Now is such an opportune time for existing 'bricks and mortar' retailers or new 'pure play' online retailers to review their online strategies and capitalise on growth in online sales in Australia. Australian businesses have a great opportunity to grow their business sales in tandem with the upward tread in online sales and to offer safe local alternatives for customers who buy from overseas online stores.
There are thousands of Australian businesses who want to sell online but are worried about the inhibitors. eCorner can help and we provide a lot of assistance and advice to companies who want to start selling online. The technology is now available to businesses of any size to enable them to get online easily and quickly. In the past, a fully functioning website with eCommerce (online shopping basket) may have cost a business $10,000’s of dollars to develop and then $100’s of dollars each month to run. For a large retailer you could multiple that 10-fold. And if changes were needed it required costly developer resources. As browser technology evolved (Internet Explorer, FireFox, Chrome etc) these bespoke websites required constant changes to be kept 'up-to-date' or they failed.
Now we have fully hosted and managed eCommerce platforms with the capability to generate a new online store in minutes. These stores include hosting, technical support and application management for less than AUD$100 a month. The underlying software gets automatically updated with new features and functions without the store owner knowing or doing anything. So rather than spending $10,000’s on technology that needs constant maintenance business can put that money to marketing and customer support. SMEs can build and manage their own content without technical developer assistance.
Social Commerce and Social Media have become an important channel but new technology makes it easier to start and to manage. Sites like Facebook and Twitter, have had a dramatic effect on how consumers are researching and buying online. Online retailers can get great competitive advantage by embracing the social media channel and by creating and managing blogs, forums and customer-focused newsletter content. >80% of all online sales start with a product search enquiry so you need multi-channel capabilities from the one online store. eCorner automatically provide feeds to price comparison engines like www.getprice.com.au and we can send products to eBay, Facebook and other marketing channels from the one administration platform.
Many consumers and merchants saw the potential for fraud and as a result, decided not to set up an online store, or purchase goods and services over the Internet. But now there is much more protection for both consumers and merchants. Payment providers like eWay and PayPal offer extensive anti-fraud protection. Consumers have become more aware of risks and look for the tell-tale signs like an SSL certificate (lock icon), contact details, terms and conditions and refund and privacy policies. Buying online has becoming safer than walking to the shops.
Getting the right design was once the realm of only large companies that invested in graphic and web design companies. But new technology has opened up capabilities for online merchants to create and manage their own store design and to look very professional doing it. At the end of the day however the technology is the enabler. An online business is like any other business and needs a plan to be successful. It is supported by four key foundation pillars:
Technology just enables it all to happen with a minimum of fuss. For a retailer or business selling online is now a very simple process and once set up, will allow you to compete on the World Wide Web.