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DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Retail Revolution as Digital Transformation Brought Forward by a Decade: ARA CEO, Paul Zahra

By Dan Petrie


As one of the few countries in the world where the local economy has largely been able to carry on despite a virtual shutdown in international and domestic travel, Australia's retailers have evolved in the space of six months what would normally take 10 years.

Whilst the Federal Government’s JobKeeper has assisted businesses staying open, it those businesses with a strong e-commerce presence, or those that have pivoted, who are benefitting within the local economy. 

Australian Retailers Association CEO, Paul Zahra in an interview with Ausbiz said the COVID pandemic had forced small to medium sized enterprises to adjust quickly. 

"We think (through the pandemic) we've brought forward a decade's worth of digital transformation."

When asked about the upcoming Christmas period, the Australian Retailers Association CEO said this period is the big event and the need for an e-commerce strategy is critical. 

"In today's modern world you need to be a multichannel retailer and be available where customers can shop."

Zip Co who announced a deal with Visa to basically make everyday purchases such as coffee or the groceries purchases part of its ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ effectively part of a play that will only add more pressure to banks offering credit cards with the popularity of debit cards. The former is going the way of the video store and being replaced by BNPL. 

Interestingly Afterpay also announced a deal with Westpac, which according to the Financial Review allows “the buy now, pay later juggernaut to offer deposits to its 3 million-plus Australian customers using Westpac’s banking as a service platform.”

Zip CEO, Larry Diamond in a separate interview with aubiz provided a fascinating insight when he said that while BNPL have had great success on the online space, physical retail had been more challenging.

"When we surveyed our customers it was for a number of reasons, with number one being the payment experience.

"Australians love to tap (tap and go). Barcode and QR code just haven't come second nature to our customers."

Brisbane West Chamber of Commerce has provided valuable insights into making small businesses nimbler and more flexible. 

Microsoft 365 in terms of making the business mobile, Adobe’s suite of desktop tools for marketing and installing square as payments platform to get online provide a small business the ability to pivot with minimal cost and effort. 

If you need any assistance going digital with your business check in with briswestchamber.org.au

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