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How to Build an Online Store in Australia in 10 Steps (With Advice From Experts!)

Updated on August 19, 2022

17 Min Read
How to Build an Online Store in Australia

Running an online store in Australia can be a financially rewarding business opportunity. But that’s only possible if the store is set up the right way.

Jumping in to create an online store without the right direction can leave you with wasted efforts, time and money. You’d be highly prone to making errors and mistakes, which you can avoid when you have some guidance.

This article covers the ten steps you need to build a successful online store in Australia. We’ve also covered some success stories to help you better understand what it takes to create and run a successful online store in the country.

Your customers deserve a fast and safe eCommerce experience!

Cloudways offers optimized hosting specifically built to meet the needs of eCommerce stores and help them perform better.

Why have an online store in Australia?

From an investor’s perspective, Australia is a great place to start an online business.

Data from the International Trade Administration shows that the country stands at 11th position on the list of largest ecommerce markets around the globe.

The revenue for Australian ecommerce businesses is expected to hit 66.19 billion USD in 2025, according to Statista. The stat clearly indicates that Aussies love purchasing things online. You just need to establish an online store where they can get the things they need.

Want to know how it’s done? Let’s explore how to create an online store in Australia below:

The 10-step guide to creating an online store

There’s a lot that goes on behind creating an online store in Australia from the ground up. Without a roadmap, it can all feel too much to handle at once.

Following this 10-step process will help you with your decision-making and keep things manageable for you. By the end of the article, the question ‘how to start an online business in Australia?’ should be marked out of your mind.

Let’s begin right away!

1. Research the product(s) you want to sell

The first step to creating an online store in Australia is to decide what you want to sell.

You can’t have a store that sells everything to everyone. On paper, it may look amazing, but in reality, that’s a recipe for disaster.

Choosing the right product to sell is the key to success in the online world. It’s always a good strategy to start with one or a few products. You can definitely expand as the business grows.

How to choose the right product? Well, several variables need consideration. Dedicate some time for the product hunt and then quickly progress to the next steps.

  • Explore recent trends

Look for what people are buying. Selling trendy products is a good way to jumpstart your business.

You can visit different marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, eBay, etc., to get an idea of trending products. If you want to operate on a private labeling model, then here are some private label products to sell.

  • Solve a problem

People will happily buy from you if your product solves their problems.

There are several pain points that your customers can have. Figure them out and then offer a solution. Selling products that solve problems is a good way to start an online business in Australia that can grow fast.

  • Keep an eye on high-potential trends

If you manage to catch trends in the early stages, you can capitalize on the early mover’s advantage.

Executing this point requires thorough research. Only get into such products when you have absolute conviction in them.

A few places where you can find products in their discovery phases:

  • Social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc.)
  • Reddit
  • Google Trends
  • Trend Hunter
  • SpringWise
  • Consider the cost

Your goal is to find products that have higher profit margins. Also, have an estimate of your net profits.

A lot of people just look at the cost of sourcing the product and deduct it from the market price. They don’t factor in other overheads such as marketing costs, product delivery costs, etc. Never overlook costing when starting an online business in Australia.

Knowing the costs will help you determine the right pricing strategy and get close estimates of your profits.

2. Determine your ideal buyer persona

Once you finalize your product, determine who you’ll sell it to.

Not everyone will purchase from you. Your job is to find those who will.

Creating the ideal buyer persona will help clear up things for you. You’d know their tastes, preferences, purchasing power, habits, etc.

How to create a buyer persona? You can do that using two data sets:

  • Demographics
  • Psychographics

When covering demographics, you’ll work with elements like age, disposable income, and the whereabouts of your target audience.

When covering psychographics, you’ll work with key information like what interests your target audience, what struggles they face, or what’s their decision-making strategy.

These are the key factors that you should research. Once you gather this key data, assimilate it to create your ideal buyer persona. You can even give your created personas a name and a story.

Creating appropriate buyer personas is crucial. It’ll help you address them in a way that feels personalized to them.

Your sales and marketing strategies will be penetrative and reap better results.

Missing out on this step leaves you with an online store whose best sales strategy is to pray for a jackpot.

Creating an online store in Australia isn’t a tricky feat. But it’s only worth it when you are certain of the product’s legitimacy.

Once you are done with your product hunt, do make sure that the product isn’t illegal to sell in Australia.

In most cases, you’ll get an idea of this when you are hunting for the product.

