Monday, May 17, 2010

Online retail in Australia - there's hope



Despite our three earlier posts about the poor state of online retail in Australia, it's not all doom and gloom.

In the last few years a couple of online retail industry groups and websites have started in Australia. InternetRetailing.com.au launched last year and is a great source of information, tips and ideas for the Australian online retail industry. Article's like this one on Australia's largest online retailer, DealsDirect are inspiring.

Last year National Media launched Online Retailer, a 4 day conference, expo and networking event for Australian and New Zealand based online retailers. I didn't attend last year's event but the ratings and reviews from last years event look great. And this year they've launched the inaugural Online Retail Industry Awards.

Steven Noble of Forrester Research is currently working his way through the industry talking to online retailers to put together a series of 3 reports on the industry in Australia. I spoke with him last week to share our insights from Shoes of Prey and we're looking forward to the results of his research.

While it's not strictly online retail, I also subscribe to Inside Retailing, a daily email of all things Australian Retail and they give some coverage to online retailers. I was excited to open the email a few weeks back to see my favourite online custom shoe business covered by them!

And there are some great people in the industry. I've still not met most of them but I caught up with Chris Hitchen of GetPrice a few months back and he was very generous with sharing his experience. I also recently spent half a day with Brad Lindenberg of LindGolf who was very generous with sharing a lot of his experiences in retailing custom golf clubs online. I've also got a huge amount of respect for the retail team at Google in Sydney. In addition to working with pure play online retailers they spend an enormous amount of their time pitching the benefits of online retailing to the sometimes lagging traditional retailers in Australia.

And even these traditional retailers are gradually coming around. Chris Hitchen of GetPrice tells me David Jones have recently hired a new head of e-commerce and while it's no longer up, I was excited to see David Jones run an e-commerce site complete with product descriptions and photos for products they were promoting for Mother's Day (hat tip to @miakgarlick for spotting that one!)

So while online retail in Australia might have some way to go, things are moving in the right direction and perhaps sometime in the near future we'll see online retail sales in Australia reach 6% of total retail sales as they did in the US last year.

3 comments:

  1. I was glad to see Big W come online too- not everyones cup of tea but if they can pull it off chances are more will follow..

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  2. Agreed, Big W have done an amazing job with their online store, it's very impressive. Quick and easy to use, great shipping options and good information about the products. They use photos from a few more angles and slightly more detailed written descriptions, but I'm sure that will come. Hopefully more traditional Aussie retailers follow their lead!

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  3. A fantastic new online retail industry website has just launched in Australia: http://www.powerretail.net

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