The Canberra Times

Customers seeking discretion and service continue to embrace booming online retailers

Shift online: Once customers see the benefits of buying online they are staying as regular customers. Picture: Supplied

This is branded content for ConfidenceClub.

Online retail continues to grow even as stores across the country have once again opened and reduced their social distancing requirements.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, $30.7 billion was spent in stores and online in March this year, representing a 2.2 per cent increase on the same time last year.

However, online sales alone were up 37.4 per cent from the same time last year when the first signs of the pandemic had begun to emerge in Australia.

ConfidenceClub, an online retailer that specialises in moderate to heavy need continence management aids for people living with incontinence in Australia, has seen year-on-year growth of 100 per cent since it was launched in 2017. However, it has seen its sales soar by 350 per cent since February last year.

ConfidenceClub's co-founder Gavin Basserabie says that many new customers who did not feel comfortable visiting retail stores to purchase essential health products, turned to online or phone ordering and getting contactless home delivery. It has become the 'new normal'.

"The pandemic was certainly a driver of significant growth, but as stores opened up more regularly with fewer restrictions, we did not see a dip in sales whatsoever," he said. "Our sales have continued to climb each month."

Incontinence is a condition which affects one in six Australians, and one in three women.

Deloitte Access Economics undertook a study 10 years ago on the economic impact of incontinence. The report found that, in 2010 when it affected two million fewer people, the overall financial cost of incontinence (excluding burden of disease) was estimated to be $42.9 billion, or approximately $9014 per person with incontinence. It now conservatively affects about four million Australians.

Yet, according to Mr Basserabie, people living with incontinence have been under-served by brick-and-mortar retailers.

"For too long, the shopping experience in pharmacies and supermarkets has been underwhelming due to a combination of there being too many products that are difficult to differentiate when it comes to light incontinence, and not enough options for those with moderate to higher needs," he said.

"Products are also very expensive in brick-and-mortar stores, particularly for a product that is an essential consumable which helps people with incontinence go about their day.

"Once customers saw the benefits of buying online through us - discreet, contactless delivery in unmarked cartons, free delivery Australia wide, greater convenience and more affordable - they stayed as regular customers."

One of the busier parts of the online service is its telephone and email advisory service which helps point those in need in the right direction and does so anonymously.

When ConfidenceClub did a survey of nearly 2000 customers in August last year, it found 75 per cent of them had received no real assistance finding the right products for their needs prior to the launch of ConfidenceClub's service.

"That this part of the service is so busy, growing from one product specialist in early 2020 to seven today, shows that people living with incontinence have been underserved by brand and retailers for many, many years," he said.

Mr Basserabie added that people also find the risk-free proposition provided by ConfidenceClub attractive as they provide a full money back guarantee on every single order.

"So far, 99.3 per cent of customers have been satisfied and not taken us up on this offer," he said.

This is branded content for ConfidenceClub.