Retail Brand Survey

Retail brand survey exposes the
woeful state of Australian retailing

More than half of Australian retail brands should close their physical retail stores and sell exclusively online, the new BE Brands Australian Retail Survey concludes. The retail brand author and global brand commentator Simon Hammond says seven in 10 Australian retail brands fail in a basic test of branding. Hammond’s firm, BE Brands, conducted a survey of 265 retailers over the past six months using a six-part criteria that exposed what he calls ‘the woeful state of ‘bricks and mortar’ retailing’ and a lack of respect for Australian consumers at most retailers.

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“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,” says Hammond. A staggering 30% of businesses didn’t even manage to approach a customer within five minutes of a customer entering the store. “That’s a long time to be ignored when sales staff are not busy and a consumer is clearly there to shop,” Hammond says. “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% of all businesses surveyed get zero for staff commitment while fewer than 10% are deemed to be good brands,” says Hammond. “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?

“Only 19 out of the 263 stores on the survey – that’s one in 14 – managed what I would call a good brand score.” Just four brands, Apple, Lush, Nespresso and The Body Shop, managed perfect scores over the six-month period of the survey, indicating the reason behind their supremacy in Australian retail. A further 15 brands managed excellent scores: 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. The survey, the first of its kind in Australia, involved secret shoppers spending hundreds of hours of secret visiting stores and attempting to engage with staff.  Within the survey criteria, the best performing brands were able to present why the business exists, not just what it sells.