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The Ultimate Guide For Starting an Online Store in Australia

Updated on  June 14, 2018

8 Min Read
Reading Time: 8 minutes

Thinking of starting an online store in Australia?

You couldn’t have chosen a better time to do so. With the country’s growing $32bn+ ecommerce market, running your own ecommerce store can be an enticing opportunity to make serious money.

create online store australia

The only problem: you don’t know where to begin for starting an online store. You find the process puzzling and complicated and are not sure where to begin.

Now you can relax. Because in this guide, I will walk you through all the eight key steps you need to get your online store up and running.

8 Steps to Starting An Online Store in Australia

  1. Decide What You Want to Sell and Your Target Audience
  2. Register Your Domain Name And Business
  3. Build Your Store on The Right Ecommerce Platform
  4. Invest in The Latest Ecommerce Store Design
  5. Track Your Store KPIs
  6. Advertise Your Store Using A 360 Marketing Strategy
  7. Have A Logistics Plan
  8. Select The Right Payment Gateway and Method

Decide What You Want To Sell And Your Target Audience

First things first; before starting an online store in Australia, decide what your store is about. You need to think about what business model and plan you are going to adopt, and what you want to sell. For more details, read Ecommerce Business Models That Work in 2018 [Guide].

If you want to set up a B2C ecommerce store selling consumer goods, insights show that homeware and appliances, groceries, and fashion are the three most in-demand items in Australia at the moment. These items are expected to gain more popularity , and selling these can be a good option to earn money.

Many entrepreneurs make the common mistake of focusing on what they should sell without looking at who they should sell to before starting an online store. In doing so, they fail to frame the product or service offering around their target audience. In other words, when choosing what to sell, don’t ignore to look at key factors (including age group, income levels, and location) that define your target market.  

Source: NAB Online Retail Sales Index

According to the table shown above, 35-44 year olds spend the most online. But, for each product category, the age groups and spending patterns vary. It highlights the share of spending for  Australian shoppers per category, the age groups and their spending variations in different groups.

If you decide on selling electronic games and toys, for example, you should target the 18-24 age when starting an online store.

Register Your Domain Name And Business

Once you have figured out your target audience and product, you should now register your domain name and business online. Your domain name should ideally match the product you wish to sell. For example, if you are starting an online store that sells books, you are better off using words such as ‘read’ or ‘book’.

To register your domain name, click here. Insert the domain name you wish to select and check its availability.

It will also ask you what domain extension you want to use. To create an online store for the Australian audience, choose the .au extension. But, if you want to go global or plan to do so in the near future, choose the .com extension.

The cost of your domain will depend on its availability and domain extension. Usually, .com extensions tend to be more pricey. But, you can register a domain name for as cheap as $30.

Build Your Store on The Right Ecommerce Platform

So far you have chosen what product to sell and register your store’s domain name. Now comes the most important part of all – choosing the right platform to create an online store.

If you are a beginner, you should select from the three most user-friendly ecommerce applications. These are:

  • WooCommerce
  • Magento
  • PrestaShop

WooCommerce

As a popular WordPress plugin, WooCommerce offers a user-friendly interface and tons of customization tools. Its incredible flexibility and strong platform level analytics make it an excellent choice for starting an online store for beginners.

Pros:

  • Cost-effective
  • Thousands of free and responsive themes
  • Easy to set up and customize
  • Easy to integrate payment options
  • SEO friendly
  • Large community of experts

Cons:

  • Limited scalability
  • Performance constraints

If you are keen on starting an online store using WooCommerce, click here.

Magento

Powering several industry-leading names, such as Samsung, Ford, and Olympus, Magento is the choice of 150,000 and counting ecommerce stores. It offers a suite of important tools for marketing, SEO, and cart development. Magento is mobile-friendly, scalable, and can manage multiple ecommerce stores.

Pros:

  • Open source platform
  • Highly scalable
  • SEO friendly
  • Flexible design
  • Integrates a variety of payment options
  • Advanced shopping cart and order features
  • Free demo available

Cons:

  • Requires development and programming skills
  • Takes time for initial setup
  • Needs professional expertise for maintenance

For more reasons why Magento is the right pick for starting an online store, click here.

PrestaShop

PrestaShop is an open-source application used by 100,000 online stores. It is extremely easy to use, and its lightweight structure needs fewer resources. More importantly, since it doesn’t have a premium version, you get to enjoy all ecommerce features without spending another cent.

Pros:

  • Easy to install, configure, and customize
  • User-friendly dashboard
  • Wide range of customizable themes
  • Available in 40 languages
  • Not resource intensive

Cons:

  • Limited scalability
  • Lacks dedicated support

Use Best Ecommerce Store Design and Functionalities

Once you have chosen the right ecommerce platform, you should invest in premium store designs and functionalities. Doing so can help make it easier for you to create a strong first impression and get more conversions.

