Archive for the ‘Australia’ Category

Brisbane Times reveals 11 biggest ecommerce mistakes

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
Photo courtesy of Terrance Heath on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Terrance Heath on Flickr

The Brisbane Times has published a list of the 11 biggest mistakes e-commerce sites make. Heed these warnings:

1. Having Complex Functionality

The best sites should be structured so absolutely no thinking is necessary when navigating through, including minimal steps between product viewing and purchase.

2. Having Poor Site Appearance

A busy, confusing, or ad-strewn site poses functionality issues and isn’t a particularly professional front for a business expecting customers to leave sensitive credit card details. A beautiful website that makes for easy shopping and security will ensure customers are happy.

3. Not Having Compatibility with Mobile and Tablet

Digital retailers must accommodate a range of customers across diverse platforms and employ a website design that is fast loading for mobiles as well as desktop computers.

4. Having Unexpected Fees and Shipping Costs

The number one reason customers abandon their shopping cart is unexpected costs added to their purchase, such as GST, insurance and high shipping fees. Free delivery can be the defining feature that sets a site apart from direct competitors. While free shipping is undoubtedly a huge attraction, shoppers will generally concede to a shipping fee if they feel it is reflective of the product and level of service. A tracking number is also a plus.

5. Overly Long Product and Lack of Customer Reviews

Long-winded product descriptions can turn off shoppers. Pairing concise, keyword-rich descriptions with customer reviews, and even stats on how many times the item has been previously bought, is a good way to reassure customers. A unique product description, rather than that composed by the manufacturer, can also ensure a higher ranking on internet search engines.

6. Having Poor Search Capability

Faceted search — a function that allows users to apply a range of filters to explore information — enhances customer power and control by making it easier for them to home in on the products they are most interested in. Typo-sensitive search also increases the likelihood that a clumsy-fingered user will still see results that best match what they’re looking for.

7. Convoluted Checkout Procedures and Customer Accounts

Forcing a buyer to create an account and enter personal details at the checkout has obvious benefits for the retailer, but it is likely to cause frustration among shoppers who want an instant transaction. Features such as single sign-on, automated saving of a customer’s details, and the option for “guest checkout” transactions that don’t require the creation of a password quicken and enhance the shopping experience.

8. Lack of Social Media Integration

If you’re not posting, instagraming, pinning or tweeting, you’re just not competing. But more than posting a photo, social media should be used to generate positive dialogue among customers and aid the transaction process by facilitating direct contact between the company and consumer. All retailers should have an effective communications policy in place, especially for when customers turn to social media to complain.

9. Poor Quality Images and Zoom Function

Grainy photos or poor zoom function are easy ways to lose a sale, as customers can’t see the detail in the craftsmanship. Instead, use clear, high quality photos.

10. Believing the Transaction is Complete After the Order is Placed

Another golden rule of running an online business is realising that the shopping experience isn’t over when the customer clicks “buy”. Don’t neglect functions such as: recommended “buy next” options, live purchase stats (for instance, five people bought this in the last hour), or prompts for low stock in a “watched” item.

11. Having Ineffective Customer Service

One of the cornerstones of face-to-face retail is good customer service, and this still applies online. Ensuring the product over delivers, that delivery service is on time, and that phone, email and live chat service staff are friendly and helpful, will usually ensure a positive customer response even if something goes wrong.

To read more on this story, click here.

Oak Flats woman busted for dodgy online business practices

Monday, July 14th, 2014
Photo courtesy of Widjaya Ivan on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Widjaya Ivan on Flickr

Roselyn Joy Wilson, formerly of Oak Flats, New South Wales, has been fined $6,510 by Fair Trading and ordered to pay a total $11,120 compensation to six customers for scamming them via her fake internet business.

Dozens of customers complained about not receiving generators purchased from Wilson’s online business, Quality Direct Pty Ltd.

The fake online business,, purported to sell generators at a discounted price, provided customers pay for goods upfront.

At least six customers were ripped off between February and June, 2012, after they deposited sums of almost $2000 each into an account but received no generators.

“Consumers were left high and dry by [Wilson], who simply stopped taking calls from frustrated people demanding to know when their generator would be delivered,” Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said.

“It appears [she] had no intention of supplying the goods she received payment for and she then failed to co-operate with Fair Trading once consumers sought our intervention.

“Failing to provide goods and services in a timely manner is a breach of the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading will take action against any online trader who thinks they will get away with such dishonest behaviour.”

Fair Trading received more than 50 complaints about the business in 2011 and 2012, prompting it to warn the public about dealing with Wilson or Quality Direct.

To read more on this story, click here.

New Australia-only crowdfunding platform launches

Friday, July 11th, 2014
Photo credit; David Pacey on Flickr

Photo credit; David Pacey on Flickr

Australia now has its own crowdfunding platform.

OzCrowd launched recently, starting its first campaign at the beginning of July.

