Archive for May, 2014

Brick-and-mortar giants finally making strides online

Thursday, May 29th, 2014
Photo credit; Timothy H on Flickr

Photo credit; Timothy H on Flickr

Both David Jones and Myers appear to finally be getting the hang of this whole internet fad.

While Myer’s third quarter sales were down, its online sales had increased. Myer says it has 119,000 products now available through the website and nine million visits to the site over the quarter.

David Jones fared better, but its third quarter sales still weren’t great. However, the upmarket department store reported a 190% increase in online sales over the past year, albeit from a very low base. It is seeking to offer a dual in-store and online offering.

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

Online sales spike comes from unlikely source

Friday, May 16th, 2014
Photo credit; Matteo Paciotti on Flickr

Photo credit; Matteo Paciotti on Flickr

Online retail sales growth in Australia shot up during March, spurred on by products that don’t normally get associated with online sales: groceries and liquor.

Groceries and liquor posted the biggest increase in online sales, according to National Australia Bank’s Online Retail Sales Index.

To read more about this story, click here.

WooThemes introduces new booking plugin

Thursday, May 15th, 2014
Photo credit; Sylvia Schade on Flickr

Photo credit; Sylvia Schade on Flickr

WooThemes has just released a new, innovative booking plugin for WooCommerce.

The extension, aptly named WooCommerce Bookings, will allow online businesspeople to:

  • trade their time for cash money,
  • set up appointments,
  • connect with clients,
  • link dependent resources, and
  • integrate their services with their website.

What makes WooCommerce Bookings unique is that it takes a website from being just an online brochure, to being a place where people can go to actually book an appointment online.

The plugin is highly flexible and the WooThemes team has been perfecting it since 2011, according to WooThemes co-founder Mark Forester.

To read more on this story and check out a video about WooCommerce Bookings, click here.

Team of young South Australians recruiting next wave of business people

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

The Engine Room team of Sean Clarke, Marcus Bailey, James Sargent, Sally Noonan, Leigh Morgan, Toby Bensimon, Toby Strong and Steve Dorman. Photo credit; Matt Turner from News Corp Australia

A group of young business people from South Australia who dub themselves The Engine Room are looking for the future of South Australian business.

Launched by investment bankers Marcus Bailey and James Sargent, and wine and hospitality entrepreneur Leigh Morgan, the group aims to recruit 500 business owners aged 18 to 40, turning over a billion dollars a year, and representing more than 25,000 employees.

So far, they’ve gotten about 100 signed up.

Members will have access to events, mentoring, investment advice and a network of peers with the same enthusiasm and drive to succeed in South Australia.

Members of The Engine Room are:

  • Sean Clarke,
  • Marcus Bailey,
  • James Sargent,
  • Sally Noonan,
  • Leigh Morgan,
  • Toby Bensimon,
  • Toby Strong and Steve Dorman.

Bailey, who co-founded Adelaide-based investment bank Fortis Ago three years ago, said The Engine Room was about fostering real business growth.

“If we can stand up and say, ‘In our group there’s 500 company owners representing over a billion dollars of revenue’, we think what that will do is start to build on the entrepreneurial spirit in SA, whereas what we’re seeing at the moment is individual acts of brilliance dotted around the place,” he said.

To read more on this story, click here.

Australian online security startup inks big deal with Singapore government

Monday, May 12th, 2014
Photo credit; FutUndBeidl on Flickr

Photo credit; FutUndBeidl on Flickr

An Australian online security startup has won the backing of the Singapore government.

Singapore government-owned Assurity Trusted Solutions has entered a strategic alliance with Melbourne identity verification specialist iSignthis to provide identity verification for its OneKey two-factor authentication token. The government intends the token to be used as a national standard.

As part of the agreement it has also picked up rights to supply the tokens and its security network internationally in other markets. Assurity plans to distribute the OneKey token as a smartphone application for Android and iOS devices.

iSignthis chairman Tim Hart said the company had set its sights on south-east Asia and Europe.

“The citizens and residents of Singapore, the EU, most of south-east Asia, Australia and New Zealand will benefit from [evidence of identity] and [two-factor authentication] services being executed online. We look forward to building on our strategic alliance with other products and services going forward,” Hart said.

To read more about this story, click here.

