Small Business News You Can Use – September

Here is a round-up of the latest business news relevant to you and your business.

Retail Growth Slows

Our 21 year record of sustained economic growth continues but only just.  The Bureau of Statistics shows that the annual growth rate is now just 2.6 per cent with only 0.6 per cent growth in the quarter to June.

Retail turnover for July rose by a measly 0.1 per cent according to the ABS.  The largest contributor to the rise in July 2013 was household goods retailing (1.8 per cent) followed by food retailing (0.5 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (1.4 per cent) and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.1 per cent). These rises were largely offset by falls in department stores (-7.9 per cent) and other retailing (-0.2 per cent). Over the longer term, the largest contributor to the weakness is department stores (down 1.3% in trend terms).

The state which was the largest contributor to the rise was South Australia (1.6 per cent) followed by Victoria (0.2 per cent), the Northern Territory (3.1 per cent), Tasmania (1.5 per cent) and the Australian Capital Territory (0.3 per cent). These rises were largely offset by falls in Western Australia (-0.7 per cent), New South Wales (-0.1 per cent) and Queensland (-0.2 per cent). Over the longer term, New South Wales is the largest contributor to the weakness (down 0.2 per cent in trend terms).

Through the year, Australian retail turnover rose 1.9 per cent in July 2013, seasonally adjusted, compared to July 2012.   However, hours worked have also risen by 1.7 per cent this year and unsurprisingly, business confidence is low.

Cross Channel Marketing Mostly Misunderstood

Research released by Experian.com.au has revealed that only 14 per cent of marketers in Australia truly understand cross-channel marketing, despite  the fact that 42 per cent say they plan to increase their investment in cross-channel technology in the next 12 months.

Cross-channel marketing is heralded as the next big thing among brand and product managers. It enables organisations to adapt and tailor campaigns in real-time in response to consumer behaviours via their chosen platform. For example, offering a 30 per cent discount on a second item as an individual loads their first item into their online shopping cart.

Yet, the research shows that 91 per cent of marketers are not maximising the insights from their data to inform their marketing strategies across their various marketing platforms including SMS and social media campaigns.

These managers, might, therefore, be interested in a report by Market Probe International for Twitter which found that when small and medium sized businesses had an active Twitter account, they enjoy increased sales to each customer and more customer recommendations.  To read the report click here.

Stop Phubbing in Your Workplace

Phubbing is, apparently, a growing phenomenon.  It is causing friction in workplaces and social settings alike.   If you are unaware of what phubbing is, we’re pretty sure you’ve had to endure someone doing it.  Phubbing is, to quote stopphubbing.com, “the act of snubbing someone by looking at your phone instead of paying attention.”

Apart from being annoying it is also potentially damaging to your business.  When you are in a meeting you expect the person you are with to be focussed on you, not forever checking their phone.  So whilst we advocate the use of SMS marketing as the most effective method of marketing, we would also encourage our customers to be considerate about when they look at their phone.  For more on phubbing you can read the article in The Age  or visit the fun website http://stopphubbing.com/.