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The National Retail Association (NRA) has today welcomed the arrival of Australia Post’s new shipping membership program, Shipster, as a crucial move toward helping Australian businesses keep up with a rapidly-changing consumer market.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said while innovative retailers were constantly changing up their business models to keep step with consumer demand and a changing social environment, they still had to factor in ways to deal with cost imposts outside their control.

“Out-of-date legislation, costly red tape, unsustainable penalty rates and unnecessary compliance costs trickle down into higher prices to consumers, so any move that gives customers the opportunity to significantly reduce their shipping costs is a welcome one,” Ms Lamb said.

“Reducing shipping fees supports Australian retailers, who can better support Australian jobs,” she said.

Australia Post’s Shipster launches today – with more than 40 Australian retailers already on board to help shoppers in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisance skip shipping costs on eligible purchases by paying a one-off fee to subscribe until January 1, with an option to extend the service with a low, ongoing monthly fee.

“Retailers understand that convenience, speed, value and experience are crucial for attracting modern consumers, so we welcome any initiative that strengthens these offerings.

“The world has moved on from bricks Vs clicks to a full omni-channel approach, so something as simple as cutting out the hefty shipping fee that comes on the end of a purchase allows our retailers to leverage technology to enrich their offerings and strengthen brand loyalty,” she said.

The NRA said online retail currently makes up less than eight per cent of total purchases, however retailers needed other industries to embrace the changing consumer landscape, to collectively strengthen the domestic industry.

“We’d like to see this initiative rolled out nation-wide and further offers moving forward, to help Australian retailers remain competitive and continue to merge into true, omni-channel brands,” she said.