Retail Expert Colin Barnard on Shopping Trends and Flash Sales

By Robyn Foyster Robyn Foyster has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
on 22 May 2019

Colin Barnard, Commercial Director at Criteo, ANZ talks to Women Love Tech about retail trends here and abroad

Tell us about the biggest e-commerce and consumer spending trends here in Australia

Australia’s ecommerce market is expected to grow by more than 37 per cent over the next three years, to be worth almost US$40 billion by 2022. With this growth comes evolving consumer habits and trends.

Where shopping was once a more linear journey, there are now several avenues that customers interact with brands on the path-to-purchase. Customers discover, research and buy products using brick-and-mortar stores, retail websites and social media.

Trends like showrooming (where a consumer checks out a product in-store before purchasing online at a lower price) and webrooming (where a consumer researches a product online before heading to a store to purchase) have become commonplace.

On top of this, we’ve seen a turning point in the level of mobile shopping as opposed to desktop shopping with Criteo finding that 85 per cent of Australians typically make a purchase via a retail app at least once a month.

What are the top shopping trends abroad?

Conglomerates like Uber, Amazon, Instagram, AirBnB, ZipCar and even concepts like click-and-collect have revolutionised the path-to-purchase around the world. While ‘Click and Collect’ is growing in Australia, this is already a well-established trend in driving in-store sales in the likes of Europe, China and the US and shows how an omni-channel approach is key to meeting new consumer expectations. When we look at the UK, its ecommerce market reached 20 per cent of total retail sales in the December quarter last year, growing 6 times faster than non-ecommerce retail (Office for National Statistics). There’s also been a rise in expectations for same day or next day delivery around the world. Amazon is trialing a free same day delivery to certain parts of the US for Prime users, while Argos in the UK offers same day delivery before 10pm for orders placed before 6pm for a small fee ($7.28 equivalent) to over 90 per cent of UK households.

What are the key reasons brands should get on board with major sales events?

Major sales events are becoming increasingly ingrained in the Australian consumer psyche. For example, according to new Criteo analysis, Click Frenzy is a peak sales event for many Australian businesses with the opportunity to grow online sales from 8 per cent to 45 per cent, ultimately driving overall revenue.

By analysing verified traffic and sales data from 56 million online shopping transactions across 151 Australian retailers, Criteo has found that conversion rates increased between 10 and 15 per cent during the week of the event. In terms of different shopping categories, in 2018, fashion sales increased by 73 per cent, health & beauty sales by 62 per cent (with sales increasing by 105 per cent the day before) and home by 21 per cent. You only need to look at China’s Singles Day, or Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the US. While these sales events are currently far greater than in Australia, they also provide an insight into what is to come.

How can brands benefit from being part of Click Frenzy?

In a bid to capitalise on the consumer appetite for online spending during Click Frenzy (as demonstrated through Criteo’s data), Australian brands should be planning their sales and marketing strategies around this key event to ultimately drive business growth. If you’re new to this space, no matter the size of your business, here’s where you can start to ensure you’re reaping in all the benefits:

  • Timing is everything: Don’t leave your advertising to the last minute. Make sure you have a solid plan in place to promote your deals one to two weeks ahead of an event such as Click Frenzy to help build awareness among your target audience, and then heavily increase your advertising on and around an event to generate cut-through and a healthy sales stream. This is where serving online ads to customers at the right moment comes in, which marketing companies like Criteo can help with.
  • Hyper-relevant content: Customers are seeking a genuine value-add from the content they consciously choose to engage with – they expect these interactions to become part of their everyday life in a more meaningful way. For businesses, this means understanding their motivations, preferences and unique behaviours, and developing hyper-relevant and hyper-interactive content at the moments that matter most to consumers.
  • Go mobile: According to Click Frenzy, there’s been a significant shift in mobile usage, with 56 per cent of shoppers using their mobiles to visit the site in 2018. It’s important that businesses are aware of the increasing importance of optimising their advertising campaigns for mobile and supporting this with an easy-to-use web page or app.  

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