$5 million up for grabs for the right Australian digital startup

Friday, May 9th, 2014
Photo credit; vagawi on Flickr

Photo credit; vagawi on Flickr

One Australian digital startup will be selected to receive $5 million in funding, thanks to The Big Pitch, a competition run by Melbourne venture capital fund Oxygen Ventures.

In addition to funding, Oxygen Ventures is offering mentoring and operational support to the winner. Applications close on June 5.

Five finalists will be selected to pitch in front of an audience and an expert panel that includes Dodo founder Larry Kestelman, Network Ten executive general manager Russel Howcroft and BlueChilli founder Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin.

Oxygen Ventures investment director Ilya Frolov says the Big Pitch judges are looking for digital start-ups at the pre-commercialised or newly launched phase that are globally scalable and offer innovative technology.

“The Big Pitch is a great forum for these start-ups to showcase a game-changing concept,” Frolov says.

For more information on this story, click here.

WooThemes recommends A/B testing for your WordPress ecommerce site

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014
Photo credit; David Bleasedale on Flickr

Photo credit; David Bleasedale on Flickr

WooTheme’s Tom Ewer recommends the following plugins for conducting A/B testing on your WordPress-based ecommerce site:

Ewer says using a WordPress plugin is preferable to using an outside tool for testing because these plugins are specifically designed for WordPress and are far more intuitive for people who already know the platform.

He also explains that conducting regular tests of your ecommerce site is important for knowing what parts of it are working well and what parts need improving.

To read more on this story, click here.

Australia tops countries that hire online freelancers

Monday, May 5th, 2014
Photo credit; Alisa on Flickr

Photo credit; Alisa on Flickr

Research by Elance-oDesk has found that Australian businesses are increasingly hiring freelancers online for technical skills, such as PHP, CSS, and HTML.

Australia leads the way in hiring online IT freelancers on Elance-oDesk when adjusted per capita, according to new data released by the online work marketplace firm.

The Online Work in Australia study showed 161,000 Australian companies are registered on the Elance-oDesk platforms, representing 8% of all businesses in the country. This has grown over the last three years with Australian businesses increasing their online hiring on Elance-oDesk by 235%.

The research indicated the job skills Australian businesses were after the most in the last 12 months was in IT and programming (40%), where they hired people with skills such as PHP, CSS, and HTML.

This was followed by 26% of job posts being related to design and multimedia projects, including: logo design, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator.

Newly appointed Elance-oDesk Australia country manager Kyri Theos said Australian businesses are turning to online for the skills they need.

“We’re seeing a shortage of IT professionals in Australia; 40% of all jobs by Australian businesses on Elance-oDesk were for IT and programming, so that’s really telling us that they have gaps they want to fill,” he said.

To read more on this story, click here.

Dick Smith’s sales up thanks to stronger online showing

Friday, May 2nd, 2014
Photo credit; David Jackmanson on Flickr

Photo credit; David Jackmanson on Flickr

Dick Smith reported a 1% rise in sales during the first quarter this year, with online transactions jumping by 47% to represent around 4% of all retail sales.

Australian sales of $238.4m were up 6.4% compared to the three months to the end of December.

Dick Smith’s managing director, Nick Abboud said that the strong growth in online sales was a highlight in the first three months of the calendar year.

“During the quarter, we expanded our offer into Westfield and Ebay. This expansion, combined with our existing websites and our online capability, supports our omni-channel offer and allows us to compete strongly with pure online retailers,” Abboud said.

“We anticipate that by June 2014, our store fulfilment will provide our customers with the flexibility of quicker and cheaper local delivery or click and collect in each of our 368 stores.”

To read more about this story, click here.

Guidelines for ‘Made in Australia’ packaging claims released

Thursday, May 1st, 2014
Photo credit; Marc Falardeau on Flickr

Photo credit; Marc Falardeau on Flickr

Advertising your products as Australian made can be a huge boost for your business, but you do have some obligations to follow under Australia Consumer Law if you want to do that.

Making an incorrect statement about products made in Australia can lead to fines up to $1.1 million, so it’s worth it to educate yourself about what you need to know.

To help ensure you’re making these claims correctly, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has created the Country of origin claims and the Australian Consumer Law External link guide, which you can download from that link.