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Online Essentials Shopping Not Going Anywhere Post-Pandemic

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As foot traffic to Sydney and Melbourne retailers dries up due to the COVID lockdowns, customers have signalled that online shopping for essentials is here to stay.

According to a new report by Salesforce and the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), while online purchases currently make up around 10 per cent of all retail per ABS statistics, 68 per cent of consumers say they will keep going online to buy essential goods even after the pandemic ends.

Despite this shift to online, 69 per cent still want businesses to deliver “in-store” experiences on their digital platforms, including personalised offers, real customer service representatives, and consideration of their individual wants and needs.

A massive 98 per cent also want to see businesses improve their social and environmental standards, the report finds.

Jo Gaines, Salesforce.

Jo Gaines, AVP Salesforce Digital 360, says COVID has dramatically accelerated the digital shift.

“This is putting significant pressure on businesses to deliver compelling and frictionless online experiences via any device or channel, whilst stitching it altogether in real-time.

“If brands are to stand out in a very competitive digital landscape, they must look at how their ethics and values can differentiate them from others. It’s never been more important at a time when consumers seek out and support retailers who prioritise doing well and doing good, not just profitability,” she said.

According to Paul Zahra, CEO of the ARA, shoppers want retailers to “meet them where they are” and are becoming ever more values-driven.

“Retailers have done an incredible job to boost their omni-channel offerings to keep up with the changing needs of consumers and this focus remains top-of-mind.

“Maintaining genuine and personalised connections with customers and keeping customers at the epicentre of retailer’s decision-making is key. The new data and customer knowledge available through digital channels and first-party data acquisition are opening up a new world of personalisation – both in store and online,” he said.

Sydney’s lockdown has forced the shuttering of “non-essential” retailers, with the virus wreaking havoc across distribution centres as well.

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