As another year comes to an end, 2015 has not been an eventful one for small business. Most would say this is a good thing. Sales continue to strengthen, and the lower dollar value is good for retailers, though it is not so good for consumers who want to buy online. This means that they will buy from bricks and mortar stores. Unemployment is at a nineteen-month low, and the business index is looking strong. Our interest rates and petrol prices are low, meaning there is more money for consumers to spend.
Retailers have seen strong Christmas trading and record breaking boxing day sales which has a flow on effect to all business. Employees feel they have security in their industry and workplace, and they feel they can spend more freely.
Foreign brands have continued to expand throughout Australia, which has caused local brands to become more competitive and to invest in their marketing strategy. Even though retailers worry that online sales will take away from bricks and mortar, those sales are only approximately 15.2% of the market. More importantly, many consumers will do their homework using their smartphone or tablet before they even enter the store. However, the online shopfront must be easy to navigate, have great web presence, and have the best design and functionality. If not businesses can lose the consumer quickly.
Most importantly, this is the time to give the consumer that special customer experience since they are time poor and energetically drained with the year finishing up. Because this time can be so stressful for many consumers, the front line staff needs to give your clients an experience they won’t forget.
Wishing you all a Happy New year and a prosperous selling period. My offices will be closed from 18th December, and I will return 1st February 2016. I look forward to seeing you in 2016.