Archive for July, 2013

Kent & Lime makes shopping stress free for blokes

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Online men’s clothing retailer Kent & Lime have taken the stress out of clothes shopping for its customers.

Instead of choosing their own clothes, Kent & Lime customers are asked about their dress sense by a style advisor who then selects clothes for them from a variety of brands. The clothes are posted out and upon receiving them the customer has 10 days to try them on and make up his mind. What he likes he pays for, and what he doesn’t he simply returns at no extra cost.

Will Rogers, who founded Kent & Lime along with Nick Gonios, said the idea behind Kent & Lime was to provide a genuine personal service that helps male shoppers cope with the often overwhelming choice online.

“We thought there must be a way of reducing all that noise that is out there and give people a place to go that cuts through all the choice. That’s what really sparked the idea,”  Rogers says.

The business is also trying to capitalise on the poor service many shoppers lament in bricks-and-mortar stores.

To read more on this story, click here.

Australian businesses playing catch up to Australian consumers when it comes to online business

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Australian consumers are giving a clear indication of what they want from businesses and now it’s up to those businesses to respond.

At a recent retail summit held by the Australian Information Industry Association and Australian Retailers Association, industry experts said Australian businesses need to increase their presence online to keep up with the customers they are trying to cater to.

The latest Roy Morgan State of the Nation report found internet shopping has experience more than a decade of year-on-year growth and now over 50% of Australians shop online, with total spending equating to $24.3 billion online for the 12 months to March this year.

This figure was an increase of 11.9% from March 2012 and outstripped total retail sales growth for the same period by 8.5%.

However, despite the continual increase in consumers shopping online, the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show only 43% of Australian businesses have a web presence. Those figures reflect especially poorly on small businesses, with only one-third of micro businesses online.

With eCommerce quickly becoming the favoured way of shopping for many consumers, Google’s retail industry leader Ross McDonald says Australian businesses are playing catch-up.

“Australian businesses are years behind Australian consumers,” McDonald says. “Measure your business from what your next-door neighbour, brother, mother, nieces and nephews expect of today’s retailer.”

To read more on this story, click here.

Australian businesses hope that falling Australian dollar helps them to lure back locals

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Australian businesses owners are turning a hopeful eye toward the falling Australian dollar.

The Australian currency has dropped by 15% against the US dollar since April and looks like it will continue to fall. This has Australian businesses hopeful that Australians will start spending their Australian dollars in Australia, whether at bricks and mortar shops in the country, or at Australian websites.

When the Australian dollar was at parity with the American dollar earlier this year, it meant that buying online at offshore websites was a lot cheaper for Australians, as the prices from overseas were typically much lower than in Australia. But now that the dollar has fallen, it should, in theory, close the price gap between Australian retailers and websites from overseas.

However, shopping online at foreign websites has to do with more than just price alone, analysts have noted.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia retail analyst Andrew McLennan said shoppers also like to have more options.

”There is no doubt that one of the key factors that gets consumers spending online internationally is the relative pricing, but it’s also the great range available, which is most often far broader internationally than is available in Australia,” McLennan said.

”There are brands you just can’t get in Australia, there are ranges you simply can’t get in Australia.”

In addition to that, Australians can often end up receiving purchases from overseas faster than they can when they buy them right in their own back yard.

”A lot of these overseas online players have far better developed online capabilities,” McLennan said. ”So you end up getting products that you purchased overseas quicker than you can get it from domestic online retailers.”

And the last rotten cherry on top for Australian businesses is that according to recent research from Ernst & Young, many Australians simply don’t care where they make their purchases from, saying it doesn’t matter to them where a website is based, as long as they get their money’s worth.

To read more on this story, click here.

Great free WooCommerce extensions available

Monday, July 15th, 2013

There are a slew of free WooCommerce extensions available for people who use the software.
Some of the free extensions include:

  • Product Archives Customiser – Allows you to customise WooCommerce product archives. Change the number of product columns and the number of products displayed per page and more.
  • Sold Out Product Widget – It enhances the built-in WooCommerce functionality by adding a Widget and Shortcode for displaying sold out products.
  • Smart Sale Badge – It enhances the built-in sale badge by displaying the total saving amount a customer will receive.
  • Bundle Coupons – Enables store owners to make a coupon only apply when all products required for it are in the cart.
  • Product Details Customiser – Allows you to customise WooCommerce product details pages.
  • Email Validation – It adds a “confirm email address” field to the checkout page as a required field.
  • Menu Cart – This plugin installs a customizable shopping cart button in the navigation bar.
  • Bitcoin Payments – This is a WordPress plugin that allows acceptance of bitcoins at WooCommerce-powered online stores.
  • Improvely – Allows store owners to see the specific website link customers clicked, search they typed into Google, or ad they clicked to get to your site.
  • New Product Badge – Displays a “new” badge on products that were published in the last x days (as determined by you in the settings).

To read more about this story, click here.

Online shoppers expect service comparable to in-store experience, research reveals

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

Australian online businesses that think of their cyber stores as automatic vending machines need to start rethinking how they conduct business over the internet, a new survey has found.

Customers now expect to be able to get help immediately when they need it and will abandon an online transaction if that help isn’t timely.

