HAMILTON’S retail sector is undergoing profound changes due to online competition, according to Southern Grampians tourism manager, Hugh Koch.
“The internet provides a high level of choice; when the Australian dollar is relatively high and imports are relatively cheap, buying online from overseas is very price competitive,” Mr Koch said.
Council is also embracing online shopping in its retail strategy, which encourages existing traders to explore internet trading by funding training and encouraging new internet traders to invest in activity centres.
Mr Koch said online trading mixed with exceptional customer service would keep people coming into local shops.
“Those retailers who have a strong online retail strategy, an attractive and well laid out retail store and excellent customer and after sales service will remain strong viable businesses,” Mr Koch said.
But the key factor to most shoppers often came down to price which was a major, if not dominant, concern of most shoppers.
“Most also value their time and so travel costs of the shopping trip are also taken into account in the overall price analysis,” he said.
“Convenience is also a factor in the growth of internet sales, as people can shop from home at a time of their choosing.”
While there are no reliable statistics about how much is sold via the internet, recent estimates from the Productivity Commission indicate internet sales account for around six per cent of total non-food sales and around one per cent of food and grocery sales.