Store Design

How your store looks impacts how easily you can capture traffic and convert them into sales. This not only involves using more whitespace and improving website navigation from your homepage, but also how you use multimedia to enrich your store and present your products.

Check out 27 Best Ecommerce Websites With Stunning Designs and UI for starting an online store with outhe tstanding user experience.

Functionalities

Functionalities such as themes, plugins, extensions, and modules add more weight to your ecommerce store’s operations through better marketing insights, maintenance and bug fixes, and conversion optimization.

The following are the top themes and add-ons for each ecommerce platform.

WooCommerce

Magento

PrestaShop

Track Your Store KPIs

Before starting an online store, you should know what key performance indicators you need to use in order to track and assess your store’s performance. Without it, you will never know how well (or poorly) your store is performing.

The following are ecommerce-specific KPIs that you should consistently monitor:

Conversion Rate (%): the percentage of site visitors who purchase from your store. The higher your conversion rate is, the more sales your ecommerce store makes.

Average Order value: this measures the revenue you earn per order. Use it to offer discounts, upsell, and sell other items in bundles.

Shopping cart abandonment: this measures the number of visitors who do not finalize the transaction at the checkout. Customers may opt for this due to lengthy checkout forms, high shipping or delivery fees, or lack of payment convenience.

Revenue on ad spend: this shows the revenue earned per advertising spend. This is critical for understanding how effectively you have spent your ad campaigns. The higher the figure, the better.

Customer lifetime value: CLV shows the expected revenue of customers for their lifetime. It helps indicate customer retention and loyalty.

Map overlay: this shows which visitors belong to different countries and states. This can be especially important if you want to cater products for  a specific state or city or if you want to export to another country.

Promote Your Store Using a 360 Marketing Strategy

You need to adopt a holistic approach to your marketing and advertising strategy for starting an online store. For this, you will need to use an array of digital marketing tools from SEO and PPC to content marketing and mobile lead generation.

Here are the basic digital marketing methods you can use:

SEO and SEM: optimize your online store to rank high on top search engines using relevant keywords, meta titles, descriptions, and forum participation, etc.

Blogging: publish blog posts that offer value through product announcements, tips, and tricks, best products to buy to capture your visitors’ interests.

Social Media Marketing: have a broad social media presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other channels to widen your store’s reach and for store branding.

Online ads: create and run ad campaigns through Google Adwords, Bing ads, and Facebook ads to generate traffic, awareness and demand for your store.

Email marketing: use email marketing to engage customers with new product features, special and more. Use best email marketing practices to remind customers to complete their checkouts if they have abandoned their shopping carts and increase engagements.

Select Relevant Payment Methods And Gateways

Before starting an online store in Australia, you need to make sure it maximizes conversions. For this, you will need to opt for the right payment gateway and methods to speed up ecommerce transactions.

Here are the relevant payment methods and gateways for Australia.

Payment Methods

  • Credit cards (Visa, MasterCard)
  • POLi Internet Banking (Australian real-time bank transfer service)
  • Ewallets (PayPal, Masterpress, Visa checkout)
  • Mobile Payments
  • Bank Transfers
  • Cash on Delivery

The payment methods you pick will depend on your audience, type of ecommerce products sold, website security requirements, and convenience.

For instance, if you are an online food retailer, credit cards, mobile payments, and cash on delivery are suitable payment options. On the other hand, if you are offering downloadable software programs, you may need more secure forms of payment, such as Ewallets and online bank transfers.

Payment Gateways

There are many other payment gateways that are available in both Australia and globally.

You need to consider the prices of payment gateway providers, whether you have the required extensions and plugins. The preferred methods for your target market for starting an online store that offers convenient payment solutions.

Have a Logistics Plan

Your logistics plan is the final piece of the puzzle when starting an online store. Forget to get this in place, and you won’t make a single sale.

You can opt for in-house distribution by hiring riders to deliver items to customers. If this is difficult, outsource it to a third-party delivery company that can package and deliver items to customers on their own.

There are a number of ecommerce packaging and delivery companies that can do the work for you. Among these are:

Make sure to evaluate its pricing, speed of delivery, and packaging quality before starting an online store.

Wrapping Up

Follow these 8 steps for starting an online store with ease. For more information, check out 20 best ecommerce sites in Australia. Don’t forget that once your ecommerce store is live, it is your web hosting’s performance that will make your store stand out from others.

 

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About The Author

Fahad Fareed

Fahad Fareed is a digital content specialist at Cloudways who is impassioned about following the latest marketing and tech industry updates. He spends his spare time working out, reading books, and watching Netflix shows.

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