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Australian online buying trends

by Chris Sutton | May 18, 2010

It’s probably not too surprising that two weeks sitting on a beach can provoke a clarity of thought and direction that might normally be lacking when faced with the day to day demands of a business, (and probably also not too surpising that I wasn't exactly thinking about Australian online buying trends!)

Indeed, after two weeks on the Sunshine Coast I was very clear that I wanted to spend more time there! Unfortunately, there are always bills to pay and things to do, besides which there was a strong chance that I might be hunted down and dragged back to the office kicking and screaming.

So back to work it is. However, the tan hasn’t faded and some clarity of thought remains (at least as much as is ever going to happen given the advancing years).

I was very interested to read recently an article in the Sydney Morning Herald by Rachel Wells (SMH, May 16, 2010) which provided some survey results relating to ecommerce and Australian online buying trends.

The survey, by Neilsens, showed that while in 2005 14% of online fashion purchases by Australians went to offshore companies, last year 43% of online fashion purchases went to offshore companies. While single results in such surveys can be open to question, it seems that there is a clear trend evident, and it’s highly likely to be a trend in many other industries.

This is where the clarity of thought kicked in. We often hear, from businesses in all sorts of industries, that there’s no need for them to sell online or have a comprehensive catalogue of products available on their website. That may well have been the case a few years ago, but with websites becoming a key medium not only for business promotion and lead generation but also for actual sales, if a business isn’t using its website effectively, the competition will jump in and grab your customers.

This is actually no different to a competitor starting up down the road from your business, and the response needs to be the same. Where you face competition you need to assess what the threat to your business is, and meet that threat head on, whether it be media spend, product & pricing mix etc.

The best thing about the web though is that meeting competitor threats is actually much easier than in solely a bricks and mortar business, or when you are using traditional media to promote your business. Your website can easily look and read as professional as any competitor’s site, you can change your content quickly to address competitive situations and run specials in real time.

I think the question for many businesses now is not “why should I have an ecommerce store?”, but rather “can I afford not to?” It certainly seems clear from the Neilsen survey results that if you don’t, your competitors certainly will, whether they are local or offshore competitors.

So, can you ignore what seem to be clear Australian online buying trends?

SiteSuite Website Design - Online Marketing Blog Author Chris Sutton

Co-founder and Managing Director of SiteSuite Australasia, Australian pioneers in web design and ecommerce since 1997. For more from Chris you can follow him on Google+ or Twitter, and for further professional musings and thoughts on his other passions in life,

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