Growth Customer Experience Productivity Business IQ Trends Success Stories Tech Solutions Awards Business Tools Subscribe Tech Enquiry
Betsan Jones
Technology Journalist

Betsan Jones is a freelance lifestyle and tech journalist with experience across a number of international publications

Betsan Jones
Technology Journalist

Betsan Jones is a freelance lifestyle and tech journalist with experience across a number of international publications

Highlights
  • Selling online can give Australian businesses opportunities to become global businesses.    
  • Understanding the steps required to get a package from your store to your customer is key.    
  • Engaging with customer through social media can help to drive sales.    

When it comes to selling online, Australian businesses are facing more competition than ever before. But as long as we employ an effective growth strategy, globalisation can only make us stronger.

City landscape of high rise buildings

When talking about globalisation, it’s impossible to ignore the role of new technology and how advancements in software, data gathering and digital communications have changed the strategic planning process processes and the way we’re able to operate our businesses. Thanks to technology, the world has become simultaneously smaller in distance and bigger in opportunity.

These developments mean that we now face immense international competition when it comes to making our business not only viable, but but also hugely successful. When looking to sell our products online, we now sit in a marketplace that is larger than ever before. After all – if we choose to – we can implement a growth strategy that aims to sell to the entire world.

But although this means competition is stiff, this position also has many advantages. The margin for profit is bigger than ever. The room for growth is global. We can provide a product that caters for millions.

But to make sure your business is relevant within the global marketplace, it’s imperative to keep up with the expectations of an e-commerce customer.

The growth of international competition in retail means that local Australian businesses selling online need to stay ahead of the curve. But competition is a good thing – it pushes business to perform and streamline, to find efficiencies, whether locally or abroad.

So how can we keep up with, and embrace, international competition?

Make your shipping competitive

Shipping is among the most challenging aspects of running a small business – particularly when it comes to digital commerce – but it’s also the most effective method of attracting both local and overseas customers. The process of making your shipping as competitive as possible will depend on the kind of industry you’re in and the types of things you sell.

Getting a package to your customer requires several different steps. Research is key to optimising these steps, and requires choosing the right shipping company or companies, and (depending on the scale of your business) looking at splitting up your delivery process in order to systematically reduce costs and transit times. Using one distributor may provide a simple solution – but you could be paying more than you need to.

Remember, customers want to know where their package is, when they can expect their delivery, and often easy and accessible tracking can be a good substitute for longer delivery times.

Take advantage of social media

The rise of social media and the adoption of social channels as customer engagement and sales platforms has meant the development of an online world that is essentially boundary-less.

In a matter of seconds, we are able to make contact with a customer in another country, in another time zone. Engaging with customers to drive sales on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram can generate significant opportunities for revenue.

As early as 2015, research service BI Intelligence has found that social networks were driving more e-commerce than email, and this shift shows how powerful these social channels and technological infrastructure can be when it comes to selling your product online.

In today’s landscape, sites like Facebook command enormous customer potential. According to 2019 Roy Morgan research , the social media giant is used by 82 per cent of Australia’s Generation Z (those born between 1991 – 2005), 86 percent of Gen Y (1976 – 1990), 87 per cent of Gen X (1961 – 1975) and 86 per cent of Baby Boomers (1946 ­– 1960).

An omni-channel approach to e-commerce – that is, selling through social channels such as Facebook, as well as using a central inventory like eBay – is an effective way to take full advantage of these global platforms. Part of the strategic planning process for a modern e-commerce business must be dedicated to exploring and taking advantage of various channels to reach different markets.

Stay responsive

Customers are using smartphones and tablets more and more to make their online purchases, and that means your e-commerce website should have a responsive design – adapting its display for desktop, mobile and tablet. Many e-commerce solutions software and design services now offer this functionality as a given.

However large your desired reach, staying alert to changes in technology and customer expectations will mean that your business can thrive in a world of healthy, boundary-breaking international competition. 

Are you taking advantage of e-commerce solutions to reach a global customer base?

Discover Telstra Smarter Business Tools

Looking to reach more customers through e-commerce?

Talk to Telstra’s tech advisor about the right options for you.

Find out more

Originally published 14th November 2014. Updated 29th July 2019.

Dave Macdonald and Annette Kaitinis of Scoot Boot
Growth
Growth
Annette Kaitinis: growing a business means knowing when to trot, canter, and gallop

Annette Kaitinis and Dave Macdonald have taken their small business with a big idea from Tasmania to the world. After just four short years, they're reaching international mark...

Charmaine Saunders of Mainie in store holding a traditional Indigenous-inspired garment.
Growth
Growth
Culture meets commerce: These Indigenous businesses are embracing both

These four Indigenous businesses – NAISDA, Purple House, Bush Medijina, and Mainie – combine commerce and culture. Find out how business works for people by Telstra Smarter Bus...

A photo of a woman from behind working at an office desk
Business IQ
Business IQ
How to empower staff and protect data security

Your cyber security is only as strong as its weakest link and that weak link is often the human element. Cyber security is a human problem. That’s why it is critical to invest...

A large amount of multi-coloured post-it notes lying in a large pile on a white floor.
Productivity
Productivity
How to multi-task and do what matters

As a busy business owner, it’s tempting to try juggling all the balls at once in order to get things done. But using the right technologies and processes – not constantly multi...