein and Temu are experts at utilizing data analytics and personalization methods to craft tailored shopping experiences for each customer. By analyzing customer behavior, preferences, and past purchases, these brands can provide highly relevant product recommendations, personalized promotions, and customized content. This leads to increased engagement and sales conversions. 

All retailers should prioritize investing in these capabilities. Today, commerce platforms offer comprehensive ecommerce analytics, enabling retailers to gain insights into customer behavior, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions to optimize their online stores. 

By utilizing these tools effectively, retailers can gain a deeper understanding of their target audience, refine their marketing strategies, and deliver personalized experiences that resonate with customers, ultimately driving sales and fostering lasting loyalty.

Mediums to collect customer information infographic.

Australia’s retail landscape is dynamic and fiercely competitive, with consumers spending over AUD$361 billion on retail goods in 2023 despite cost-of-living pressures. With 155,000 businesses vying for customer loyalty, standing out poses a significant challenge. 

However, the retailers poised to lead in the coming months and years are those who grasp the power of loyalty and employ effective strategies to incentivize it, regardless of their GVM, product offerings, or target audience.

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