ONLINE is the fastest growing pathway for savvy retailers embracing the latest trend of conducting business and we have the downturn to thank.
Melbourne-based Research Company IBIS World reported Australian online sales are dramatically on the rise. In December 2008, online sales made up a total of three per cent of overall retail, leaping to 5.5 per cent 12 months later.
Experts believe the recent downturn had a positive impact on the online shopping industry with eBay reporting an increase of 24 per cent in value of goods for the fourth quarter in 2009 in comparison to 12 months earlier. Amazon’s results were even more impressive, showing a 42 per cent sale boost compared to the previous year.
Matt Granfield is the co-owner of Gold Coast online marketing and web design company e-CBD. He says the e-commerce phenomenon is allowing small businesses to compete with major large-scale competitors.
“The trend of customers moving to online shopping is dramatically increasing fuelled by a budget-conscious consumer who wants the best-possible product for the best-possible price,” he says.
“Using Google as an online shopping research tool is like having unlimited access to every product across the globe. Obviously prices are highly competitive as there are more competitors in the wide world web with customers having access to unlimited choices.
“At e-CBD we are experiencing a dramatic rise in interest from our retail clients for online shopping portals allowing them to maximise profits and reach a strong online customer base not otherwise accessible.”
Coast International is a company that provides sporting and lifestyle accessories to more than 400 retailers and wholesalers online. Business owner Anthony Cook, says e-trading has opened up a world of opportunities.
“Since we began operating online 12 months ago, we have opened up a lot of international export opportunities by having a shop that’s open to the whole world,” he says.
“Someone’s always looking for something unique that suits their requirements. Quite often there’s no retailer nearby that provides the products people want. In this case, we can get the product to them within 24 hours or, if international, in a couple of days.
“More and more people are time poor these days, as are retailers. While price is always a key factor in the purchase decision, people will in many cases pay more for convenience. That’s the beauty of the internet.
You can shop in your own time, at your convenience. For people in rural locations, quite simply there is no retail outlet close by. "
Granfield points out that 87.26 per cent of Australians prefer Google over other search engines and that according to the report, 8 per cent of all e-commerce activity will be done via mobile phones by 2015.
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