Australia’s most comprehensive online store blog has moved

August 5th, 2014
Photo courtesy of enigmabadger on Flickr

Photo courtesy of enigmabadger on Flickr

The OPMC blog has moved from this location to our home site.

At OPMC, we’re dedicated to continuing to bring you the latest news, the best advice and the most useful information for opening and running an online business in Australia.

Please continue to keep updated on what is happening in the world of online retail in Australia by continuing to follow our blog. You can find it here, on OPMC’s main website.

See you over there!

Stripe launches in Australia

August 4th, 2014
Photo credit; Marc Falardeau on Flickr

Photo credit; Marc Falardeau on Flickr

Payment startup Stripe has added Australia to the growing list of countries it services.

Started by a trio of PayPal co-founders three years ago, Stripe operates in the US, Canada, Britain and Ireland, and is beta-testing in Finland, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Its latest international expansion came after it struck a deal with Chinese payments service Alipay, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Inc, to allow Chinese buyers to pay for purchases on the US service.

“Stripe’s mission is to grow Internet commerce by providing everything an online business needs to accept payments,” John Collison, co-founder and president of Stripe, said in a blogpost recently.

Stripe touts a simple-to-use multi-currency service as an easy way for businesses to begin accepting payments from around the world. It takes a cut of several percentage points off transactions across its platform.

To read more about this story, click here.

eBay exec slams proposed GST for goods purchased online

August 1st, 2014
Photo courtesy of Ryan Fanshaw on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Ryan Fanshaw on Flickr

Applying the GST to online purchases under $1,000 isn’t fair for people who cannot afford to travel outside the country to buy cheaper goods, an eBay executive has said.

While in Sydney for a meeting with the G20 taskforce that is looking at ways to reduce trade barriers — including taxes imposed on online sales — head of eBay’s government relations, Tod Cohen, said enacting the GST on purchases below $1,000 would turn sites like eBay and Amazon into tax collectors.

NSW Treasurer Mike Baird has pushed hard for lowering the GST threshold for online purchases and has talked about taxing global online sales above $20.

“Any time you get down to that type of threshold, you’re discriminating against Australians who can travel and those who can’t travel,” Cohen says.

“We try to maintain an opportunity for people to participate in the global marketplace and one of quickest ways to shut that down is by imposing taxes. There’s no way they’ll drop the threshold for international travellers. We’re not going to see duty-free shut down.”

Cohen says $1000 was a ­reasonable threshold, given the threshold in the United States was $800 and Europe was about the same.

To read the full story, click here.

Visa aims to make online checkout easier in Australia

July 30th, 2014
Photo courtesy of on Flickr

Photo courtesy of on Flickr

Visa has unveiled a new system for using the card during online checkouts that the company hopes will cut down on abandoned online shopping carts.

The new service, called Visa Checkout, allows people to sign up with Visa credit and debit cards, as well as other branded cards, and enter their card information just once. Then they will be able pay for things via Visa by only entering their username and password at participating sites.

The service is currently being offered in Australia, Canada and the U.S.

As more customers shop on smaller screens like smartphones and tablets, the hassle of entering in credit card numbers and billing addresses is becoming a sticking point and payment processors have been working to find ways to simplify the process.

To read more about this story, click here.

Australia ranked as best place to do online business

July 28th, 2014
Photo credit; Marc Falardeau on Flickr

Photo credit; Marc Falardeau on Flickr

Australia is the best country to do ­business over the internet, the e-Trade Readiness Index shows.

The index, compiled by eBay and The Economist intelligence unit, ranks Group of 20 countries’ internet-enabled trade. Because the European Union is treated as a separate entity, 19 countries are ranked in this particular index and Australia has the highest e-trade ranking out of those 19.

Rounding out the top five are the United States, South Korea, Britain and Japan respectively. The lowest ranked is Argentina.

Australia topped the list because of:

  • affordable internet access,
  • high smartphone penetration,
  • a well- ­developed regulatory framework and
  • high e-payments adoption.

The index comprises more than 40 indicators across five categories:

  • investment climate,
  • internet environment,
  • international trading environment,
  • regulatory and legal framework, and
  • the environment for e-payments.

