Looking to take your e-commerce business overseas? Profitable new markets are opening up with a taste for Aussie products. Now is the time to take the plunge.
By Denise McGrouther, Managing Director of DHL eCommerce Australia
Back in the days before e-commerce, exporting was beyond the reach of most SMEs since it was cumbersome and marketing products to overseas audiences required spending huge advertising budgets on traditional mediums. Thanks to technology and the beauty of e-commerce, exporting today is often merely a matter of signing up to an e-marketplace.
In Australia, we are also extremely well placed to take full advantage of the opportunities cross-border e-commerce offers. Not only are we open to online innovation, we are also outward looking and already have a great reputation for ‘Made in Australia’ products. And despite a strong prevalence of international brands, our e-commerce landscape is well populated with a diverse range of small and medium-sized domestic e-tailers.
In Australia, we are also extremely well placed to take full advantage of the opportunities cross-border e-commerce offers.
A strong home market
Australian online shoppers mostly spend on homeware, media and groceries. In fact, as a whole, Australia’s e-commerce market grew by 10 percent to US$10.5 billion last year, and this year, it is predicted to grow to US$11.7 billion. According to Cloudways, national and international sites popular with Australian shoppers include Kogan, The Iconic, Gap, Staples, ASOS, BOOHOO and ZAPPOS to name just a few.
The strength of Australia’s e-commerce economy is also reflected in the attitudes of business owners. In fact, according to the 2017 DHL Export Barometer, Australian exporter confidence has been at its highest since 2011, with some 78 percent of Australian exporters generating orders from online channels. The past five years have also seen SMEs significantly grow online sales.
Making the leap
Nevertheless, Australia’s small businesses could do better. According to a recent study published by the Australian Post Office, of the approximately 1.4 million small businesses selling online, around 837,000 (60 percent) have yet to reach customers outside of Australia.
So, what’s stopping them? After all, in addition to traditional markets with a hankering for Aussie products such as the UK, the USA and NZ, online business is booming across Asia Pacific and Latin America. In the Asia Pacific region, for instance, the biggest e-commerce market is China followed by Southeast Asia, Japan, South Asia, South Korea and Hong Kong.
Australia’s exporters also have an edge thanks to the country’s image as a trusted brand.
Thanks to low barriers to access and a raft of free trade agreements, selling into them is also easier than ever before. And where the region’s huge diversity once hampered access, online marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon, Alibaba, Rakuten in Japan, BliBli in Indonesia, and Lazada across Southeast Asia now make reaching millions of international consumers very easy.
Australia’s exporters also have an edge thanks to the country’s image as a trusted brand. A recent survey conducted by Bain & Company showed that the Chinese, for instance, have a high regard for Australian products.
Giving SMEs more customer-winning options
Of course, at DHL eCommerce we have been doing our bit to help Australian SMEs reach these exciting new markets. Our dedicated team of experts generate innovative solutions and provide businesses with global reach backed by local expertise. We recently launched a new distribution center in Melbourne that will support the growth of cross border e-commerce to new markets, utilizing DHL’s networks and routes to drive cost efficiencies for customers. Together with our existing distribution centers in Sydney, we will now be in an even better position to support the ever-growing Australian exports in a more cost efficient way for our customers.
The opportunities provided by cross-border e-commerce are there for the taking. New markets offer huge untapped potential that Australian SMEs are extremely well equipped to exploit. For companies that have yet to put a toe into the water, now is a great time to do so. Today’s e-commerce environment and logistics solutions also make it surprisingly easy.
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