In a cruel retail climate, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get your voice heard. But add a new swathe of online-savvy web merchants to the mix and its no wonder that traditional retailers are really feeling the heat.

Digital agency and creative studio Portable has attempted to shed some light on the matter with Taking Back Retail, a new book that aims to clear the haze surrounding e-commerce and help bring traditional retailers onboard the fast-paced online game. Portable co-founders Andrew Apostola and Simon Goodrich came up with the idea after having worked with a hefty number of retailers struggling to take their businesses online.

“A lot of clients asked the same questions over and over. ‘What's the right way to do things? What shouldn't I do?’ So we thought that it would be great to grab all of these learnings and enshrine it into a book,” Apostola says.

Somewhat surprising is the fact that the book really is a book. Ink to paper, paper to hand. From mobile and tablet to online and video, Portable’s projects are strongly rooted in the digital sphere. But avoiding the e-book construct was deliberate. “It's nice having something in your hand when everything else you do is digital.”

Though targeted at traditional retailers, Taking Back Retail aims to help fashion businesses of all kinds. Indeed, even those with an established online retail presence and sound understanding of their market are facing a tough challenge. The advance of international high-street brands into Australia’s online realm has made our industry all the more competitive, with the smaller fish needing strong all-round online strategies – from marketing and social media to in-house blogs and solid customer service – to succeed.

“Those that have made the jump but aren't succeeding usually have had to make a lot of mistakes and are shy of making the right kind of strategic investments. We also think that many spend far too much money on technology and not enough on marketing.”

So it seems that with the right tools, success in the new world is plausible – and it won’t break the bank. Taking Back Retail is a good place to start.

Taking Back Retail is available online at Portable.

portable.tv/book