Products commonly available on Amazon, eBay, or other famous online Australian marketplaces are usually legal. So if you plan on selling something that others are selling as well, there’s not much to worry about.

But, if you finalized a unique product, check if it’s lawful to sell.

All products that follow Australian Consumer Law (ACL) standards are safe to sell.

If you have doubts, you can always get legal advice from professionals.

Once all is clear, you are set to expedite your online store’s creation.

4. Get a domain

Your domain name is the address where your online ecommerce store shall exist.

Put some thoughts and get a domain that befits your business. Choosing a creative, searchable domain name can greatly help your online business.

You can have any domain name you like as long as it’s not already taken. But, don’t fall victim to analysis paralysis. Sometimes, people just can’t finalize a name which slows them down from actually starting a store.

Here are a few tips that can help you get your perfect domain name:

  • Add a targeted keyword

A domain name with a keyword can help you get ranked and get discovered by your target audience.

For example, if you want to sell vegan products, having the word ‘vegan’ in your domain name will be a plus.

However, don’t get stuck on getting a keyword-focused domain. You can have any domain name discovered with the right marketing strategies.

  • Keep it simple

It’s great to be creative with your domain names but avoid selecting anything over the top. Keeping things simple will help people remember your domain name easily.

Also, avoid things that are too unfamiliar for your target audience. The easier your domain is to pronounce and spell, the better it is.

  • Be a little farsighted

If you plan on expanding your business in the future, then factor that in as well when choosing a domain name.

Your domain name should be relevant to your online store for as long as it operates. A lot of people get domains based on fads, and the names, unfortunately, become outdated after some time.

Once you finalize the domain name, you’ll need to decide on a TLD.

If you strictly want to run your online store in Australia, then get a .au extension. If you want to operate globally or expand in the future, get a .com extension.

The cost of getting a domain varies depending on the extension and seller you choose.

5. Pick your ecommerce store builder

There are several options for you to choose from. Each platform on which you can set up your ecommerce store in Australia comes with its native set of pros and cons.

ecommerce platform market shareSource: BuiltWith

Choosing the right platform is crucial for your long-term success. A common mistake that many beginners make is that they choose just anything without weighing in the pros and cons.

As a result, challenges arise once the store takes off. To help you circumvent this issue altogether, here’s a list of 4 platforms with their pluses and minuses that you can consider:

1. WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress.

Integrating this plugin on your website built on WordPress sets it up as an Ecommerce store. It powers approximately 28% of all ecommerce stores around the world.

Pros:

  • 100% customizable
  • Free and open source
  • Woocommerce supports thousands of extensions that you can integrate to optimize your online store
  • SEO tools integrated with WP to help your store rank better
  • Secure platform
  • A large community that you can refer to if you encounter any problems
  • Countless free and paid themes are available, which makes it easy to set up the store
  • Highly scalable

Cons:

  • You’ll have to purchase a domain name separately
  • Too many plug-ins and images can slow down the website. However, you can solve this issue by getting your site on Cloudways and enjoying lightning-fast load speeds.
  • You’ll need to buy some plug-ins to maximize Woocommerce’s potential.
  • Woocommerce doesn’t offer hosting. However, you can have optimal performance from your Woocommerce store by choosing optimized Woocommerce hosting by Cloudways.

Fully-Managed WooCommerce Hosting

Boost your online store, remain protected & maintain constant availability.

2. Magento

Magento is a popular platform upon which thousands of ecommerce sites are built. It’s highly scalable and offers several important tools for SEO that can help improve your store’s ranking.

But it’s not a beginner-friendly platform. If you lack a penchant for technical skills, you may need professional assistance from a Magento developer.

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 the initial setup
  • It demands a high budget.
  • Magento doesn’t offer native hosting. But, a premium magento hosting plan by Cloudways can be the perfect hosting partner for your Magento store.

3. Shopify

Shopify has made it really easy to set up an ecommerce store. It’s a dedicated platform to help flourish the ecommerce industry.

It’s a beginner-friendly ecommerce platform and makes it easy for entrepreneurs to set up an ecommerce store in Australia. More than 1.75 million ecommerce stores operate using Shopify.

