This post is by guest author, Umair Qureshi. This article has been edited and published with the author’s permission.
Establishment of Ecommerce store in Australia
Australia’s ecommerce sales were more than $20 billion in 2016 and, are estimated to exceed $24 billion by 2018.
Australia is fortunate in terms of ecommerce and online business because it has a clear-cut high demographic yield that responds well to the market. 90% of online transactions in Australia involve three or fewer brands. This can also be interpreted as brand loyalty because customers trust the brand for the quality of products/services and remain loyal with chosen brand. Therefore, it is important that an online store should establish itself as a trustworthy brand in the market.
Now, running an ecommerce store in the competitive Australian market is not that easy. Although there are a number of platforms that streamline the process of setting up and managing online stores, you as the owner/manager should also be well versed in the relevant fields such as logistics, referencing, and customer management.
So, if you wish to launch and manage an online store in Australia, read through this blog. This blog will help you to avoid the hurdles that have potential to sink many online stores.
Process to Follow to Establish an Ecommerce Store in Australia
The success of any business is dependent on proper planning and following a well prepared plan. Setting up an ecommerce store in Australia is a step-by-step process that requires thorough planning and attention to minute details.
I will now present several important pointers that will help you come up with proper planning and action items for your business setup process.
1. Choose Your Legal Form
Opening an online store begins with the legal recognition of the brand/store. You will have to define the legal status of your store before registering it with the relevant services such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). This authority allots a registration number to your business. You could choose any legal status you see fit. However, I recommend that you opt for being registered as a self-employed entrepreneur or a sole proprietor. It is always best to consult an expert (an accountant or a business adviser) at this point.
2. Draft a Business Plan
A business plan documents all the required details about how your store will be established and how will it function. Many people skip this important step because creating a business plan appears too cumbersome to follow. However, following this step allows you to analyze your action plan and ensures that your project is on the right track at all times.
3. Choose A Domain Name
The choice of the domain name pretty much determines the future of your ecommerce store. Plan to invest several hours in discovering the right domain name for your store. A number of online tools (like Mashable, shopify) help you in choosing the best name for your new store. Remember that your domain name has to be catchy ad unique.
4. Choose Your Hosting Service
Very few people actually know how to setup and manage servers. Even if you are among the very few of such technical experts, it is still a tedious and time consuming process for you. I recommend that you opt for managed cloud-based hosting for your online store. This way you will be able to sidestep all server related issues (including security) and focus on your business full-time.
You are definitely wondering: which hosting provider to choose for your ecommerce store? A very legitimate question indeed! Choosing the right ecommerce webhost, like Cloudways helps you by providing:
● 24x7x365 chat support so that you are able to get quick help at all times.
● A powerful stack comprising of high-performing and optimized caching technologies.
● Auto-scalability with almost zero downtime.
● Dispersed data centers to reduce latency and target your audience more effectively.
5. Create the Store
There are many platforms in the market which you can use to open an online store. Depending on your requirements and technical expertise, you can choose Woo Commerce, Magento, Prestashop, Opencart, or others. Some of these platforms offer turnkey ecommerce solutions, while other requires extensive design and development skills. Other platforms request for HTML and CSS skills. A competent developer who specializes in ecommerce solutions could prove to be an ideal partner.
6. Standards and Technical Regulations
Suppliers and manufacturers have a legal and moral obligation to ensure that their products are safe for consumers to use. All products must comply with the appropriate safety standards, contain clear instructions for proper use, and include warnings about probable abuse. If a product does not meet the mandatory standards as set by Australian authorities, there is a risk of legal actions against the business.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) requires compliance with product safety, information standards, and the prohibition of dangerous goods as declared in the Trade Practices Act. The “Fair Trade Offices” also play an important role in the safety of products.
7. Finding and Dealing with Suppliers
As an ecommerce store owner, reliable suppliers should be of utmost and important priority. For this, explore your industry to discover wholesalers. Once you have the suppliers lined up, you need to set up logistics.
Many people prefer handling the supply lines through the post office. However, third-party logistics partners such as DHL are also popular business partners. Whatever your choice is, it is essential to negotiate an advantageous contract in your favor.
8. Manage the Inventory
No customer, willing to buy, likes the “Out-of-Stock” notice. To avoid this (embarrassing) situation, it is important that you pay close attention to inventory management. This is an ongoing process and requires good relationships with your suppliers and logistics partners.
Sales data analysis is an important part of inventory management. Over the period of a time, you will acquire the skill of juggling between often contrasting requirements of inventory management.
9. Define (Legal) T&C and Policies
Well defined and easy to understand policies are one of the essential requirements for any ecommerce store. Many customers often check out the payment and return policies prior to finalizing their purchase decision.
In order to come up with an ethical and concrete set of terms and conditions, ask a lawyer to go through your draft of T&C and policies. He will ensure that your draft complies with the existing Australian consumer protection laws.
10. Build Your Online Presence
“You can’t just open a website and expect people to flood in. If you really want to succeed you have to create traffic.”- Joel Anderson, Walmart CEO
Once your ecommerce site/store is ready, you have to build your online presence in order to reach new customers and build rapport with them. This step demands careful planning and working with vendors and suppliers so that you could build a solid and trustworthy online presence on social media channels. This necessarily involves good digital marketing strategies that include an email campaign, a customer loyalty program, a blog on persistent basis, and a proactive presence on multiple social networks.
Closing thoughts – Now Realize Your Dream
As I mentioned earlier in this article, Australia is the country where people are not at all stranger to online shopping. Proper planning and meticulous attention to details are the real keys to the success of your online store in Australia.