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How retailers in Australia can learn from Shein and Temu


Despite the financial struggles brought on by a cost of living crisis, online shopping in Australia is still booming.

According to Australia Post’s ecommerce report, 9.5 million households purchased a total of $63.6 billion last year, and part of this ecommerce frenzy can be attributed to the emerging retailers in this space, Shein and Temu.   

Around 1.2 million Australians shop with Temu each month, and 770,000 with Shein. Local Australian businesses are undoubtedly feeling the impact of Shein and Temu’s surging popularity, finding it challenging to compete on pricing or replicate their assertive marketing tactics.

While for the majority of local retailers mirroring Shein and Temu’s market reach is impossible, the industry can still learn valuable lessons from the way they operate. 

Think of commerce as a form of entertainment

Temu has effectively woven gamification into its retail strategy, upping its game on customer interaction and commitment. By combining interactive and enjoyable elements in the shopping journey, Temu creates a captivating experience for users, extending their engagement and encouraging repeat purchases. Introducing time-limited deals, surprise sales, and rewards for completing tasks creates excitement and urgency, leading to impulse buys and increased sales.

Retailers can draw inspiration from Temu’s use of gamification, which helps them collect important data on customer preferences and behaviours. This not only allows for personalised recommendations and targeted marketing but also improves the overall shopping experience for consumers.

Take digital marketing and social media to the next level

It is common knowledge for brands to maximise the power of digital marketing and social media. However, Shein and Temu are both stepping up in this space, harnessing the power of digital marketing and social media to their fullest extent. Leveraging platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, they effectively target their audience. By partnering with the right influencers, promoting user-generated content, and deploying targeted advertisements, these brands not only boost their visibility but also foster customer engagement and drive sales. 

For Australian retailers aspiring to replicate such success, the focus should be on crafting a tailored online marketing approach. Through sustained interaction with followers and strategic collaborations with influencers, brands can elevate their online visibility, potentially translating into increased sales and revenue. Utilising platforms like SHOPLINE, retailers can seamlessly integrate their online stores with social media accounts, thus augmenting their social media marketing and sales efforts. 

Cultivate a community-focused approach

Shein and Temu do not only use their platforms for selling but also for content and feedback-sharing amongst their customers. They capitalise on customer loyalty by fostering a community of buyers who not only make purchases but also engage in brand-related activities online. Their commitment to fostering vibrant communities is evident in how they encourage user-generated content, encourage and incentivise customer reviews, and provide dedicated forums for community interaction. This approach creates a strong sense of belonging and camaraderie among their customer base. 

To replicate this success, Australian retailers should prioritise building communities around their brands. This means actively engaging with customers across various channels like social media, email newsletters, and online forums. Proactively addressing enquiries and rewarding customer feedback shows a commitment to customer satisfaction. Additionally, facilitating connections among customers through virtual events or peer-to-peer discussions, can further solidify brand loyalty and foster a sense of community. Embracing a community-focused approach enables Australian retailers to forge deeper connections with their customers and cultivate brand advocates who will champion their products and values.

Harness the power of data analytics and personalisation 

Shein and Temu are experts at utilising data analytics and personalisation methods to craft tailored shopping experiences for each customer. By analysing customer behaviour, preferences, and past purchases, these brands can provide highly relevant product recommendations, personalised promotions, and customised content, leading to increased engagement and sales conversions. 

All retailers should prioritise investing in these capabilities. Today, commerce platforms offer comprehensive ecommerce analytics, enabling retailers to gain insights into customer behaviour, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions to optimise their online stores. By harnessing these tools effectively, retailers can gain a deeper understanding of their target audience, refine their marketing strategies, and deliver personalised experiences that resonate with customers, ultimately driving sales and fostering lasting loyalty.

Embrace sustainable fast fashion trends

Shein and Temu owe much of their success to their adept handling of fast fashion trends. They excel at swiftly identifying emerging styles, producing affordable yet fashionable items, and quickly bringing them to market. Australian retailers can follow suit by staying attuned to consumer preferences, utilising data analytics to track trends, and optimising supply chains for swift responses to market demands. 

Despite the perceived conflict between fast fashion and sustainability, Australian brands can align their practices with eco-friendly principles without compromising on meeting consumer demands. Adopting sustainable materials and implementing ethical manufacturing practices, such as collaborating with manufacturers committed to fair labour standards and safe working conditions, are crucial steps. Minimising waste through practices that reduce fabric wastage during production and repurpose leftover materials for upcycling or recycling is imperative. 

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, it’s important for Aussie retailers to take note of how and where the big ecommerce providers are having success.  Shein and Temu have definitely reshaped the retail scene, not just in Australia but also globally, with their inventive tactics and customer-focused mindset. By drawing inspiration from these industry frontrunners – and treating their presence as an opportunity, not a challenge – Australian retailers can set themselves up for success in the constantly evolving retail environment.

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