The categories are weighted based on The Economist intelligence unit’s assumptions of their importance in cross-border trade using the internet.

However, the report also says that customs and regulation restrictions may hinder the growth of small and ­medium-sized businesses.

To read more on this story, click here.

Australian retailers not doing enough online engagement with customers: report

July 25th, 2014
Photo courtesy of Anna Ulanova on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Anna Ulanova on Flickr

Australian retailers are at risk of losing customers to overseas online competitors if they don’t start engaging customers online more, a report from the University of Sydney said.

The Australian Digital Commerce report, conducted by the University of Sydney’s Business School in conjunction with consulting firm Capgemini Australia shows almost 40% of Aussie retailers are failing to fully engage with customers online despite the fact that online retail sales have soared to $15.25 billion in Australian recently.

The report goes on to say 38% of all Australian retailers are classified as ‘laggards’ who show poor implementation of digital commerce execution and engagement.

Only 26% of Australian retailers fit into the ‘high achiever’ category alongside international market leaders. This means they displayed excellence in both online execution and engagement.

The report defines digital execution as the provision of information and facilities to purchase online while digital engagement is defined as interaction with customers across social media, forums and a retailer’s own digital spaces.

“We found that among Australian retailers, the relational dimension (building of lasting relationships with customers for repeat purchases) is by far the least developed,” said the report’s authors.

“This was also where the largest gap with international market leaders occurred.”

Brian Walker, chief executive and founder of the Retail Doctor Group, said Australian retailers have been slow to take up digital commerce, but this is changing.

“Every retailer in the county has a website now, but in many cases they are static and not used for trading,” said Walker. “But that is changing at a rapid rate.”

Walker said while digital commerce only accounts for 6-8% of the total retail transactions in Australia, some sectors are experiencing growth above 15%.

Aussie SME has dire warning for other small businesses about ‘merchant chargebacks’

July 23rd, 2014
Photo courtesy of on Flickr

Photo courtesy of on Flickr

While the old axiom may be Caveat emptor (buyer beware), in this day and age Caveat vendor, (seller beware) is becoming more common.

One Australian businesswoman learned that the hard way. In fact, she ended up calling it quits and selling her business over it.

Graphic Designer Diane Kennedy is issuing a warning to all small businesses who do business with international customers not to accept payment on credit cards lest they get hit with a ‘merchant chargeback’ like she did.

Kennedy had done work on a website and logo for an American client. She had received a $2,500 deposit from the client, which was paid by Visa, and was to receive an additional $2,500 once the work was completed, plus her third-party web developer was to also receive $2,500 from the American client.

However, just days before the website was to go live, the American client and Kennedy had a minor dispute, causing the client to refuse to pay her for the work and issue a merchant chargeback on the $2,500 deposit.

A ‘chargeback’ describes a bank’s process of debiting a merchant’s bank account with an amount of a transaction that had previously been credited, in this case, the $2,500 deposit.

Originally, chargebacks were created to protect consumers from dishonest merchants, but Kennedy is warning dishonest business customers are exploiting it now because banks and credit card companies seem to always vote in their favour.

For the entire project, Kennedy said, communication between her and the client was great, but that all changed when the contract was coming to a close.

“She said the manner I used was rude and she wouldn’t pay a cent and wanted her money back,” Kennedy said. “There had been no indication before this that she was unhappy. She’d said, ‘I love the concept, you’re doing a great job’.”

After that exchange, the client then issued a merchant chargeback on her Visa via the US PayPal office for the deposit she had given Kennedy.

A few days after that, the website went live with Kennedy’s and her developer’s (unpaid) work appearing on the site.

“She then pulled down the site, locked us out, and then copied the site with an offshore developer in a third world country keeping the code,” Kennedy said. “My developer checked, the entire source code is the same [on the new website].”

Kennedy contacted Visa about undoing the chargeback, but the credit provider decided Kennedy’s client had never received any goods or services from her and therefore they would not be reversing it.

“Visa decides in the cardholder’s favour every time,” said Kennedy. “Merchants have no right with credit card transactions, even if you can show it’s legitimate.”