Pros:

  • Extremely simple to launch an ecommerce store using Shopify
  • Big and responsive community
  • A plethora of themes and designs available for the store
  • Offers ecommerce stores that are mobile-friendly
  • Good for a store operating on a dropshipping model

Cons:

  • Advanced Shopify version with all functionalities unlocked is priced at $299/month
  • Limited customization options
  • Most add-on features are paid as well

4. Wix

Creating an online store in Australia on Wix is very easy. It’s a beginner-friendly platform that offers a basic ecommerce package for $17/month.

Getting a professional-looking ecommerce store on Wix doesn’t cost much.

Pros:

  • Cost-effective
  • Perfect for SMEs
  • You can try out the platform for just $5/month and then invest if you find it worth the money
  • Beautiful design templates
  • You’ll get a domain name

Cons:

  • Limited bandwidth and storage options
  • It’s a drag-and-drop platform only, which sometimes limits your creativity in designing
  • Primitive SEO tools make it a little tricky to rank Wix websites and ecommerce stores

6. Upload the products and optimize the store

Once you select the platform and have your eCommerce store built on it, it is time to get it ready for the users.

  • Upload the products

Upload the products with appropriate product descriptions. Your descriptions should be crisp and concise. It should provide value to the visitors. You must only use top-quality pictures to attract customers, as Dean Lee also advises in the section below where we cover tips from experts.

Your product description copy should be compelling enough to influence people to buy from your store. Great PDs also help with ranking on Google. Pay special attention to descriptions. Assuming that you are starting an ecommerce business in Australia, you should use the native dialect to make your descriptions relatable.

Amazon product description

Product description example, source: One Space

To extract the most value out of it, combine the descriptions with attractive call-to-actions (CTAs). You can also visit our blog, 12 Product Description Examples to Follow in 2022, to know more about writing killer product descriptions.

Once you’re done uploading products with relevant descriptions, it’s time to optimize the store.

Your store must have a solid SEO strategy. That way, you’ll rank better and beat the competition. Here are a few tips that you can implement and create an optimized online store in Australia:

  • Have speedy load times

Google and other search engines don’t like laggers. A store that takes more than 3 seconds to load is losing customers. According to Load Storm, just a second’s delay can lose you 7% in conversions and result in a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.

Make sure that your store loads fast. You drastically improve load times by choosing the right platform, theme, and hosting service.

Ideal-load-time-stats

Make your eCommerce store successful with Cloudways!

It’s so much easier to rank your store on Google when it loads fast. With Cloudways, you get optimized eCommerce hosting that can contribute to your store’s online success.

  • Have a clutter-free interface

A store that’s crowded with words, popups, and images will bring with it unnecessary distractions.

Your store should make it really easy for the visitors to make a purchase. The simpler the interface, the better it is. Keep this in mind when designing your store’s layout.

Even the fastest loading store will fail if people can’t navigate how to add products to the cart or have difficulties at checkout. Optimize the store and trash away anything that jumps to you as unnecessary.

Example-of-a-clutter-free-interface

Picture from Line 25

  • Personalize the content

Shoppers today want to feel special. Delivering royal treatment to the visitors can help your store outperform the competition.

One way to do that is by curating the store’s content according to your buyer persona. This links back to the second step of the article. Create content that attracts your ideal target audience. That’s a sure-shot way to boost sales.

Other tips for personalizing the content include offering personalized recommendations and customizing the store based on the device types of your users.

Also, entice your visitors with great deals and offers. People love discounts. You can boost your store sales by crafting an attractive pricing strategy.

7. Choose the right payment gateway

By now, most of your work for setting up an online store in Australia is done.

It’s time to integrate the right payment gateway for your business. Most ecommerce store builders offer several options for payment gateway integrations. You should choose the one that fits your business needs the best.

There are several factors to consider when selecting a payment gateway:

  • Cost

Most payment gateways deduct a cost for each transaction. Do compare the fee structures before making a decision.

  • Location Friendly

Your online store in Australia should have a payment gateway that accepts payments from commonly used payment channels in the country.

  • Ease of payment

Research and choose a gateway that doesn’t make payments a hassle. Several payment gateways have unnecessary checkout procedures, which can put off the clients and make them go.

Steer clear of such options unless your store absolutely needs them.

  • Mobile payment support

Over 55% of internet traffic comes from mobile devices. Choose a payment gateway that makes payment easy for mobile users.

Several popular payment gateways work well in Australia. Here are a few:

  • Adyen
  • Afterpay
  • Authorize.net
  • Paypal
  • Square
  • Stripe
  • Checkout.com

Be diligent with your research when selecting the best payment gateway for your online store.

