Australian retailers have seen better days. At least, that’s what you’d think if you look at the latest industry data.
As of September 2019, the Australian retail sector saw the slowest growth since the 1991 recession. To make things worse, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released figures last month indicating that the retail industry grew just 0.3% in 2019 — the slowest growth rate in history.
Despite these figures, though, we’re happy to report that retailers using Vend are doing just fine. Even better, actually — they’re doing incredibly well despite the so-called Australian retail apocalypse.
For the month of January of this year, Vend retailers in Australia were delighted with year on year growth of 2.3%, bucking the ABS’ retail growth figure of 0.3%.
Across all industries, TAS Vend retailers had the highest uplift in revenue against January 2019, with an astonishing 13% increase. This is followed by WA who enjoyed 8.8% growth from the year before, and finally by NT with a 3% increase. Although not in the top 3, Vend VIC retailers celebrated a 1.4% increase in January 2020 versus the same time last year.
Looking at things from a vertical-specific perspective, home and giftware stores celebrated a 7.05% increase in revenue in January 2020, compared to the year before. Vend’s home and giftware retailers in NSW outperformed their January 2019 revenue by 17.4%.
Fashion retailers using Vend also saw great results. Vend’s WA fashion retailers saw an uplift of over 28% in January 2020 compared to the same time last year. NSW had an increase of over 2%, and VIC enjoyed 1.8% growth.
Why Vend retailers are thriving
Vend’s data reveals that while there are some shakeups happening in the Australian retail sector, stores that use the right tools and strategies can — and do — thrive. Let’s take a closer look at what’s behind the success of these retailers:
1. Independent stores are finding their competitive edge
It’s no secret that ecommerce has changed the game for retailers. Online merchants have streamlined the act of buying commodities thanks to features and services like auto-renewals, one-tap purchases, and same-day delivery.
Today, it’s never been easier to purchase “stuff.”
For this reason, brick and mortar stores that don’t have anything to offer beyond commodities are suffering.
Meanwhile, the experiential side of retail — the part that involves discovering great products and socializing with others — continues to gain steam. Shoppers are still heading to physical stores, not because they want to “buy stuff,” but because they want to get experiences that they won’t find anywhere else.
And independent retailers (many of which use Vend) are particularly good at creating rich experiences.
“Independent retailers are better at curating their product offerings and they’re more likely to know — and care — about their customers and the in-store experience,” says Dave Scheine, Vend’s Managing Director for APAC.
“Mediocre retail continues to struggle in Australia, as we’ve seen in companies like JeansWest and Harris Scarfe. But, the independent retail sector is alive and well.”
2. Streamlined operations through technology
Solutions like Vend eliminate and reduce manual tasks like data entry and accounts reconciliation.
As such, retailers that use technology often spend less time on cumbersome admin work and devote more energy to revenue-generating activities like spending time with customers, training sales associates, implementing promotions, and strategising ways to grow their business.
LUC Design, a Tasmania-based homewares and furniture store is an excellent example of a retailer leveraging technology to save time. Lucy Given, the Founder LUC Design, uses Vend to run her store and doing so has enabled her to focus on growing her business.
“Running our store on Vend has freed up my time to do things that are important, such as building our Instagram account, going overseas and buying beautiful products,” she says.
What’s more, tasks like monthly reconciliations have become less stressful for Lucy. “Having up-to-date stock levels in Vend has made stocktake much easier than before. It’s also helped our end-of-month reconciliations and made it so much easier working with my accountant,” she explains.
3. Data-driven strategies
Vend retailers have access to powerful reports that shed light on sales, profit margins, product performance, and customer behavior. These insights enable merchants to make smarter decisions — such as which products to stock, what margins to optimise for, and which customers to engage.
Masons, a luxury menswear store in Melbourne, puts Vend reporting to good use by collecting shopper details at the point of sale and using retail insights to inform their product and sales strategies.
With Vend, almost all sales at Masons are recorded with customer names and contact details. Vend also stores detailed customer notes and preferences, including a shopper’s sizing, favorite brands, or even their favorite whiskey.
Combining the power of Vend’s product tagging and promotion features, Masons built a sophisticated product matrix, and now generate incredibly targeted offers using Vend Promotions.
“Vend provides us amazing analytics with how our products are performing. We now run targeted promotions based on product insights and we’ve seen good results,” says Nami Nguyen, the Boutique Manager at Masons.
4. Tools that boost sales and customer engagement
Retailers using Vend have access to additional tools that can drive sales. Vend has a built-in promotions feature that allows merchants to run various types of promos, including percentage discounts, multi-buys, BOGO, and more.
Additionally, Vend integrates with Marsello, a loyalty and marketing automation platform that lets merchants run engaging rewards programs and personalized campaigns.
There’s also Afterpay, a ‘buy now, pay later’ solution, that allows retailers to receive payment for purchased items upfront while letting customers pay in four fortnightly installments. Afterpay has been proven to boost sales. The company estimates that some merchants have increased transaction values by 25%.
Just because other retailers are struggling doesn’t mean you have to. By arming your business with the right tools, you can streamline your operations, serve customers better, and ultimately drive more sales and profits.
Learn how Vend can help you do all that and more. Get in touch with our Australian team today!
About Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.