Enhancing the Shopper Experience in Australia

Recent evolution in the Australian retail sector has caused a strategic shift from price discounting to an enhanced shopper experience, giving shoppers more reasons to visit, dwell, and spend money. Our local market seems headed in the same direction as the more sophisticated retail markets found in other countries.

Australia’s largest supermarket group, Woolworths, has recently launched a specialist beauty bar in its well-known Sydney Town Hall store, offering beauty treatments, make overs, skin consultations, and manicures. The store stocks a range of premium, professional-quality hair and beauty brands such as Bliss, Essie, and Model Co. that were previously only sold through speciality stores.

Jaid Hulsbosch, Director of Hulsbosch Communication By Design, the company that designed the beauty bar, commented “This is a strategic departure from the grocery sector’s more traditional model of hair and beauty, to one that respects not only Woolworths as a brand—its values, personality, and proposition—but the consumer experience.” In addition to the beauty bar, in late 2012, the retailer launched in-store sushi bars offering fresh orders made by expert chefs.

In a similar bid to give shoppers more reasons to visit, recent changes to Coles stores now include a delicatessen, butcher, and an extended fresh produce section with fruit and vegetables on ice for maximum freshness. With a cheese shop carrying a range of gourmet cheeses and a mini newsagent that stocks all the latest books, magazines, and new-release DVDs, there is something for everyone. In key stores, the retailer now offers iPads, allowing shoppers to browse specials and recipes developed by chef and brand ambassador, Curtis Stone. And when you’re done shopping, the in-house barista is on hand, making coffee in the new in-store patisserie.

In the United Kingdom, over half of the 600 Marks & Spencer stores contain in-store cafes. These cafes are extremely valuable to the overall success of the business, driving footfall and attracting loyal customers. In fact, the 15% of M&S customers who use the cafe frequently account for 50% of overall M&S store sales, spending three times more than non-users.

This new direction is seemingly a win-win situation for shoppers and retailers alike. In retailers’ bids to win loyalty and preference, shoppers get a better experience, and the retailers win the hearts and wallets of their shoppers. With an enhanced shopping experience as the new focus, we might finally see unique retail experiences at the two dominant Australian supermarket chains.

Contributed by Integer Australia

Photo Source: Retail Biz