Report: Inside the minds of e-commerce execs

e-commerce, onlineA new global survey of e-commerce executives has found that Australians are more interested in adopting new technology than their overseas peers, but less effective at leveraging data for business decisions.

The survey was commissioned by Oracle and Bronto in the first half of 2017 to provide insight into the top priorities, channels and tools, biggest obstacles, mobile strategies and areas of future investment for e-commerce executives in Australia, Canada, the US and UK.

Nearly 2,800 e-commerce executives working for businesses with a minimum of 200 employees and, in most cases, a mix of online and bricks-and-mortar operations, responded to the survey.

A report of the findings released yesterday shows that Australian ecommerce leaders are mostly in line with their overseas counterparts, though their thinking diverges on a few points.

The top two business priorities for local executives are new technology adoption and customer loyalty and retention. The same topics are top priorities for all other respondents, though in reverse order. Thirty-five per cent of Australians said they were interested in adopting new technology, compared to 21 per cent of all others.

Similarly, all survey respondents rated social media as the marketing channel with the biggest impact on sales, followed by email marketing and television. However, Australian respondents rated social media higher and e-mail marketing lower than all other respondents, revealing a stronger preference for the channel Down Under.

When it came to bricks-and-mortar sales, all respondents agreed that in-store wi-fi execs would have the biggest impact, though Australians thought interactive spaces would have a bigger impact and tablets would have a smaller impact, than others did.

Looking to the future, 43 per cent of Australian respondents said they would focus on one-click buying, and 37 per cent said they’d focus on selling through emerging social channels, if time and money were of no concern.

“There’s a common misconception that Australian retailers severely lag behind their peers in other parts of the world, [but] I’ve seen this gap close pretty quickly, and our research results suggest that Australian ecommerce executives are addressing the criticism and moving in the right direction,” said Oracle and Bronto APAC general manager Shannon Ingrey.

“They’re interested in new selling and marketing techniques, and committed to finding better, more effective ways to connect with consumers and maximise revenue. While there’s no denying Aussie retailers have their work cut out for them, I do see a bright future for Australian retailers, should they keep investing and displaying such a willingness to confront challenges head-on,” he said.

Mobile commerce, data still challenging

Where Australian e-commerce executives may still be catching up to their overseas counterparts is in the execution of strategic initiatives.

For instance, while around half of all respondents said mobile commerce will play a critical role in the future of their business, only 42 per cent of Australian retailers said they have a dedicated mobile strategy, compared to 50 per cent of all others surveyed. Australian retailers also ranked themselves as less effective than their global peers at leveraging data to make business decisions.

That rings true to online fashion retailer Showpo’s chief marketing officer, Mark Baartse. He told IRW that while there’s a lot of talk about data among Australian retailers, he’s sceptical about the degree to which teams actually utilise it.

“I was at a marketing analytics conference in the US two years ago and it was interesting to compare notes with people over there…to see how sophisticated some of their thinking was. It’s either intimidating or inspiring depending which way you look at it,” he said.

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