5 Technologies that are Disrupting Australia’s Retail Industry

Innovation in technology is disrupting every kind of business across the globe and retail industry in Australia is not an exception.

In wake of competition that has turned from intense to fierce, proliferation of mobile phones and increasing Internet access is opening new business opportunities for traditional retailers.

In Australia, more than 21.5 million people (out of 24 million) use mobile phones and over 85% have access to Internet. It is another compelling reason for retail industry to bet on innovative technologies such as Big Data Analytics, Mobile Point-of-Sales (mPOS), Radio-Frequency identification (RFID), Artificial Intelligence, and Beacon Technology.

Big Data Analytics (BDA): Investment in BDA is unfolding new opportunities for retailers. It (BDA) analyzes information collected from customers’ databases and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms. This ultimately helps organization in identifying and meeting new requirement of customers. Australian retails’ CEOs and CIOs at present are increasing investment in BDA because:

  • It assures better use of retail’s informational resources
  • Its analytic features contribute in improving customer engagement—online and offline
  • Helpful in retrieving required data from the vast volume of information

The Australian retail BDA segment—hardware, software and services—is expected to generate AUD 369 million by 2021 from around AUD 187 million in 2016.

Mobile Point-of-Sales (mPOS): The growth in use of mobile device is encouraging retailers to adopt mPOS. The mPOS systems store data in local server and closed internal networks at low cost. It (mPOS) has the feature of customization which is helpful to meet particular requirement of retailers. Why mPOS is used extensively?

  • It has card reading solutions which is helpful to swipe, chip and PIN, etc.
  • mPOS can be easily set-up with mobile devices through audio jack or bluetooth
  • It leverages Near Field Communication solutions which can accept payments using contactless cards and eWallets such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay.

The Asia-Pacific mPOS market generated AUD 44.6 billion revenue in 2016. Its installed base is predicted to grow steeply crossing 73 million by 2021. Japan is the largest market of mPOS whereas its growth rate in Australia is high because of favorable costumer uptake.

Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID): It is used widely in retail because RFID is helpful in inventory keeping and asset tracking at low cost. The use of RFID tag has minimized human error assuring efficient inventory counting. Its merits are:

  • Lowers cost of searching for misplaced items in warehouses
  • Systematic documentation with less use of paper
  • Above all, RFID lowers cost for retails

The use of RFID technology in Asia-Pacific is expected to grow at over 33% CAGR by 2020 and Australia is one of the countries to deploy it extensively.

Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI improves customers interaction and extends personalized touch to online customers. In order to deliver better physical retail experience by minimizing pain points of retailers, the CEOs and CIOs are emphasizing on the use of both AI and BDA. Its benefits are:

  • Acquire accurate information about customer in order to analyze it in real time
  • AI can offer 24X7 service to customers
  • Helps in navigating the expansive selection of stocks offered by the retailer

Beacon Technology: The technology allows mobile apps to receive signals produced by beacons and react accordingly. For retails, it is helpful to engage customers through their (customers’) mobile phones with real-time product information.

  • Beacon technology integrated with mobile phone assists sales assistants in-store resulting save in time
  • Enhance personalized customer experience by using customers purchase history

The online retail sector is growing at around 10.5% year-on-year basis. Currently, there are more than 79,500 retail stores (online and traditional) in Australia and large chunk (traditional based) have started adopting retail technologies.


Subarna Poudel is a researcher with Frost & Sullivan. He can be reached at subarna.poudel@frost.com


Sapan Agarwal drives content and marketing for Frost & Sullivan. Sapan is based out of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and can be reached at sapan.agarwal@frost.com | +603 6204 5830

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