Kennedy said she thoroughly documented all the work done and all the transactions between her and the client and she’s sent all the documentation to Visa, but is not expecting any help from the credit card company.

She has since sold her business, Blossom Graphic Design, to an unrelated party, saying it was more the emotional stress rather than the debt that made her want to get out of the business.

Kennedy says she has since found online groups of merchants which have experienced similar issues with chargebacks and are petitioning banks to review and reform their practices.

She said she recommends merchants who are selling products or services to overseas customers to only accept bank transfers as payments rather than credit card payments to better protect themselves from this type of scamming.

Australian big businesses increasingly working with startups

July 21st, 2014
Photo courtesy of Mike on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Mike on Flickr

Business Insider Australia says big businesses are starting to work with startups more and more because they can no longer afford to ignore the new technology and innovation that these small companies bring to the table.

Large corporations, like the big banks and telcos, are realising that the experimental and disruptive technologies startups often utilise can be used to satisfy consumer demands and take market share away from competitors.

Startup accelerators such as Pollenizer are cashing in on managing the changing relationship between startups and big business

“The whole thing is coming full circle,” Pollenizer CEO Phil Morle said, adding startups can grow from their dealings with big business and corporations can learn from the entrepreneurship of startups.

“We can’t be reactive anymore,” Morle said. “You have to almost industrialise the creation of new business without knowing what they are.”

Some of Australia’s biggest corporations including Telstra and Coca-Cola Amatil are working with startups because the risk of ignoring the technology and innovative ideas the small companies produce is too high.

Telstra boss David Thodey recently said if startups aren’t supported Australia will lose talent and good ideas and the telco has backed up Thodey’s words by launching its own tech startup accelerator Muru Digital to harness and develop a group of the country’s startups.

To read more about this story, click here.

Booktopia goes from $10 budget to $40 million business

July 18th, 2014
Photo courtesy of Alan Levine on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Alan Levine on Flickr

Online book seller Booktopia has been heralded as Australia’s Amazon.

The Sydney-based business started 10 years ago with a $10 per day budget as a side hobby for CEO and founder Tony Nash and now turns over $40 million per year.

Nash, a web marketer, said Booktopia first started in 2004 as an “evening side project” with his brother Simon Nash, sister Elana Traurig and brother-in-law Steve Traurig.

“I started my first internet business 18 years ago and we (the family group) had been running companies together,” he said. “For the first three years, we used another company to manage our website, because we never thought it’d be anything.”

Three years later, Nash said, they bought some shelves on eBay, rented a 60sm m site in North Sydney and started managing Booktopia themselves.

Since that time, it’s grown by leaps and bounds and now has a huge warehouse full of stock and welcomes Australia’s biggest authors in for book signings.

To read more on this story, click here.

WooThemes introduces WooCommerce iPhone app

July 17th, 2014

best-WooCommerceplugins-logoWooThemes has released an iPhone App for its merchant users.

WooCommerce iOS is designed to let you see detailed product information, customer orders, specific order details, and a range of statistical data illustrating your store’s sales performance – all from your iOS device.

You can download the app from the App Store for $4.99, connect it to your WooCommerce store by logging in, and your orders and products will be automatically imported and synced.

Features include:

  • See your total revenue, number of new orders/customers, and top sellers
  • Get insight into trends by checking your numbers for Today, the last 7 days, or the current month
  • Get a quick count of your open orders (processing/pending/held)
  • Quickly see a list of all orders with customer name, order number, status, and date
  • Scroll through orders and easily search them by customer name
  • See the summary for an order, with customer info, order status, products, and payment/shipping details
  • View order notes to help you see the history for an order
  • For registered customers, you can see previous orders and their lifetime order total
  • See a complete list of all your products with name and thumbnail
  • Quickly search your products by name
  • See full product details including inventory and variations
  • Add up to 4 separate WooCommerce stores
  • Easily switch between your stores using the side menu
  • Delete shops you’re no longer using

Planned updates include: editing & managing orders, individual customer views, Push Notifications for new orders, and more.