Home » What’s hot in shopping this year? Value, and a return to retail stores

What’s hot in shopping this year? Value, and a return to retail stores

What’s hot in shopping this year? Value, and a return to retail stores

Australian shoppers are on the hunt for a bargain more than ever before – and are also more willing to shop in person than last year, new research from Shopify has revealed.
In-store shopping is back. 43% of Shopify’s survey respondents said they prefer shopping in-store, up 5% on 2023 figures. Image: Getty

It is no surprise given the massive increase in the cost of living over the last few years, that Australian consumers are looking for more bang for their buck. Research released by Shopify found that 79% of Aussies are tightening their belts to save money. A third of respondents are pessimistic about the economy and how it impacts their personal situation, and the number of people prioritising the best value is up 10% on 2023 figures.

“More than half of consumers in the country are looking for the best value when they shop
– whether lower prices, higher quality products, or other elements – driven by cost of living pressure, pushing competition even higher,” the report states.

A quarter of consumers still want to treat themselves now and then, according to the report, providing an opportunity for retailers to lure them in via sales and discounts.

Mosaic Brands is Australia’s largest specialty fashion retailer group, owning 1,000 Noni B, RIver, Katies, Autograph and other stores. Chairman Richard Facioni says in 2024, retailers need to show purchasers there is value in what they are buying.

“What we have found, is when they are presented with something they want or desire, they find the money for it. The money’s there, but it’s more discerning.”

Richard Facioni, Chairman of Mosaic Brands.

‘Retailers to focus on both online and offline’

Perhaps the most unexpected takeaway from the Shopify report is the revelation that consumers are increasingly purchasing omnichannel – meaning a return to shopping in retail stores, as well as continuing to shop on e-commerce sites and social media platforms.

43% of respondents said they prefer shopping in-store, 5% more than last year. Just 31% said they like shopping online. Consumers want multiple touchpoints with a retailer.

“With more than a quarter (26%) of consumers liking both in-store and online shopping equally, there is a compelling imperative for retailers to focus on both online and offline channels to suit shopper needs,” the report reads.

Not only does this provide shoppers with options to make purchasing as convenient as possible, it also provides more data for retailers to dig into. Shaun Broughton is Shopify’s managing director for APAC.

Consumers are leaning into omnichannel shopping – retail and e-commerce. Image: Getty

“Unified commerce will be an irrefutable growth driver, empowering retailers to sell better across multiple channels, while offering the best customer experiences and gaining access to unified datasets for the strongest business decisions,” says Broughton.

Giving shoppers the customer experience they are looking for is a priority for retailers according to the research, and they plan to innovate in order to achieve that outcome.

“99% of Aussie retailers surveyed are planning to invest in customer experience in 2024, and those that are plan to invest an average of 11% of their total annual revenue. Nearly all (99%) retailers also plan to invest in innovation, allocating an average of 18% of their total annual revenue to it,” the report reads.

Loyalty on the line

The research reveals that to be loyal to a brand, shoppers want consistently low prices, a rewards program, and high-quality goods. The vast majority (92%) of respondents said they would be loyal to a brand if it offered them ‘something’ above and beyond the product.

What do online shoppers want? Free shipping, free returns, estimated delivery dates, and loyalty rewards. Source: Shopify Retail report 2024

Paying for shipping costs is the number one dealbreaker for online shoppers. 60% of respondents say free shipping is a must-have. Consumers also want to experience the same high level of customer service when using e-commerce channels.

Omnichannel retailer Brand Collective sells Reebok, Review, Superdry, and Lonsdale products in Australia.

“The customer’s expectations around service quality have increased dramatically,” says Aaron Gard, Brand Collective’s head of digital and loyalty.

“When it comes to customer service, customers intuitively feel that every brand should act in an omnichannel way, and they should receive the same high-quality of service for online purchases as they would receive in a traditional retail store.”

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