The survey, conducted by marketing group Loudhouse on behalf of LivePerson, a provider of customer management software, found 87% of shoppers said they need some form of help during an online shopping transaction and 25% of Australian respondents to the survey expect help immediately when requested.

The main reasons for abandoning a purchase include:

  • unexpected costs at 69%
  • lack of information at 59%
  • navigation difficulties at 52%
  • not being able to find answers to questions at 44%.
  • difficulty in getting help on a website at 36%.

Out of the 1000 respondents, 79% said they prioritise getting their issue resolved quickly, and 55% want that done in a single interaction — 62% want a problem resolved within a five-minute timeframe, and 54% would give up immediately or only seek help once.

Dustin Dean, vice president of Asia-Pacific at LivePerson, said Australian online businesses should start offering the same type of service that is offered in more traditional retail stores, which includes investing in Live Chat options where customers can get instant access to staff to help with questions and resolve issues.

“I think you have to offer the richness and the depth of the experience of the storefront — especially given access to information now is just so rapid,” Dean says. “This is not simply about making a one-time purchase. You need to create relationships with customers and create an experience that enhances the shopping.”

To read more on this story, click here.

Diamond store makes successful jump to online retailer

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Diamond Emporium is now an online retailer of handmade engagement rings, but it didn’t start out that way.

Currently run by Gus Hashem, the store originated as a small jeweler in Lebanon in 1977 run by Hashem’s father, Simon. The family immigrated to Australia in 1988 where Simon continued the business and Gus joined in 2006 with the intention of taking it online. That has proven to be a highly successful endeavour.

“We didn’t have a succession plan, it was just a small business. When I joined I worked on developing the web site and moved the business into the [Sydney] CBD. We rebranded as Diamond Emporium and launched the site in 2010,” says Gus.

Gus also changed the focus of the business to selling diamond engagement rings as opposed to selling handmade chains, which was a dwindling market.

He says Diamond Emporium has experienced double digit growth since 2010 and anticipates further growth in the future. “People think retail is tough but there are great opportunities for businesses willing to make changes. But businesses like ours that are based on technology have to run like a well-oiled machine.”

Diamond Emporium moved away from its traditional bricks and mortar operation to a more online centered offering, in part to keep overhead costs low.

Although the company still has office space in downtown Sydney where it meets clients, the operation is now mostly online.

“Our main focus is now online. We launched with a search marketing campaign and calls started coming in straight away. I think we were one of the first fully functional web sites where you could view and select diamonds and engagement rings,”says Gus. “The key has been providing transparency around pricing. All our prices are available online and discounted from the full retail price.”

To read more on this story, click here.

CatchoftheDay reveals why it sold its wine site

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Coupon site CatchoftheDay has sold its wine-based acquisition Vinomofo to a small group of anonymous Adelaide investors just over a year after acquiring the wine website, saying it was a business incubator project through its Sketchbook Ventures program and it had reached the point where the business could thrive with new investors.

Vinomofo co-founder Andre Eikmeier recently told SmartCompany that the Vinomofo founders also missed their independence, and saw an opportunity to grow beyond the CatchoftheDay model.

“Catch was pretty hands-off and encouraging, it wasn’t like a dictatorship or anything. But we started to get a feeling that…as our appetite grew, we looked at moving on from the group. It was a change in focus.

“It wasn’t the original plan,” he says, although places a caveat on this by saying the sale process has been amicable. “It’s beyond amicable.”

Vinomofo’s founders have kept a majority stake in the company, while CatchoftheDay has sold its entire interest in the company.

To read more on this story, click here.

Business Spectator launches online magazine

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Business Spectator has launched an online family business magazine, appropriately titled Family Business Magazine.

The magazine will be available available online and through the Apple newsstand each month.

Produced in collaboration with Family Business Australia, the magazine will features family business profiles, which will take a close look at a particular family’s business journey, celebrate their success and allow other businesses to learn from their experiences.

To read more on this story, click here.

Happy Birthday to WooThemes!

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

OPMC wishes the team at WooThemes a Happy 5th Birthday!

The WooThemes team is just hitting their stride at the moment, having recently celebrated the milestone of 1 million downloads.

As WooTheme’s Mark Forrester said himself; “To be an online business and to make it to 5 years is an achievement in itself. To be 5 years old and to be experiencing our best growth month-on-month yet is testament to the team that powers our product offering.”

They are celebrating their fifth birthday with the release of the new ‘Memorable’ theme.

Again, Happy Birthday to WooThemes!

To read more about this story, click here and here.

Scoopon gets hit with accusations of cheating

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has levied accusations against online coupon website Scoopon in Federal Court. 

The ACCC has alleged that Scoopon engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and made false and misleading representations to businesses and consumers.

The ACCC alleges that Scoopon:

  • misled consumers regarding their ability to redeem vouchers, their refund rights and the price of goods advertised in relation to some of its deals;
  • that Scoopon told businesses there was no cost or risk involved in running a deal with Scoopon, when a fee was in fact payable to the site, and;
  • that Scoopon misled businesses by claiming that between 20 and 30% of vouchers would not be redeemed, when there was no reasonable basis for this representation.

The ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctions, community service orders, pecuniary penalties and costs in the Scoopon case.

To read more on this story, click here.