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CHOICE welcomes Productivity Commission’s draft report into retail

CHOICE welcomes the Productivity Commission’s draft report into the Australian retail industry, saying it supports arguments in the consumer group’s submission to the inquiry.

CHOICE says retailers need to see the online shopping world as consumers do, as an opportunity and not as a threat. With online here to stay, retailers have a real chance to expand their business well beyond their front door as well as providing another way for them to connect with their customers

“Never before have retailers had the tools to communicate so intimately with their customers. Many retailers have already embraced online. The risk for those that don’t is that they will fall behind and possibly become irrelevant,” says CHOICE spokesperson, Ingrid Just.

CHOICE supports the recommendation that the $1000 GST threshold for purchases from overseas sites be kept at its current level. The consumer group says the threshold should not be lowered until its collection is cost-neutral and the process made consumer friendly.

“The evidence shows that people don’t shop from overseas websites just to save 10%. Shoppers are finding savings far beyond that figure,” says Ms. Just

“Australians are also shopping online to access a seemingly unlimited range and variety of products which, for various reasons, are not sold locally. If they are, the price tag is often very high.”

CHOICE says some retailers who have embraced online technology are building relationships with their customers in ways that they haven’t been able to do before.

Some stores are using Facebook and their own websites to let customers have a say in designs before they are produced; some restaurants are using “check-in” functions on social networking sites to give special offers to their customers while they are in-store or close by while other stores are creating online communities that help provide feedback and engagement with their brand.

“More Australians are carrying smart phones, tablets and notebook computers with them everywhere they go, with innovative retailers designing integrated experiences to ensure their products and services are in sync with consumers’ needs and desires,” says Ms. Just.

“Retailers who engage their customers, provide superior service and competitive prices will ultimately be the ones who are most successful.”

CHOICE is keen to see a vibrant and innovative retail industry in Australia and looks forward to engaging with retailers ahead of the Productivity Commission’s final report being released.

Read CHOICE’s submission to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into retail. 

Media contact:
• Ingrid Just: CHOICE, Head of media and Spokesperson: 0430 172 669

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