Archive for the ‘web-based’ 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.

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.

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.

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.

Eventbrite opens up shop in Melbourne

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
Photo credit; Bev Sykes on Flickr

Photo credit; Bev Sykes on Flickr

Australia continues to attract online businesses from overseas and the latest to open a branch in the country is San Francisco-based Eventbrite.

Eventbrite, an online platform that allows users to promote and sell tickets to live events, will open an office in Melbourne soon, while file-sharing service Hightail (previously known as YouSendIt) has already opened its Asia-Pacific headquarters in the city.

Eventbrite’s husband-and-wife founders, Julia and Kevin Hartz, visited the city to formalise a sublease deal with start-up 99Designs to house the beginnings of the company’s fifth international office. The company, launched in the US in 2006, already has offices in San Francisco, London, Argentina and Brazil.

The Australian office will focus on sales and marketing. “Australia has always been one of our core international markets since the beginning of time,” said Julia. “We really started to see traction in 2008, just a couple of years in [from launching]. We have localised the site for Australia but we are now interested in really getting in there and having a strong presence.”

To read more on this story, click here. founder a business winner in 2013

Friday, January 3rd, 2014
Photo credit; Snap on Flickr

Photo credit; Snap on Flickr founder Matt Barrie has been named a business winner on Yahoo! Finance Australia’s list of business winners and losers for 2013.

Barrie enjoyed one of the year’s most successful IPOs when shares in the online freelancing network shot as high as $2.60 on their first day.

Coming off a 50 cent issue price, the Freelancer frenzy briefly made the company a billion-dollar concern.

Barrie holds 46% of the company and, even with Freelancer shares now trading around $1.30, his stake is still worth approximately $260 million.

To read more on this story, click here.

Australian businesses ready to embrace cloud computing

Monday, November 11th, 2013
Photo credit; Kei51

Photo credit; Kei51

Australia is the second-most cloud ready country in the world, according to the Business Software Alliance.

A report from the International Data Corporation (IDC) revealed that about 86% of businesses in Australia were using the cloud in some aspect in July this year, which was a 15% increase compared to the same time last year.

The IDC also predicted that the Australian market for public cloud services will grow at a compound annual rate of 24.7% over the next five years, reaching about A$2.6 billion in 2017.

The Australia Business Review says more Australian businesses should embrace cloud computing because:

  • It is relatively easy and inexpensive to set up a cloud computing system.
  • The cloud enables you to streamline your computing processes and achieve economies of scale.
  • You can complete your computing tasks in less time and increase your productivity with fewer workers.
  • It provides easy and secure data backup and recovery.
  • Cloud computing technology will continue to evolve and get better in the future.

To read more about this story, click here.

Small and medium businesses in Australia face cyber attack threat

Friday, October 18th, 2013
Photo credit; Mathieu Plourde on Flickr

Photo credit; Mathieu Plourde on Flickr

Cyber attacks hit 75% of small and medium sized businesses (SMB) last year, according to online security company McAfee, which says Australian businesses have been under concerted attacks online.

“There is a real imperative to better understand how to keep business assets safe — from data to devices, email and web,” says McAfee’s SMB Manager for Asia Pacific, Robbie Upcroft.

In its May State of Cybersecurity in Australian SMBs report, McAfee warned that almost half of SMBs in Australia had experienced a targeted attack in the past 12 months (44.5 per cent) with one in five (21 per cent) of this number experiencing three or more attacks.

And, in a worrying sign, McAfee found that just under half (46 per cent) of Australian SMBs indicated they had experienced security breach or data loss “by deliberate sabotage from current or ex-employees in the last year.”

To read more about this story, click here.