Australia’s love affair with online shopping is a gift that keeps on giving. While more than a quarter of us shop online once a week, we’re shunning overseas sites in growing numbers, preferring to spend our cash on domestic sites. Indeed, 79 percent of Australians who shop online mostly spend their cash on local websites.
Some online shoppers are explicitly seeking out local merchants to mitigate some of the risks, ensure friendly return policies and guarantee quality goods; for other shoppers, it’s all about supporting local retailers.
This is great news for local merchants who are willing to capitalise on the preference for shopping locally.
Many emerging Australian startups are dedicated to making online shopping an easier process and are creating opportunities for businesses to bolster their sales. Here are five innovative ideas to consider in 2014.
1. Optimise Your Product Display
Quicker than ever before, online shoppers are making decisions about what they like and don’t like, switching across websites in the blink of an eye.
By offering a 3D display of your digital range, Aussie e-commerce innovator Thereitis 3D Display can visually engage shoppers and bring your items to life.
The Adelaide startup has created cutting-edge technology that uses our human ability to skim through images quickly and optimises keyword search, category and price filters to make shopping online even easier.
It works particularly well with mobile devices, where users tend to navigate the screen using touch instead of mouse clicks.
The technology allows customers to more comprehensively judge products before purchase. As an example, the 3D technology increased conversion rates for a pendant on gifts.com by seven times.
Find out more about Thereitis, and watch the video below.
2. Increase Trust Levels
Imagine allowing your customers to touch your online products before paying for them, without risking broken or lost inventory.inventory.
Sydney startup Touch Payments promises that customers won’t ever have to pay for a product they haven’t touched â a major bonus for promoting the concept of secure online shopping.
When shoppers choose Touch Payments at checkout, there are no credit card details to enter (no extra forms to fill out, no traditional credit checks) and nothing to pay at the time of purchase. Instead, customers are invoiced for their orders and receive their merchandise before having to make a payment.
Once an order ships, shoppers have up to 16 days (no interest or other fees) to pay the invoice through any of the following payment options: BPAY, bank transfer, credit card, debit card or even cash at Australia Post. Touch Payments assumes the risk, which means Touch always pays the merchant, no matter what.
By mitigating risk and offering quality assurance to even the most sceptical browsers, Touch Payments offers an increased trust level and a greater conversion rate for your shop. Delayed payment has increased conversion rates by up to 30 percent overseas.
As the first startup of its kind in Australia, Touch wants to show you how you can benefit. Get in Touch.
3. Reinvent Delivery
In a market obsessed with speedy delivery times, consumers expect their purchases to arrive almost instantly. This year, market-savvy merchants will enhance their sites with ParcelPoint, a solution that addresses the problem of missed deliveries.
ParcelPoint partners with couriers to allow consumers to direct their parcels to a nearby shop within a network of stores, from news agents to convenience stores, which will hold a parcel until the customer is ready to collect it, seven days a week.
It’s a convenient solution for people who don’t want purchases delivered to their homes or work or who are unavailable during regular 9-5 delivery times.
Some retail partners only use the service to facilitate fast returns, because returns don’t require changes to the retailer’s e-management system.
ParcelPoint has over 1,000 pick-up locations and is worth investigating as a way to provide more convenience to your customers.
Find out more about ParcelPoint.
4. Introduce Alternative Payment Options
Melbourne startup CoinJar is another newcomer that is shaking things up in the e-commerce space.
In response to the recent boom in Bitcoin transactions, CoinJar’s young founders identified a gap in the market for an easy-to-use digital wallet for buying, selling and accept bitcoin as a merchant. Bitcoin is a virtual currency that avoids having to pay bank fees and absorb exchange-rate losses.
With more than 20,000 Aussie users, both Bitcoin and CoinJar make it easier to purchase goods online.
CoinJar eases the way for merchants to start accepting bitcoin payments and offers solutions that allow buyers to use the currency. It’s cheaper than accepting credit card payment: The retailer’s fee is 1.1 percent per transaction.
Given that CoinJar offers complete security when making digital payments, these sorts of applications to your site could give Australians looking for alternatives to PayPal and other established methods a virtual nudge into the online world.
Find out more about CoinJar.
5. Use Social to Sell
Finding customers where they already are is a massive advantage.
U.S. startup Soldsie allows you to sell directly, via social media. By simply commenting on a picture posted on your fan page, your customer has the opportunity to order straight from your online shop by logging on to Facebook or Instagram.
Soldsie manages the process and makes it simple so that merchants wanting to take a headache out of selling on social media can focus on existing e-commerce channels and directly monetize social media followers.
Best of all, Soldsie now treats spam comments as regular comments, meaning they will be parsed without any additional work on your part.
Comments create conversion rates of four times more than links, and Soldsie claims that use of Soldsie has increased sales by a whopping 300 percent for its merchant partners.
Find out more about Soldsie.