“As well as providing the opportunity for individuals to contribute to fellow Aussies’ causes, OzCrowd will be providing a new way for corporate sponsorship, directly to particular causes as opposed to organisations,” marketing director Marika Karolidis said in a news release.

Founder Nick Karolidis, a lawyer and entrepreneur, states that this “direct funding model should allow for a much more efficient way for funds to flow between big business and individual causes”.

Australians are often hesitant to make donations because many organisations take up to 40% of donations as administration fees, meaning only a fraction of funds donated actually reach the target individual.

But with the low cost of an online platform, Nick Karolidis expects upwards of 90% of funds to be received by individuals.

Individuals with fundraising ideas can sign up at, authenticate their identify through Facebook and post their fundraising campaign within minutes. Organisations seeking to get involved should contact

Australia missing out on Asian e-commerce boom, high ranking bank exec warns

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
Photo credit; SEOPlanter on Flickr

Photo credit; SEOPlanter on Flickr

Asia, particularly China, is going through an e-commerce boom and Australian businesses are missing out on it, warns Sarv Girn, chief information officer at the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Although internet penetration rates in Asia are low when compared with Australia, they are growing more rapidly than the rest of the world, Girn said.

The projected growth of internet usage in the region could see the number of people on the internet in the region basically double.

According to eMarketer, consumers in the Asia-Pacific will spend more money online than the US for the first time ever this year. And for every ten US dollars spent, six will come from China.

According to official figures from the China Internet Network information Center, China has 618 million internet users as of December 2013. That means China has an online population 33 times that of Australia with only a 45.8 per cent penetration rate. Half of that population shops online.

Yet despite the huge opportunity for Australian businesses to sell directly to China’s rapidly expanding middle class via the web, Aussie businesses are lagging behind the competition from other countries.

“There are a range of popular Australian brands sold on China’s Tmall, but sales volumes are still small,” said Ben Simpfendorfer, a Hong Kong-based investment banker at strategy consultancy Silk Road Associates.

“Making your product available is just a first step. But it’s hard to be noticed without an effective marketing strategy, especially a digital media strategy.”

A number of Australian brands such as Penfolds wine, dairy provider A2 Milk, baby food manufacturer Bellamy’s Organic, and clothing store Jeanswest have their own shopfronts on Alibaba’s B2C website Tmall.

If that seems too daunting for Australian businesses, the process has recently been simplified thanks to a partnership between China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba and Australia Post.

Through the agreement, businesses no longer have to overcome onerous obstacles such as registering as a Chinese business entity or employing local staff in the country. Australian businesses now have the option of piggy-backing off Australia Post and shipping their products directly from Australia.

To read more on this story, click here.

Entrepreneurs unimpressed with government’s new funding plans

Monday, July 7th, 2014
Photo courtesy of Howard Lake on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Howard Lake on Flickr

Entrepreneurs have slammed the federal government’s new $484.2 million entrepreneurship program, which would offer less funding and introduce additional obstacles than the grant schemes it replaces.

A discussion paper released by the Department of Industry recently proposed that the government offer $250,000 grants to start-ups from this November to commercialise their idea over a two-year period.

Funding for the program would need to be matched dollar-for-dollar by the private sector, and the company applying for those grants would have to demonstrate a need for government funding as well as any “significant national benefits” from their product or idea.

Entrepreneurs would also be able to apply for $20,000 in funding, matched by the private sector, to hire advisors on their business, while research programs would be able to access $50,000 in matched funding to move research into a business for development.

But, the grants proposed by the government are significantly less than the up to $2 million in matched funding offered under its predecessor Commercialisation Australia, which was axed alongside other programs in the government’s latest budget.

Mick Liubinskas, who helps run Telstra’s start-up incubator Muru D, said the program did not appear to provide the support needed to boost the country’s technology sector.

“It’s just weak,” he said. “The main thing seems to be advisors for entrepreneurs, advisors for research and advisors for commercialising — it’s a great time to be an advisor but I don’t know if that’s going to be nearly enough to spark significant growth in the ecosystem. It seems like a big missed opportunity.”

To read more on this story, click here.

All the legalities you ought to know for running an ecommerce site

Friday, July 4th, 2014
Photo courtesy of on Flickr

Photo courtesy of on Flickr

WA Today has posted a comprehensive list of all the legal details you should consider when starting an online business.

The list contains information about:

  • business registration
  • your business or company name
  • your business domain name
  • what you need for taxation purposes
  • applying for an ABN, and
  • licences and permits.

It also points readers to where they can get more legal tools and tips from the Australian government.

Also in an effort to help out small business owners, the Brisbane Times has published a list of programmes and initiatives that small business owners should know, plus how to register a domain name in Australia.

The Times’ list includes:

  • the Small Business Advisory Service program
  • the Single Business Service
  • the National Broadband Network, and
  • Digital Economy programs.

To see WA Today’s list of legal issues for ecommerce business owners, click here.

