‘Tis the retail season: How to engage Aussies when they’re ready to shop

Renee Gamble / November 2020

Aussies’ evolving digital habits mean they’ll be browsing and buying online even more this holiday season. Google Australia and New Zealand’s industry director of retail, Renee Gamble, shares how you can connect with festive shoppers in the right ways by responding to emerging consumer trends.

The weather’s starting to warm up in Australia — a telltale sign that the holidays are right around the corner. Consumers typically spend big during end-of-year retail events, and many of them find shopping inspiration and guidance online.

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While Aussies are no strangers to browsing and buying online, e-commerce has picked up pace this year as more people want to shop safely from home. For many consumers, 2020 was the first time they tried online shopping.1

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Although restrictions are easing, online shopping is still on the rise. Here’s a closer look at how Aussies’ digital behaviours have evolved and what these habits mean for your end-of-year campaigns.

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Shoppers are more curious and inquisitive

Whether they’re assembling critical information on Search or finding virtual communities on YouTube, Aussies have been exploring all corners of the web to cope and adapt. There’s a ton of shopping inspiration online — from “get ready with me” videos to “best of” roundups — so more people have been discovering brands and trying out new products.

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Consumers were already starting to spend more time researching holiday gifts in 2019 — and considering their increased willingness to branch out, festive shoppers are likely to dive even deeper into comparison shopping this year.2

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Aussies’ priorities and expectations have shifted

So, why are people spending more and more time weighing their options? Research shows that consumers prioritise finding something that’s the right fit for their unique needs. And because they have countless options at their fingertips, they can get caught in a seemingly endless loop of research.

What consumers find most important has changed throughout the year. The majority of Aussies say that COVID-19 has impacted their personal finances,3 so many people will be holiday shopping with tighter wallets. Consumers are also paying more attention to where their products come from.4 These trends are fuelling three emerging consumer traits to keep an eye on:

Characteristics of Aussie holiday shoppers

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Consumers choose brands that show up fast and early

Aussies are spending more time exploring and evaluating their options in “The Messy Middle” — the space between awareness and purchase. With so many retailers vying for people’s attention, connecting with consumers as soon as they start their research is critical to earning consideration.

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Even when consumers plan to make their final purchase at a brick-and-mortar store, they still go online to check everything from product availability to store hours. Regardless of whether retailers are omnichannel or exclusively online, maintaining a strong digital presence will go a long way.

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Aussies hop across platforms so much in “The Messy Middle” that it’s challenging to figure out when and where to show up. Many marketers focus only on media they believe is closer to the purchase, but this can lead to missed opportunities. Leading brands are already using automation to connect more with Aussies, and you can do the same by embracing machine learning.

How you can help Aussies make the most of the retail season

Social distancing and lockdowns have made us miss our loved ones. That’s why consumers feel like Christmas will be “even more special.”5 And although Aussies are now more budget-conscious, they’re still excited to shop as they head into the festive season.

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To reach Aussies as they celebrate, consider these steps as you plan your end-of-year campaigns:

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Keep up-to-date with what consumers want: Tools such as Google Trends and Rising Retail Categories can help you gauge what people are searching for in near real-time so you can quickly shift your messaging and promotions.

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Be present across channels: Each channel you add to your campaign can improve return on investment and effectiveness by up to 35%. Aussie retailers can now list products on the Google Shopping tab for free, so you can switch up your media mix without increasing your budget.

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Fuel your campaigns with data: Surfacing insights from Google Merchant Center and understanding how people interact with your website with Google Analytics can help you hone in on the products and services your consumers love most.

By getting a head start on your end-of-year campaigns, you’ll be able to help Aussies spread holiday joy and build meaningful relationships with consumers that’ll go beyond the festivities.

Decoding how consumers make purchase decisions