Despite bricks and mortar retail coming back into vogue of late and the launch of major overseas fashion labels into the local landscape a new survey of Aussie retail says most brands are so crap at it they’re best shutting their doors and going fully online. And the main concern – bad staff.
That’s the findings of the BE Brands Australian Retail Survey that found seven in 10 Aussie retailers fail in a basic test of brandings.
The survey looked at 265 brands that operate locally and only four of those scored a perfect 100. They included Apple, The Body Shop, Lush and Nespresso.
Fifteen brands managed excellent scores and included: Levi’s 97, Aesop 90, Camilla 90, Lorna Jane 88, Kikki K 87, Nixon 85, Bailey Nelson 85, Suga 85, Build A Bear 85, Ben Sherman 83, Mozi 81, Gorman 78, Merchant 76, R.M.Williams 75, Skin and Thread 75.
However, a further 70 stores scored a fail.
The ratings were done via secret shoppers who visited selected outlets in Victoria and NSW. Each were marked on one of six criteria from the opening welcome, approach in the first five minutes, staff’s ability to articulate the brand, store’s look and feel and the store’s digital offerings.
BE Brands CEO Simon Hammond said the survey highlighted the “woeful state of bricks and mortar retailing” in Australia.
“Retailers are wasting their money and unless there is a serious rethink of customer service, our retail industry will be decimated by overseas brands and online retail,” Hammond said.
Other findings included:
- More than 70 per cent of all businesses failed the retail brand test.
- More than 30 per cent failed to approach a customer within five minutes.
- Sixty per cent failed in the category of staff commitment.
- Fewer than 10 per cent were rated as good retail brands.
- The super global brands that have recently flooded into Australian retail failed the test.
- Some of the world’s best super premium brands failed.
Hammond said brands were simply wasting good money if their retail experience was poor, particularly when considering things like the high cost of rents and salaries.
He also believed the stat that showed one in three stores didn’t even manage to approach a customer in the first five minutes was particularly telling. “That’s a long time to be ignored when sales staff are not busy and a consumer is clearly there to shop,” Hammond said. He also added that stores were visited during non-peak times.
“It’s the basic premise of bricks and mortar retail; say hello, look happy to see a customer and ask if they need assistance. And one in three shops couldn’t do it.
“It’s a sad indictment on Australian retail when 60 per cent of all businesses surveyed get zero for staff commitment while fewer than 10 per cent are deemed to be good brands.
“Given the cost of rent and salaries, retailers should save their money and close up shop if they won’t even train their staff to greet customers or show some commitment to their business. With this sort of service, customers might as well shop online.
“Retail is theatre and staff should be the players, offering an experience above and beyond what a brand offers online. Bricks and mortar stores are expensive so why bother if you’re not going to create an emotive experience?” he said.