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Online retailers to boost budget in 2021 following strong year: Research

New research reveals that two-thirds of Australian online retailers are increasing their e-commerce budget this year to drive their business further in the wake of a successful 2020 for them despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

The findings, that come from an independent survey of 145 Australian e-tailers commissioned by parcel delivery service CouriersPlease (CP), show that 66 per cent of online retailers will allot more resources and money into enhancing, growing and maintaining their online function this year.

Among this group, 44 per cent will increase their e-commerce budget by more than 20 per cent, and 18 per cent will up their spending by more than 40 per cent.

CP also looked at the performance of online retailers last year, before the October to December peak retail period, and found that 63 per cent had an increase in sales between 23 March (when social restrictions were enforced) and 4 September 2020.

Almost a third (31 per cent) of online retailers saw an increase of up to 30 per cent, while 21 per cent experienced an increase of more than 50 per cent. However, 22 per cent said their online sales were the same as before the shutdowns.

The research also found that 32 per cent of online retailers did not make changes to increase their sales, which points to an organic increase in sales.

Among those that did make changes, 49 per cent increased their sales and promotions, 45 per cent boosted their social media activity, 35 per cent improved their e-commerce sites, 31 per cent communicated more with customers, 30 per cent incentivised customers, and 21 per cent spent more on advertising.

“Consumers are becoming more comfortable shopping online and the retail sector is continuing to grow,” Paul Roper, Chief Commercial Officer at CP, said.

“As such, online competition will grow alongside customer expectations, and retailers are best to refine their e-commerce strategies ongoing to ensure they are performing.

“I believe key areas for improvement within online strategies are the customer experience, from product search on the site right through to the last mile delivery,” Roper added.

“As part of this, retailers could also review and enhance their returns process, which includes choosing a delivery partner that aligns with their 2021 goals.”

This story originally appeared on Inside Small Business.

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