Westfield has launched a new shopping service that ships directly to consumers, as Australia Post continues to face weeks-long delays.
The Australian shopping centre will let customers buy online from its multiple stores in a single transaction, removing the need to buy directly from individual stores, which generally use major delivery services including Australia Post.
Westfield Direct will be available for pick-up within one to five working days, with home delivery also available across all Westfield stores across Australia.
The new service follows a push by retailers across the landscape to scale up digital and ecommerce capabilities following the explosion of online shopping since the start of the pandemic.
In late September, supermarket giant Woolworths announced it was taking its online marketplace Australia-wide as part of its strategy to expand and diversify its online presence.
The supermarket’s e-commerce sales rose 58% to $5.6 billion in 2021, with online food and grocery sales skyrocketing 75% to $3.5 billion.
An Australia Post report showed 82% of households shopped online in 2020, with the sector seeing 57% year-on-year growth in online purchases in the first year of the pandemic.
Westfield’s new service spans more than 100 retailers, including fashion brands Cue, General Pants, MJ Bale, Gorman, Ted Baker and Sportscraft, as well as beauty retailers Aesop and L’Occitane.
It will enable shoppers to browse curated collections and place orders for products that span multiple retailers at once.
Phil McAveety, chief customer and business development officer for Westfield’s parent company, Scentre Group, said in a statement that Westfield Direct would offer shoppers “more convenience, flexibility and choice” in the lead up to the Christmas retail season.
“Westfield Direct provides our business partners with the opportunity to increase the productivity of their physical store networks while alleviating the time-intensive and costly process of fulfilling and delivering orders,” McAveety said.
Additionally, the service would boost sales for smaller retailers who didn’t have their own e-commerce setups.
The number of companies taking business online each month more than doubled from pre-pandemic levels, peaking in July 2020, according to research conducted by Mastercard around its Australian activity.
Its survey showed that 60% more merchants accepted e-commerce sales in 2020 for the first time, compared to 2019.
“Westfield Direct presents a significant growth opportunity for our SME retail partners, many of whom only have one or two physical stores with us and no online presence,” McAveety said.
The company will also set up distribution hubs across its existing centres, facilitating inter-centre and interstate product transfers.
“Westfield handles the end-to-end experience, including order fulfilment logistics, last mile delivery and customer service,” he said.
Melanie Levis, executive director of Australian fashion brand Cue said the new service would add “convenience and flexibility” for shoppers, while increasing “our capacity to make sales and broadens our reach (and) exposure across the Westfield network”.
Westfield Direct will operate at 37 of Westfield’s shopping centres across Australia.
Scentre Group has seen explosive growth in 2021, recording a 28% increase in profits in the first six months of the year.
The group – which owns and operates 42 Westfields in Australia and New Zealand – announced an operating profit of $460.1 million.