The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has welcomed the Federal government’s $1.2 billion investment to grow Australia’s digital capabilities and help businesses innovate and grow in the new digital economy.
ARA CEO Paul Zahra says the investment as part of a new Digital Economy Strategy will further support innovation and create jobs in the retail sector, which has seen an acceleration of trends over the past year.
“The Covid pandemic has resulted in a powerful shift in the way people live and work and how people purchase the goods and services they need,” he says.
“When lockdowns and restrictions were introduced just over a year ago, some retail businesses had to scramble to boost their online and digital offerings, so they could continue to operate while people were confined to their homes.
“The shift to online is a permanent one, with more and more consumers purchasing the things they need with a few taps of their fingers and embracing new methods of contactless shopping. It’s part of an acceleration of trends we’ve seen over the past 12 months, and that will continue to evolve in the years and decades to come.
“It’s important that businesses, particularly small business, have the skills and knowledge they need to keep up with the rapid rate of innovation and new and emerging consumer trends.
“The Federal government’s investment as part of a Digital Economy Strategy is an important step towards boosting our productivity and securing our country’s future prosperity. The investment will also support jobs growth as future skills in retail become more technology and science based.
“Consumers are now expecting retailers to ‘meet them where they are’, through consistent, seamless omni-channel interactions – and that involves businesses having a clear and dedicated focus on digital.
“We welcome the Federal government’s commitment to enhancing the digital capabilities of Australia’s businesses and we look forward to seeing additional support measures announced as part of next week’s Budget.”