The Beginner’s Guide to Starting an eCommerce Business in Australia

Written on 15 October, 2021 by Webcentral
Categories E-commerce Tags e-commerce online business

eCommerce business in Australia is booming

Starting an eCommerce business in Australia is a great idea. eCommerce in Australia has massive potential. In the year ended June 2021, online shopping in Australia accounted for $52.1 billion, or 16.3% of total retail spend.

Australia Post is the largest shipper of online merchandise in Australia. They report that the sector is growing by more than 30% per year.  In July 2021 household participation reached a peak of 5.6 million households buying online.

Starting an online business in Australia stacks up for a range of other reasons too:

  • Expanding the reach of your business by connecting to the world
  • Enhancing access to your store by being open 24/7
  • Reducing costs – save on rent and salespeople, so you can invest in stock and marketing
  • Increasing customer conversions: digital data provides key info useful in better targeting and converting customers
  • Streamlining operations: digital technology can improve business processes


Read on to discover our four easy-to-follow steps to guide you in creating an online store in Australia.

1. Research – what do you need to know when starting an eCommerce business in Australia?

Know your market:

Before starting a business in Australia, research is essential. It is important to understand how Australians are shopping online. Do some research on some of the more successful eCommerce brands in the country. Understand what is working and why. What days of the week work best?  Are customers more likely to buy in the morning or evening? Be ready to decide which days of the week are best for outbound marketing campaigns, or new product launches.

Know your customer:

You’ll also need to ensure your business plan is complete.  Consider and define your target market. Think about their demographics, but also consider how they are likely to behave. You must be able to say what problem you are solving for the target market.  Review your primary competitors and understand what it is that you do differently and better.  Define the messaging requirements for this target market.

Develop your plan:

Decide how you are going to roll out your eCommerce plan.  Focus on a key target niche that is easy to identify.  Start small and make sure every part of the process is tested and functions well. First impressions are important. It is better to start slow and deliver 100% performance, than to make mistakes when customers are trying the eCommerce service for the first time. Establish shipping arrangements that can grow with your business and that meet customer expectations.

Understand your costs:

Pricing is a key consideration in your plan.  To price correctly you’ll need to predict costs as accurately as possible.  In addition to the costs of setting up your eCommerce store you should consider the following:

  • Domain name registration
  • Merchant, gateway or PayPal costs
  • Business expenses, such as GST/Tax, Income tax, business registration
  • Production and stock costs
  • Shipping costs
  • Storage costs
  • SSL encryption

2. Build – how to build an online store

Turnkey Solutions

There are several options available to build an eCommerce platform for your business.  When setting up an online store in Australia the cost certainty and proven performance of turnkey solutions stacks up well.


Smaller business start-ups with fewer product lines need to focus on cost efficiency.  They should also ensure that any revisions are readily available as they trial and update their eCommerce offer.  The ability to package your eCommerce store design with web hosting, domain name registration and SSL certificates is key to keeping costs down.

Customised eCommerce

If you need a more customised approach for your eCommerce business a professional web design package may be the right approach. Tailored services will ensure you have everything you need for setting up an online store in Australia.

Measure, test, refine and succeed

Be smart.  Starting an online business in Australia puts you in a great position to test different approaches. Make sure you can measure your performance as you go.  These performance measures will assist in refining your eCommerce setup. Your online store performance should be monitored using some, or all, of the following metrics:

  • Conversion Rate (%): the percentage of site visitors who purchase from your store
  • Average Order value: the revenue you earn per order
  • Shopping cart abandonment: the number of visitors who do not finalise the transaction at checkout
  • Revenue on ad spend: the revenue earned per advertising spend
  • Customer lifetime value: the expected revenue of customers for their lifetime
  • Map overlay: this shows which visitors belong to different countries or states


Try different product descriptions to determine which works better.  Test whether you need one or many product images to support the sale process. Setting up an online store that allows the flexibility to test and refine processes is the perfect way to grow your eCommerce business.

3. Launch – how to launch and promote your online store

Once you’ve built your online store your key focus should be driving traffic to the site. How people behave when they reach the site will soon show you what’s working. Your eCommerce business launch is designed to test and refine your strategy with real customers.

Use your existing networks and ask for feedback

Offer your existing customers and contacts incentives to visit your online store.  Provide a discount. Build in opportunities to learn about their experience through follow-up or feedback reviews.  In the early days of your eCommerce business that feedback can be important in shaping and growing your business. If the feedback is encouraging, ask your contacts to share their experience with others.

Join other networks and online communities

Don’t underestimate the value of putting a link to your store in the right place. Find and post on online communities in your industry. Join groups that your target customers frequent and become an active member. After you’ve built up connections, you can share a link to your eCommerce business.

Align to social media channels

Ensure your eCommerce business is linked to all social media channels that are appropriate for your target market.

Over the first month simply focus on driving traffic to your site. Watch and measure how they behave as you improve your eCommerce business and prepare it for a more aggressive marketing approach.

4. Grow – how to grow your eCommerce business

Promote your business with every communication

Ensure your eCommerce business address URL is included in every communication you undertake, from email signatures through to business cards.

Social media advertising

Let’s talk about Facebook and Instagram advertising. Social media is a great way to target customers and can be an effective tool in driving sales results for your eCommerce business.

Search engine advertising

Also known as paid search, pay-per-click or PPC, search engine advertising is a cost-effective way to find people who are actively looking for your business or offer. When someone searches with keywords related to your business, your ad will appear on page one of Google. And you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

Drive qualified traffic without advertising. SEO is designed to optimise your website so it’s easily found by Google. A long-term Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy can help you increase visitors to your site over time.

Start building your successful eCommerce business in Australia today

The time to build an eCommerce website from scratch is now.

Starting a new business in Australia can be fun and rewarding. Setting up an eCommerce site may seem daunting but it’s straightforward.  This eCommerce guide provides four simple steps; research, build, launch and grow. If you’d like more advice on how to start an eCommerce business contact our expert team at Webcentral.

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