Online Retail

Interview: Maile Carnegie, MD P&G Australia & New Zealand

Maile Carnegie is the Managing Director of Procter & Gamble Australia & New Zealand.

Maile Carnegie, MD P&G Australia & New Zealand

Maile Carnegie, MD P&G Australia & New Zealand

Maile is a career P&G executive who has lived and worked in Australia, Asia and the USA managing people and brands in over 30 countries. Immediately before taking up her current role as Managing Director of P&G Australia/New Zealand, she was based in Singapore with dual responsibility for leading P&G’s largest developing market beauty business (operations in Asia, Europe, Middle East and Latin America) and General Manager Asia Marketing.

Maile has global industry experience and is currently a director on the board of the Australia Food & Grocery Council (AFGC). She also has a history of supporting children related causes, having spent many years on not-for-profit Boards and as a patron of education programs.

Maile holds a degree in Business Administration in Finance, Economics and Marketing from the University of Technology, Sydney.

We spoke to Maile about her speaker session at CeBIT’s Online Retail conference on Thursday May 24th 2012 “Winning with the Wherever Whenever Shopper – The capabilities required to win in the digital consumer landscape”.
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Attract, Engage & Retain Customers In A Digital World

CeBIT’s Online Retail conference on Thursday May 24th 2012 includes a panel discussion about how to “Attract, Engage & Retain Customers In A Digital World”. Online retailers are at the forefront of reducing friction in the research and purchasing process, thereby improving the customer experience and encouraging further sales in the future.

We spoke to two of the panelists to find out about their online retail experience and where they see the industry heading in the future. Their perspectives at the conference will be valuable because while both are innovators in their fields, they have diverse experiences and their companies are at very different stages of the business life cycle.
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Interview: Paul Greenberg, Executive Chairman, DealsDirect Group

Paul Greenberg is the executive chairman of the DealsDirect Group. He has taken a formative and leadership role in online retail in Australia since its inception. Established in 2004, the DealsDirect Group employs around 200 people and runs the largest ecommerce fulfillment center and ecommerce customer service call center in Australia.

Paul is a registered psychologist with a keen interest in organizational psychology. He was the recent recipient of the prestigious 2011 Industry Recognition Award at the Australian Online Retail Industry Awards.

We spoke with Paul to learn more about his speaker session “Embracing social commerce to engage with your customers and participate in the conversation” at CeBIT Australia’s Online Retail Conference on 24th May 2012.
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Marketing Mix: Prioritising Social Media Platforms

The popularity of social media is causing huge changes to how businesses communicate with their customers, spread marketing messages and build communities.

One thing is clear. During our interviews with leading innovative Australian business people the message we got from them was that you have to decide how many social media platforms your organization will communicate with customers on.

Paul Greenberg, Executive Chairman of the DealsDirect Group told us that:

“Multi channel retail is about allowing the customer to have multiple touch points. Nimbleness and agility are required because with capitalism the customer is in control. You can’t tell customers you can contact us via Email but not Telephone, Facebook but not Twitter.”

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Interview: John Winning, Appliances Online

John Winning is one of Australia’s youngest CEOs. He is the founder and CEO of Appliances Online, a multi-million dollar online retailer he started in 2005. This business is a market leader and was one of the first e-commerce sites to sell large items – such as a fridge – to Australians.

Appliances Online

Appliances Online

Today, Appliances Online distributes via its own networks nationally and has grown to employ more than 100 staff (growing at a rate of 300% in 2011 over 2010).

Appliances Online is Australia’s largest online retailer of appliances, delivering to 98% of the population and stocking more brands than any other online appliance retailer. Between 2005 and 2011 more than 170,000 unique customers have purchased from the company.

John has successfully embraced e-commerce, web marketing, analytics and distribution, and believes the mentality of ‘impressing every customer’ is integral when running a successful business in an online – or offline – environment.

Learn more from John Winning when he speaks about “Applying old fashioned customer service to your online retail transaction” at CeBIT Australia’s Online Retail Conference on 24th May 2012.

We spoke with John Winning and learnt that his family’s business Winning Appliances was founded in 1906 and made a name by providing exceptional customer service for the lifetime of products sold by it. John was keen to emphasise that this is is the key difference which “separates us from competitors and generates lots of referral business”.

He continued, telling the origin story of Appliances Online: “I began working in the warehouse and saw an unmet need by people who wanted a replacement for a brand they knew and liked already. In 2005 when I was 21 years old, my father gave me a $50,000 loan and 3 months to prove the idea of Appliances Online”. john made CEO of Winning Appliances at the end of 2011.

“Before that day few Australians bought high value items online. Our customer support centre is open 16 hours a day from 7am-11pm, with free delivery to metro australia. We aim to respond to a customer query in 11 seconds”.

Social media is very important for Appliances Online. John said that it is a great way to engage with customers in real time to show that feedback is taken very seriously. Negative feedback issues are addressed quickly and seen as a way to improve the business longer term.

