Part of living and doing business in Australia is accepting that technologies, products, and ideas have a delay before it reaches our golden shores. It wasn’t too long ago that someone had to physically bring a new music single to Australia on a plane, or a new clothing trend was delayed because shipping from the US or Europe just wasn’t cost effective. For the most past, these days have passed – television shows are aired in near real-time, I can download a song from iTunes right after the album release, and now I can shop at US retailers like H&M right down in the CBD.
The Australian retail industry has fallen victim to these assumptions as well, but this doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Made clear in an industry round table in NYC last week, Australian and US retailers are both struggling to understand their customers in 2014. Moving to digital or not, how open should you be on social media, how to deliver a customer-centric brand across channels, and other top mind concerns haven’t been resolved yet – even in the most mature retailing countries.
Retailers strive to bridge the gap between their business model and delivering value to the most important person in the company – their customer. These problems have yet to be resolved, but as technology develops and retailers find easier ways of understanding their markets, it’s likely we’ll see the US and Australian retailers moving closer together, using similar technologies to satisfy their customers – of course with a bigger price tag Down Under.