Here we are: 2018. Resolutions made and possibly already broken. The cricket's on the telly and the beach is beckoning - BUT there's still business to be done.
While you're grappling with that mountain of holiday emails, Sendle's monthly wrap-up should help ease you back into things.
So, how did Amazon do?
There was plenty of speculation about Amazon's Australian launch in December. Would it be the game-changer many small business expected?
The early signs were underwhelming, with local retailers quick to price match to blunt Amazon's impact. In any case, prices and delivery times were higher than expected.
As Tony Boyd reported in The Financial Review, "established retailers with well functioning online sales such as Officeworks found the Amazon logistics and delivery systems to be inferior."
The pre-Christmas rush tended strongly towards gaming and tech. Amazon Australia's top-selling items in its first week were:
- FIFA 18 (PS4)
- Call of Duty: WW2 (PS4)
- Star Wars Battlefront II (PS4
- Nintendo Switch - Neon Blue and Red Joy-Con
- Strong 3M HDMI Cable
- Strong Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
- The Barefoot Investor: The Only Money Guide You'll Ever Need
- 5 Ingredients - Quick and Easy Food
- Star Wars Battlefront II (Xbox One)
- Nintendo Switch - Gray Joy-Con
So far, Amazon's logistics are restricted by only having one distribution centre in outer Melbourne. But stay tuned for a more streamlined offering in 2018 - expansion is inevitable as Amazon gathers momentum in Australia.
If you're ready to give the Amazon rodeo a go, our integrations with logistics management platforms ReadyToShip and ShipStation will get you started nicely.
Take the sting out of 'returns season'.
The New York Post estimates $260 million worth of retail purchases are returned each year in the US - a quarter of which occurs post-Christmas.
It's the thought that counts, of course, but Santa can't always get it right. The flipside to the busy December period is a flood of returns in January. Managing these returns (and refunds) is a blow to any business' revenue, not to mention a logistical headache.
Shopify has a few suggestions for how to find the silver lining. With the right approach, you can turn returns into exchanges and use any learnings to inform your policy.
Remember: all interactions are a customer service opportunity. And that can be a crucial point of difference in a crowded market.
Sendle offers a return solution via your dashboard, have a sticky beak here for more information on how easy this is to carry out.
Online shopping to peak by 2021.
As it stands, online sales in Australia account for 7.5 percent of the retail sector (compared to about 11 per cent in the US).
Russel Zimmerman, chief executive of the Retailers Association, claimed online sales were likely to reach a peak of 12-13 per cent within three years, rather than five as predicted. A flow-on of the Amazon effect, perhaps?
While Christmas was modest for bricks and mortar retailers - in line with a quiet 2017 - wholesaler numbers are up, pointing to continued growth in online sales.
The necessity of social responsibility.
2017 also saw an intriguing marketing battle in line with the same-sex marriage survey. With progressive inclusivity and 'traditional values' squaring off in public debate, brands scrambled to align themselves accordingly. There was even a Gruen episode about it.
Politics aside, consumers are increasingly mindful of the implications of their purchases. There's a distinct trend that people are making brand choices based on their morals and beliefs. As such, more and more new businesses are built around advocacy issues.
Take Koala mattresses for example. They preach wildlife conservation and deliver tangible donations (not to mention their branding is really, really good). Whether it's ethical production, sustainability or charity affiliation, brands in 2018 can't afford not to stand for something.
See you next month.
The Sendle Team