Online shopping is an area of growth in the Australian marketplace and according to IBISWorld, will continue to show strong growth in 2013, alongside online education, construction, farming and gas and oil production.
As such, not only is it important for Australian retailers to make sure they get their products online, but it’s equally, if not more, important to ensure that they perform well on the web.
Forecasts from IBISWorld estimate that the online shopping industry will experience 9.1% growth this year, reaching a total worth of almost $11.6bn. This of course, is just in Australia; other regions, such as the UK, have an even higher growth rate, with Britain spending 18% more in 2012 than they did in the previous year.
Bearing this in mind, can Australian retailers afford not to move at least some of their business online? Especially as an eCommerce site means you can sell to the rest of the world too.
"Australians are increasingly expecting traditional retailers to have an active investment in the online sphere, and to provide options for online browsing and shopping to complement their storefronts", said IBISWorld’s General Manager Karen Dobie.
Online shopping will continue to grow
Ms Dobie also points out that the eTail industry will “continue to flourish”, with many retailers who are based solely online even moving into “bricks and mortar” space, to ensure that their customers can have pick-up points and additional conveniences.
"This phenomenon will lead to a greater increase in the convenience provided by online retail,” she said.
Whatever and wherever your retail business is based, one thing is for certain, in order to compete on the net it will need a good, solid CMS in order to streamline ordering processes and ensure your business has a good presence.
If you’re currently not competing in the online space but are considering such a move, then this is something that you should definitely consider, no matter what size your company. However, it’s not always easy to know where to start or even what you’re looking for.
For many companies who take credit or debit card payments, taking it all online can be a little daunting. For a start there’s privacy and compliance concerns to take into consideration when it comes to how you use and store customer data. A decent CMS will allow you to set all this up easily and will provide a secure platform for you to launch your products from.
Add to this the ability to track orders, catalogues, customer shopping habits and marketing and you begin to see how a good package can take the pain out of using eCommerce to boost business.
The ROI is substantial if carried out properly and if you buy a bespoke package then you can have it tailored to fit your business perfectly. This means you can automate procedures such as social sharing and content creation for your site and the question any business should be asking themselves is not ‘can I afford to do this’, but ‘can I afford not to’.
Email and marketing
A CMS can incorporate marketing aspects and you can build a strong customer base online by using targeted email campaigns. Couple this will a good social campaign and before you know it, your business could be flying beyond your wildest dreams.
For employees, this means less drudgery, where they have to manually enter every sale, and a more streamlined workforce, who are really earning their salary because you have invested in them, as well as a CMS and web presence.
Extensive reporting and analysis can help your company to really pin down where it’s performing well, which products are sluggish and which are flying off the shelves and exactly where your visitors are coming from, in order to further aid your marketing efforts.
The same applies to those businesses who are already online and struggling along without a CMS. Just imagine how much easier life (not to mention profit margins) would be with automated procedures which allow you to further concentrate on growing your business.
Once you have a good system in place, which is fully secure and PCI compliant, then you can look at other aspects of growth.
CMS in the cloud
Most people have heard of the cloud by now, although those outside of the tech industry would more than likely tell you that’s about all they know. The cloud offers businesses of all sizes the opportunity to really cut costs, especially those of capital expenditure and cloud-based CMS is no exception.
2013 is an ideal time to get in on the online action if you haven’t already for that reason alone. Cloud will take off even more this year, following a slippery 2012 which saw many CEOs questioning the safety of the technology.
However, many of these fears have now been allayed, so cloud adoption is set to soar in 2013. Companies who adopt cloud services such as CMS save money, often enjoy improved security and don’t need an extensive set-up when it comes to on-site computers such as servers and a hard-wired network.
Considering that public cloud services alone are estimated to grow from $40bn to $160bn by 2020, it’s easy to see why the technology is considered to be revolutionary to the IT sector. However, the real beneficiaries are businesses as those enterprises who found it hard to compete in the past with corporations, can now do so on a more level playing field.
This is because of the cost saving benefits of cloud, along with powerful and affordable software such as CMS, means you don’t have to employ half a town in order to get your products online and sell them effectively.
Bearing this in mind, isn’t it about time you became an eTailer? The online landscape is changing, but it’s all in a positive way that could be the difference your company needs between failure and success.