John went on to explain how Appliances Online competes in the competitive online realm.

“With a new competitor opening every week, our point of difference is customer service and end to end control from order to logistics and delivery. Appliances Online is priced competitively yet our pricing is based on our customer service values and that we have products in stock, ready to be delivered the next day. Many other companies with cut throat pricing models can’t compete with this combination of advantages we have.”

End to end control over the sales process and fulfillment is achieved by us keeping millions of dollars of stock at any one time across our Australian distribution centres in order to provide customers with next day delivery. We employ our own truck drivers as part of our everything in house approach so we don’t have to rely on 3rd parties who have different business and customer service values to us.

In the future John sees his company having a foot in online and offline retail. He said that while “we hear about the demise of offline retailers Winning Appliances stores are doing well, employing more people and opening in more locations. It’s a successful business model because we think of the customer first”.

Learn more from John Winning when he speaks about “Applying old fashioned customer service to your online retail transaction” at CeBIT Australia’s Online Retail Conference on 24th May 2012.

2012 Australian Online Consumer Landscape

CeBIT - Connected Worlds

CeBIT - Connected Worlds

Nielsen’s recent report has some good insights into the Australian Online Consumer Landscape.

Internet usage in Australia is widespread, with 90% penetration (5th best in the world) and 81% of the population 16 years and above classified as active online users.

The internet offers consumers countless choices of things to do, using a range of mobile devices with different types of screens.

Marketers have to navigate this fragmented content delivery ecosystem with a clear path in mind to be able to engage with consumers successfully.

Learn more about the Australian and International mobile industry at CeBIT Australia’s Mobile 2012 Conference on 24 May 2012.

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Interview: David Shafer, Kogan

David Shafer is the Executive Director of Kogan, an online retailer of consumer electronics that is one of Australia’s fastest growing companies, set to record $150m+ in sales in 2011-2012.

Kogan website

Kogan website

Kogan has sold over 550,000 products directly to Australian and international customers through its websites since Ruslan Kogan launched it in his parent’s garage in November 2006, with no zero external funding or capital.

Ruslan Kogan says he believes technology can make the world a better place, and their goal is to make the latest technology more affordable for everyone.

Kogan regularly talk with their customers through the Kogan blog, Facebook, and Twitter, and manufacture products based on these conversations.

Learn more from David Shafer when he speaks about “Helping customers help themselves” at CeBIT Australia’s Online Retail Conference on 24th May 2012.

At the conference David Shafer will be explaining how to tap into “the power of infinity” to maximise business efficiency, create a scalable business and lower costs of products for customers.

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Amazon Increases Fulfillment Centre Automation

Logistics and materials handling are key parts of all online retail businesses. In announcing Amazon.com’s acquisition of Kiva Systems Inc, a leading innovator of material handling technology, Dave Clark, Amazon.com’s vice president of global customer fulfillment commented that:

“Amazon has long used automation in its fulfillment centers, and Kiva’s technology is another way to improve productivity by bringing the products directly to employees to pick, pack and stow. Kiva shares our passion for invention, and we look forward to supporting their continued growth.”

“For the past ten years, the Kiva team has been focused on creating innovative material handling technologies,” said Mick Mountz, CEO and founder of Kiva Systems. “I’m delighted that Amazon is supporting our growth so that we can provide even more valuable solutions in the coming years.”

Under the terms of the agreement, which has been approved by Kiva’s stockholders, Amazon will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Kiva for approximately $775 million in cash, as adjusted for the assumption of options and other items. Subject to various closing conditions, the acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2012.

Learn from founder of The Nile Jethro Marks when he speaks about Increasing supply chain efficiency to be more competitive at CeBIT Australia’s Online Retail Conference on 24th May 2012.

Prepare For E-Business Risks and Opportunities

For the last year the Australian Dollar ($AUD) has been very strong against the US Dollar ($US) which has had a significant impact on the Australian retail sector.

$AUD vs $USD - Yahoo7 Finance

$AUD vs $USD - Yahoo7 Finance

This currency strength means it is cheaper for Australian businesses to buy goods overseas and import them into Australia for sale here.

Many existing and new Australian online retailers have taken advantage of this possibility such as Catch of The Day which is “Australia’s no.1 e-commerce group” and disruptive innovator consumer electronics e-tailer Kogan, listed in the BRW Fast 100 for 2011.
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Interview: Jethro Marks, The Nile and Mercury Retail

Jethro Marks is the co-founder and co-CEO of TheNile.com.au, one of the Australia and New Zealand’s leading online Book, DVD and CD retailers.

The Nile

The Nile

Founded eight years ago with offices in Sydney and Auckland, the figures for TheNile.com.au are impressive: over 1 million books sold to over 700,000 customers and growth from 50-100% per annum over the last 4 years.
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