When it comes to eCommerce Australia is a few years behind the US and the UK. It’s unimaginable that some major retailers — such as Harvey Norman — don’t even provide an opportunity to buy online. That’s part of the reason why many of us go overseas to buy goods.Still, Phil Harpur says the bulk of online purchases in Australia are from domestic sites. Niche sites seem to do particularly well, offering products that are less easy to buy in a department store.
This all provides a big opportunity for Australian retailers says PayPal’s Adrian Christie, particularly when you consider why people go to overseas sites — the primary motivation is not the cost, it’s the range. If retailers can provide a wider choice online then they should do well.
Yet some retailers only offer a subsection of their range online. Brian Walker says if you sell anything through a retail store you have to sell it online too, and you need to integrate those channels, with the same pricing, stock management and return policies. Otherwise you do open yourself up to increased competition from overseas retailers.
You also need to ensure your online store is up to scratch. That’s where a lot of Aussie retailers fall down. To help with that, Adrian Christie suggests, you hire in talent from overseas. There’s little point in re-inventing the wheel and there has to be a mass of pommie online gurus who would love the chance to escape the UK weather for sunnier climbs.