Online retailers in Australia are taking the world by storm, one industry expert has claimed, making it vital that businesses train for the internet shopping boom.
Paul Greenberg, chief executive officer of the National Online Retail Association, said a new generation of online shops are innovating technology and work practices.
“Online retail, or what I increasingly refer to as the ‘new retail’ (it so much more than online), is perfectly suited to Australia and should represent a golden era for Australian retail,” he told the Financial Review.
“We are in an incredible position, with a technology-led retail era upon us, a strong consumer direct footprint and a deeply customer-centric, increasingly global model.”
However, he admitted current training lags behind what the industry of the future needs, adding “you can drive a bus through” this divide.
Mr Greenberg urged for the retail sector to consider the skills required from upcoming youthful talent, including software development, data mining and analytics, mobile applications, SEO and much more.
Existing curriculums are not keeping pace with these changes, he said, although the reasons for why retailers are falling behind customer expectations remain complex.
Recent statistics from Frost & Sullivan showed the Australian online shopping market continues to surge this year, with expectations of spending reaching $18.3 billion.
This amounts to around $1,750 being spent per person each year in 2013.
By 2017, the organisation believes online retailers will comprise ten per cent of all transactions in Australia.
“Of course, the customer centricity and data granularity of the new retail requires greater precision around the traditional but crucial retail skills of merchandise planning, buying and customer service,” Mr Greenberg stated.
He said a forward-facing curriculum must underpin the Australian retail resurgence, with a special focus on the specific realities of the changing landscape.