Posts Tagged ‘online’

Stripe launches in Australia

Monday, 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

Friday, 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

Wednesday, 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

Monday, 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

Friday, 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’

Wednesday, 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.

WooThemes introduces WooCommerce iPhone app

Thursday, 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.

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.

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.