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Retailers Bank On Online Shopping To Survive Melbourne Lockdown

Large and small retailers alike are banking on online shopping to help weather the financial impact of Victoria’s stage four lockdown, as in-store outlets shutter their doors and customers retreat indoors.

Commentators assert the coronavirus pandemic has made its essential retailers strengthen their online and delivery fulfilment initiatives, with those who have waited too long to deploy an omni-channel approach most likely to suffer.

The surge in online shopping from home-bound consumers has reportedly seen a spike in sales for some CE retailers and pro-audio distributors. Qualifi Chief Executive, Michael Henriksen, states the business has received three record months, and is sitting on over $4 million worth of back orders.

According to the Victorian Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) website, consumers can still make online shopping orders, but must maintain a distance of 1.5 metres when accepting package deliveries.

“Home delivery is permitted,” reads the DHHS website.

“Try use contactless payment or pre-pay online if possible.”

Consumers who live in apartment complexes are encouraged to pick up deliveries from the front of buildings to minimise exposure to high-risk residents.

Retail conglomerate, Wesfarmers, has advised it’s shutting all its stores in Melbourne for the six-week lockdown, and will continue online fulfilment via home delivery and contactless click-and-collect.

“While government restrictions allow for the COVID safe operation of distribution centres and other supply chain operations, the Group’s retail businesses are working with suppliers and the Victorian Government to assess the impact of the restrictions on supply chain operations as well as timely fulfilment of online orders,” said Wesfarmers in a statement.

Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, asserts retailers must enforce strict safety protocols for ‘click and collect’ and delivery services.



Consumers are able to retrieve online shopping from the post office or other collection points, however, encouraged to not travel “further than you need to – or spend more time than you need to.”

“Victorians must use common sense and consideration when it comes to their activities and stay close to home when they can. Lives are counting on it,” reads the DHHS website.

Andrews admits that the economic impact of coronavirus imposed restrictions will take “years to recover from.”

The news comes as retailers such as Kogan.com and JB Hi-Fi continue to fare strong sales prompt by online sales spikes, with both investing further into digital capabilities and delivery logistics.

Online sales jumped 18.3% year-on-year to $170.8 million for HY20 at JB Hi-Fi, and the retailer continues to evolve its online offer.

Kmart issued a lengthy apology letter to customers for extended shipping wait times from online orders at the beginning of coronavirus lockdown restrictions earlier this year.


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