Our inaugural SLI Connect AU is a wrap! I would like to thank all of our engaging speakers and thoughtful attendees for making our first SLI Connect in Australia a great success. Speakers included SLI customers Bras N Things and Appliances Online along with industry leaders from Testivate, ChannelAdvisor, SKUVantage, Harris Farm and ShopBot. We brought together Australia’s leading online retailers to discuss and learn about the top e-commerce challenges and opportunities for the coming year, and we came away with some powerful insights.
The Aussie E-Commerce Boom
According to SLI Connect speaker Mark Gray, managing director at ChannelAdvisor, the Australian e-commerce market is growing at a breakneck rate. Mark said: “Australians spent $16.4 billon on online retail in 2014! This level is equivalent to 6.8% of spending at traditional brick and mortar retailers” (source: NAB Feb, 2015).
Moreover, Testivate Founder and Principal Analyst Steven Noble, who also presented his findings at SLI Connect, reported that Australian retailers are adopting global e-commerce best practices and meeting U.S. and EU competition head on.
Aussie Retailers’ Biggest Worry
Even with business booming, we learned via an SLI survey at the show that half of these leading Australian retail brands worried about losing business to international competitors in the past year. SLI Systems Regional VP Mark Brixton said: “The results show local retailers are concerned by the increased willingness of Australian shoppers to interact with international retailers.”
In response to this pressure, the vast majority of Aussie retailers have taken action to ensure they remain relevant in a increasingly competitive market by implementing advanced e-commerce solutions, including sophisticated site search (80%) and mobile and tablet optimization (67%).
SLI customer and presenter Duncan Brett, general manager of e-commerce at Bras N Things, shared how learning-based site search, navigation and recommendations solutions from SLI are helping Bras N Things tailor product searches for customers and increase sales from top search terms over time.
The Omnichannel Future
Similar to our experience at SLI Connect UK, retailers discussed moving toward omnichannel retailing as fast as possible. Neil Thomas, general manager at ShopBot, wisely suggested in his presentation that “it is time to think about dropping the ‘e’ from ‘e-commerce platform’ and calling it what it is really becoming – a commerce platform.”
Duncan of Bras N Things further emphasized that the brick and mortar store and e-commerce store should be “a joint force and not another source of competition.”
As the buying journey becomes more complex, so too does the competition. It’s inspiring to see so many retailers in Australia and across the globe using learning site search as a competitive advantage to drive conversion rates and sales worldwide.
The next SLI Connect event is planned for September 24, 2015 in New York City! Save the date and stay tuned – registration will open soon.