Almost half of Australian shoppers now use online search and websites to discover new brands, and one in ten do so through social media, according to a new report by Shopify.
Online shopping habits have changed a lot in the last few years, with the acceleration caused by the Covid-19 crisis shifting the way consumers view the channel. In Shopify’s ‘This is a store’ survey, 83 per cent of all shoppers said it is crucial that a brand now have an online presence, while 7 per cent said it only mattered if that presence is better than the in-store experience.
Despite the changes, however, the vast majority of Australians still think of the act of shopping as going into a physical store: 77 per cent, in fact. Older Aussies are three times as likely to have this view when compared to younger generations.
“Australians haven’t yet broadened their view of what a store is,” said Shopify’s managing director of APAC Shaun Broughton.
“A store is Instagram, a store is Pinterest, a store is online and a physical space. The research proves that Australians shop on all these mediums, but they still perceive a store as bricks-and-mortar.”
And while this is likely to shift with time, brands can do more to push online as a viable alternative by addressing customers fears around the platform.
Eighteen per cent of survey respondents said they were afraid or unsure around product quality, being unable to see it in person before buying, while another 16 per cent said bad reviews stopped them from buying a product online. A lack of competitive pricing (14 per cent), shipping costs, inconvenience, and a perceived lack of security (12 per cent) also hindered online spend.
“Brands need to emulate a physical store experience as much as possible online, to give reassurance to those unsure about online shopping,” said Broughton.
“This means reimagining the shopping experience and adopting omnichannel approaches, to ensure customers get the same certainty and convenience as they would in-store no matter where or how they choose to shop.