8. Figure out the logistics

Your store is ready to go online. All that’s left is to figure out how you’ll fulfill the orders you’ll receive.

Figuring out the right shipping options is necessary for any eCommerce model.

Setting up efficient logistic strategies will be a big plus in customer retention. Bad delivery experiences for the customers can negatively impact sales.

According to Accenture, 56% of customers won’t shop again from a retailer that performed poorly with deliveries.

Here are a few points to consider when you handle your shipping requirements:

  • Have a shipping policy

There are several shipping strategies that you can implement for your online store in Australia.

  • Free-shipping
  • Same-day delivery
  • Flat rate shipping
  • Variable shipping fee

Determine your shipping strategy and then choose the right shipping company for execution.

Several shipping companies will fulfill the orders on your terms. You can partner up with them after carefully considering their offers and pricing.

  • Determine the delivery areas

Will you deliver internationally, pan-Australia, or just in a few cities?

When starting out, it’s best to cater to nearby areas and scale up as your business continues to grow.

  • Make it efficient

There are several software that can help make your logistics efficient.

Some examples are GoFrieght, Soloplan CarLo, Linbis, and Magaya Supply Chain. These platforms can help on several fronts, such as order tracking, freight invoicing, fleet management, and even inventory management.

You can also get tools and plugins from your ecommerce store builders. Make sure to have them integrated into your online store.

How you deliver the product is an important element that pieces everything together. Without an efficient delivery mechanism in place, your store will have a tough time performing well. Efficiency can be the game changer for your online business in Australia.

9. Take it live

You are set to go online once you figure out the points above. It’s time to finally start an online business in Australia.

This is where your website becomes accessible to your audience.

It’s wise to test everything one final time before going live.

Once you are satisfied with your ecommerce store, it’s time to take it online. You do that by selecting the right hosting services.

Your hosting provider can play an important part in the success of your ecommerce store in Australia. Many ecommerce store owners start out with cheap hosting services, which puts them at a disadvantage from the beginning.

Basic hosting services won’t help your business one bit. The common issues that you’ll face are:

  • Laggy webpages
  • Crashed servers
  • Security threats
  • Risks of a data breach

If you want your store to grow, it’s imperative that you choose reliable, scalable, and, most importantly, fast hosting.

A good hosting platform, like Cloudways, will give your ecommerce store an advantage from day one. You’ll get:

  • Faster load times for your website
  • 24/7 support service
  • Ironclad security
  • Scalable technology
  • Transparent pricing

Bringing your website to Cloudways will help you deliver a fast, secure, and an amazing shopping experience to your customers.

10. Market yourself on different platforms

It’s now time to get the word out about your existence.

Just getting the website live and waiting for people to discover your store will be a long journey to success. You’ll need to get the word out on different marketing platforms to attract traffic quickly to your store.

There are several marketing mediums that you can use to turn the game in your favor. Utilize these channels to bring traffic and customers to your online store:

  • Social media

Start working on this before you launch your store. That way, you’ll have an audience that can immediately migrate to your store once it’s ready.

There are several strategies that you can execute to spark interest in your upcoming store. Announcing discounts upon launch, sharing product reviews, and uploading teaser videos and posters are a few ways to get people excited about your store.

If you are selling a niche product, then find communities that use the product. You can find it on platforms like Reddit, Quora, Hive, etc.

  • Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing can provide the right punch to your sales and traffic numbers.

Identify influencers with strong followings who are relevant to your niche. They’ll help increase awareness of your newly created online store in Australia

Use influencer marketing to create hype before the store launch and generate engagements and revenue after you launch the store.

There are several platforms like Upfluence, Klear, CreatorIQ, etc., where you can connect with influencers and grow your business.

  • Paid Advertising

Run ads on Google, YouTube, and Facebook to get your store discovered.

Instagram and Pinterest are also two platforms that you can use to build a brand and help get your store discovered. Starting an online store in Australia won’t pay off if your target audience is clueless about your existence.

Running targeted ads is a high-impact strategy that gives results fast.

Organic marketing strategies like SEO and email marketing are also important, but it takes time for them to provide results.

It’s best to work on SEO and email marketing as a long-term strategy and to run paid ads for immediate results.

Expert tips on how to grow your Ecommerce store

To further help you with your online store’s creation and growth, we bring you tips from the experts who are already running successful ecommerce stores.

