How to make the shift from bricks and mortar to e-tailing


Australians and the organisations they work for have adapted their working practices and way of life to a new normal throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees continue to work remotely where possible to adhere to social distancing rules, and many people are shopping online. 

According to the 2020 Australia Post eCommerce Industry report, eCommerce experienced 80 per cent year-on-year growth in the eight weeks following the World Health Organisation’s declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic1.  The report also found that more than 200,000 new shoppers entered the online shopping industry in April this year. In addition, the 2020 Pitney Bowes Shipping Index found that Australia is now the 10th largest e-commerce market in terms of sales. In 2019, Australian e-commerce retail sales grew by four per cent year-on-year to reach USD 15.7 billion.2  

To adapt to the new COVID-normal, Australian businesses must invest in technologies to reduce costs and simplify operations; and this extends to the retail and e-tail space.

Moving from bricks and mortar to online retail can be a challenge; however, here are five things to consider when making the transition:

1. Leverage existing store or warehouse locations to source, stock, and fill orders.

Having these closer to customer locations will be paramount to success. Redeploying existing retail staff to fill online orders from stock in closed stores, for example, can reduce strain on distribution centres.

2. Build relationships with multiple suppliers.

This can help ensure you can continue to fill orders and maintain business continuity.

3. Use multiple parcel carriers.

This can mitigate the challenges involved in delivering to restricted destinations, as well as reduce the risk of reliance on one carrier for capacity.

4. Choose reliable, easy-to-use systems.

These will simplify the shipping process and save time, especially when coordinating numerous deliveries. Systems that combine multiple carriers make it quicker and easier to track deliveries from information housed in a central location, rather than checking a long list of different tracking numbers and varied couriers. This also makes it easier to select affordable shipping and delivery solutions. 

5. Focus on the customer experience.

Identify ways it can be improved through increased transparency and openness, and by reporting on stock availability. While customers may accept pandemic-related delays in the short-term, they might be less accepting if shipping delays are downplayed or companies over-promise and under-deliver in the long-term.

While the pandemic has changed the way Australians live and work, it hasn’t changed consumer expectations. As a retailer, you must keep up with customer demand to ensure business continuity. 

Making the shift from physical store locations to e-tailing may not have been the first choice for many companies; however, businesses that are adapting their operations and embracing the change are now facing a more certain future.

To find out how Pitney Bowes can help, contact us today.


2Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index