To see the Brisbane Times’ list of programmes and initiatives for small business owners, click here. To see the Times’ guide for registering a domain name, click here.

Australia social media company MOKO to list on the NASDAQ

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014
Photo credit; Richard Patterson on Flickr

Photo credit; Richard Patterson on Flickr

Australian app development company MOKO Social Media will soon be listed on the NASDAQ.

The company’s public offering price is set to be between $US7.50-9.00 per American depositary shares (ADS), with each ADS representing 40 ordinary fully paid MOKO shares. That is equivalent to a price range of $A0.20- 0.24 per share.

MOKO’s flagship app REC*IT uses data provided by colleges through an exclusive agreement to help organise student recreational and sporting activities.

The free app is to be adopted across 700 colleges by the end of September, with a reach of 10 million possible users. This will allow advertisers to directly target a highly attractive and segmented audience.

Chairman Greg McCann said the possibilities of this audience are part of the reasoning behind the ASX-listed company’s decision to dual list.

“[The US] is a very big market, and it’s a very sophisticated market — We really wanted to give American investors the opportunity to invest, because they were probably more likely to put a truer value on the stocks that you would in Australia,” he said.

“There’s not a lot of technology stocks here, particularly doing what we’re doing,  which is really pushing the boundaries into a new area.”

To read more on this story, click here.

Aussie small business is missing the mobile, social, cloud revolution

Monday, June 30th, 2014
Photo credit; Pavel Medzyun on Flickr

Photo credit; Pavel Medzyun on Flickr

Many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are missing the opportunity to use online tools to run their core business better by: cutting costs, reaching customers and suppliers, innovating and getting more control over their business, according to a new Grattan Institute discussion paper.

Businesses with less than 200 employees employ two-thirds of private sector workers and contribute more than half of Australia’s private sector GDP and if advanced online technology becomes the norm among SMEs, the productivity gains would spread through the whole economy.

There are four big opportunities for SMEs to use online tools more effectively: mobile, social, data analytics, and the cloud. The paper says:

  • only 18% of Australian SMEs with an internet connection have developed mobile-optimised websites.
  • only a quarter of Australian SMEs with an internet connection say they use social networking for marketing purposes.
  • many SMEs haven’t realised the full potential of data analytics to understand their customer segments.
  • only 8% of Australian SME managers say they use the cloud. But 47% of SMEs with an internet connection use basic cloud computing services such as webmail or cloud data storage.

All four opportunities can help small firms win where before they would have lost to larger firms that could absorb the fixed costs of corporate IT.

To read more on this story, click here.

Australia’s small businesses increase their online footprint as ecommerce booms Down Under

Friday, June 27th, 2014
Photo credit; SEOPlanter on Flickr

Photo credit; SEOPlanter on Flickr

Australian e-commerce sales increased from $27 billion in 2010, to more than $37 billion in 2013 and have been continuously demonstrating an increase of $3-4 billion every year, according to a press release published in the Digital Journal.

The press release also said:

  • Australian consumers spent an annual average of $2,108 online in 2013
  • Almost 73% of Internet users belonging to the age group of 35 to 44 have done shopping online.
  • Australian consumers spent a total of $16 billion online in 2012.
  • By the end of 2012, 45% of Australian businesses were said to have an online presence including a full feature website or a single home page.
  • 55% of Australians believe online shopping portals offer lower prices, compelling customers to buy things online.
  • 94% of the entire population of Australia has access to high-speed Internet
  • 60% of them go online multiple times a day
  • 1/5 of the population prefers online shopping due to the convenience of buying from the comfort of your own home or on the move.
  • Less than half of Australian businesses have an online presence, such as a website, eBay store or social media page, according to the according to the Australian Bureau of statistics.
  • Just 33.2% of micro businesses having a web presence compared to 97.3% of big businesses.

To read more on this story, click here.

Suncorp appoints Edge agency to run online business insurance website

Thursday, June 26th, 2014
Photo credit; Laughlin Elkind on Flickr

Photo credit; Laughlin Elkind on Flickr

The Suncorp Group, including AAMI, GIO and Vero, has appointed content marketing agency Edge to spearhead their new joint venture, the Business Insurance Hub.

Edge will deliver a suite of content and tools, including a mix of opinion editorials, articles and social media updates meant to help small to medium businesses become more informed about business insurance.

“Producing regular content for the Business Insurance Hub is one way the Suncorp Group plans to support Australian businesses in their efforts to research business insurance online,” Edge’s Head of Strategy Richard Parker said.

“For an online resource to be relevant and engaging there must be a constant flow of current news and information about changes in the market, as well as tools that assist the decision making process, whichever channel they ultimately choose,” said Parker.

“Edge will be helping to breakdown the industry jargon to produce easy to understand content that makes sense. This content will underscore the long-term strategy for the website to be the premier resource for Australian business insurance information.”

To read more about this story, click here.