1. Take excellent product photographs and compose outstanding product descriptions.

DeanDean Lee – Head of Marketing at Sealions

Your online store’s photographs and descriptions are crucial. Product images are what lure visitors to your shop page.

You should include product shots on a white background and in context. personally, By presenting many photographs from different angles, you can help customers visualize your goods.

In the product description, you should include details not seen in the snapshot. Include size, fabric kind, and anything else the client can’t touch or smell. More detail helps both the customer and you.

Since you’ve provided all the information, you’ll get fewer consumer inquiries and more direct sales. Nothing is worse than receiving a return that doesn’t match the internet photographs. Make sure your product photographs and descriptions are clear and detailed. This strategy really helps me to grow my online store.

2. Design a website that is easy to navigate

Martin LassenMartin Lassen, Founder & CEO, GrammarHow

If your retailer’s website is simple and easy to use, customers will be able to find what they want quickly. Selling great services and products is useless if the customer process from search to purchase is difficult and time-consuming. A website’s design that is simple to navigate leads to a decreased bounce rate, more visitor engagement, and an increase in product and service sales.

A business’s success or failure may depend on whether or not it invests in a talented web designer or takes the time to learn how to code. If a consumer has trouble when entering a new website, they will likely leave and look elsewhere. Choosing design elements that make it simple for customers to find what they are looking for brings success to online stores.

3. Domain and business registration

Robert Warner, Head of Marketing, VirtualValley

In my opinion, the best advice for starting an Australian internet store is to register a company and a domain name. Register your domain name and business online once you have determined your target audience and product. Ideally, choose a domain name that reflects the product you plan to offer. Choose the.au domain extension if you want to target customers in Australia with your online store. However, if you plan to expand internationally shortly, you should go with the.com domain extension. If your domain name is available, the price will be determined by its domain suffix.. Typically,.com domain names are more expensive. However, a domain name can be registered for as little as $30.

4. Select the Appropriate Platform

Kenny Kline, President & Financial Lead, BarBend

As an expert, I feel that selecting a platform for your online store is crucial to its success. When it comes to e-commerce channels, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, as each has its own attraction depending on your budget and goals.

The objective is, therefore, to find a solution that matches your organisation. A typical e-commerce platform includes numerous business functionalities, such as a shopping cart, product display page, checkout, and payment gateway.

Customers are necessary for an internet store, yet creating a customer base is difficult. You may want to leverage the following you have on your social media sites; in this case, the platform you select must support the integration of additional applications.

This feature is useful if you wish to add functionality to your website that is not supported by your preferred platform. Additionally, you can peruse the websites of your competitors. Notate all the functional elements that could be added to your online store.

This exercise will also help you generate ideas for distinctive features. Operating an online store can be expensive. A major enterprise stands to gain the most from premium features. A smaller business, on the other hand, can prosper with a less expensive choice.

The sale of digital products, for instance, can be simply accomplished through straightforward platforms.

5. Be diligent with product research and store set up

Harry GallagherHarry Gallagher, Retirement Advice

The first was deciding what products to sell. We spent a lot of time researching what products were selling well online and what products we thought would be popular with our target market.

Another challenge was setting up the store itself. We had to learn how to use a shopping cart system, set up payment and shipping options, create a website, design a log, and brand our store.

The final challenge was marketing our store. We had to create a marketing plan and find ways to promote our store to potential customers.

We overcame the challenges by doing our research and by learning as much as we could about running an online store. Our close friends and family members experienced in online retail helped us a great deal.

We also had a lot of perseverance and determination. We knew it’ll be hard to set up and run a successful online store, but we were determined.

Some strategies that worked well for us included having a good product range, offering good customer service, and having a well-designed and user-friendly website.

We also invested in online marketing and used a variety of methods to promote our store to potential customers. This included using social media, search engine optimization, and paid advertisements.

Final Words

Now that you know how to create an online store in Australia, it’s time to act.

The roadmap provided above can help you establish a highly profitable online business. Remember, the journey is unique for everyone.

Depending on your business model, there’ll be challenges idiosyncratic to your business. Whether you succeed or not depends on how you tackle those!

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Raza Aslam Lakhani

I'm a digital content producer at Cloudways. I'm also a hodophile- always ready to explore new places and cultures. Other than that, I play guitar and love to indulge myself in deep, meaningful conversations. Always looking for opportunities to learn new things.

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