Online shopping

Online shopping a $56 billion lure for businesses

Amazon is betting that Western consumers will embrace live streaming at the same rate as China, where sales via live streams are expected to reach more than $500 billion this year.

Reckitt Hygiene’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand, Oliver Tatlow, said while the consumer goods maker sees live streaming emerging on social platforms to reach customers, the real growth remains online. where the company saw its online sales more than double. since the advent of COVID.

Oliver Tatlow, Reckitt Hygiene Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand.

“Online will be the biggest sales channel in Australia and New Zealand over the next five years,” Tatlow said.

For Reckitt Hygiene, which sells brands like Glen-20, Finish and Mortein in Australia, the rise in online sales heralded a huge change in the way the company organizes its business.

Tatlow says it’s something “we have to do it right because if you don’t do it right; you will have problems in the future because selling online will define the future of all businesses”.

While the majority of Reckitt Hygiene’s sales are through large retailers such as Coles and Woolworths and, to a lesser extent, Amazon, Tatlow says online retail has completely redefined the way the company caters to consumers. consumers.

In the past it was more about shelf space in a supermarket and traditional advertising markets such as television, whereas today it is about ensuring that consumers can interact with a product in several ways.

Additionally, with consumers confusing the way they shop between online and in-store, Tatlow says companies need to be consistent in how they engage customers at all levels as part of a retail experience. omnichannel retail.

He says brands need to engage with customers across multiple content channels because consumers have completely changed the way they interact with a product.

For example, in a large brick-and-mortar supermarket, brands can run in-store promotions to engage customers by increasing the amount of valuable floor space they can access at the end of an aisle, for example, so it’s entirely different online. .

“Consumers have a lot more power and information online. Most people shop on their mobile where your product should ideally be placed in the first five tiles of a category, so people don’t have to scroll too far.

“Also, it’s not just about being in the top five to ten tiles, it’s also about having quality content and images. It’s a huge downside if you don’t have that great content like reviews and other additional data points because consumers are more knowledgeable.

“Online gives you so many more opportunities to talk to your customers, which requires additional complexity and resources when it comes to promoting your brand,” says Tatlow.

Reckitt Hygiene has doubled the size of its e-commerce team in recent years and has now changed its entire business structure with the e-commerce team reporting directly to Tatlow.

“Getting it right is hugely important because customers not only want companies to do the right thing in terms of sustainability and the environment, but also to be well prepared for the digital future.”

Tatlow says it’s also a human resources story, because ensuring your digital strategy is on track means businesses can attract the right talent too.

“And if you’re starting a career today and you don’t get experience in the digital space, there’s no way you’re going to be in senior management in the future. It is an essential skill.

And given how quickly online retail is growing and in five years it will likely be the biggest category, Tatlow says every brand is now “in a race to get it right”.