Online Shopping – Killing Store Sales?

“It’s like watching a train wreak happening… Very few business will not have been affected in some way by the internet, and they really need to look at their business model.”

ninetonoon_biggerThe words of technology commentator Nigel Horrocks in a Radio NZ interview back in 2011. (27th Jan). He talked of retailers here and in Australia, and their total denial over the effects of the internet and customer buying trends on store sales. – Now 2014, little has changed….

Is it as bad here? Maybe we can learn from the Australians. Have a listen…

[ca_audio url_mp3=”″ url_ogg=”” skin=”regular” align=”left”]

Nigel Horrocks, RNZ

“…Customers expect to be able to go online and see what retailers have in stock”

Auzzie retailers were recently asking the government to change the rules to stop eBay enticing customers away, (read more) – To essentially help make up for their own lack of foresight and eCommerce planning.

The web is all about offering better service, not just throwing up a pretty looking website with no good sales strategy behind it. A good website is never a static brochure or ‘branding’ exercise. People visit websites for a purpose, like seeing what they have available, before they hop in the car…

1_ecommerce Some online-only stores have done well. But getting traditional small or large retail stores to add in an online catalogue or e-store has met considerable resistance. Consumers though are not falling behind, spending almost as much time online as consumers do in the US!

However cost and complexity is obviously an issue with small businesses. $10,000-$25,000 is a typical cost to setup a professional online shop. The big chains often invest ten times this amount. But it not just the upfront costs. These systems all need constant work to keep them up to date, with some stores hiring a dedicated IT person to do it. More overhead…

We now need traffic and sales

And the really big question, how do you market the website? Is there even a strategy and budget to get people to come to the site? Many mistakenly just expert Google to send them traffic. Yeah, right….

e-catalogue website For small retailers the $10-25k budget plus marketing and support overhead isn’t always viable. The cost of building the ecommerce webstore for a small retailer may be more than the likely income generated per year.

But ecommerce is a big step. Our advice is to always start with a low cost WordPress blog or catalogue-only WordPress website, focusing upon bringing customers into the physical store. Running these sites for 6-12 months also provides valuable data on what customers are really interested in. Once you’ve seen the benefits and added sales volumes, you can then better plan for your full eCommerce site…

In fact to avoid the business owner even to have to understand eCommerce or hire a developer, a good option is to just use an online pre-built shop like Shopify. Sure these things suck at getting search traffic, but at least the setup and running costs are low, paying a flat fee per month. It is a good training platform into online…. Sometimes it even makes a modest profit.

Getting Google traffic – Jim’s View

Finally, another view from a technologist in Auz. Nigels comments were echoed by our resident SEO guru in Melbourne.

Scroll to Top