Buying online should be uncomplicated, quick and cheap. This means that domestic entrepreneurs are in direct competition with US giants
First of all: the argument that you cannot buy anything from the retailer you trust because their shop remains closed in lockdown no longer applies. At least in most cases. Florists are now selling their Advent wreaths online, booksellers are delivering reading material, and even breweries are delivering beer to your doorstep. There are now an estimated 15,000 web shops run by Austrian companies, plus more and more red, white and red sales platforms – such as Shöpping or kauftregional.at (see below)
wish and reality
In theory, shopping at domestic online retailers is easier than ever before. Practically every second euro that Austrians spend online still goes abroad. The surveys in which consumers assert that they pay attention to regionality when shopping do nothing to change this. So that added value and jobs remain in their own country.
In the end, you have to leave the church in the village, as trade chairman Rainer Trefelik draws an interim conclusion: “The online initiatives are numerous, the volumes low. The loss of sales in brick-and-mortar stores cannot be compensated for online. ”For several reasons.
First, simply because of the size difference. Austria's retail trade has a turnover of 68 billion euros a year, the online retailers totaled 3.6 billion euros. Of these, the US giant Amazon wins the most with almost 850 million. Because even if surveys tend to say otherwise, in the end consumers often buy where it is quickest, most straightforward and cheapest.
And finally with international platforms. “Over the years Amazon has invested billions in its processes, services and logistics. The group could afford that because it pays almost no taxes, ”says Trefelik. As a small retailer, you can't play in this league.
Trefelik gives you a look behind the scenes of his fashion store Popp & Kretschmer in downtown Vienna. In the shop window and in the web shop there is everything from t-shirts to designer robes. The share of sales in the web shop? “Located in the alcohol range,” says the entrepreneur. After all, the willingness to buy online decreases with the price. Not everything is suitable for selling online.
His shop is basically a display that attracts customers into the store – unless there is a lockdown. “We have just photographed 3,000 parts again for the web shop. We have to edit, label and put the pictures online.” A job that is as costly and time-consuming as there is no alternative. Because the big brand labels do not make their fashion photos available to retailers.
Nevertheless, retailers are investing more and more in their web shops. The reason is easy to explain: The pandemic is exacerbating the trend towards online purchases. This year, for the first time, more than ten percent of retail sales (excluding food) will be processed via web shops.
The following are four examples of regional sales platforms, directories and marketplaces: