So, You Fancy Starting An Online Store in Sydney

So, you fancy running a web store in Sydney? You’ve seen the BigCommerce, Volusion and co. ads plastered all over YouTube, Wired or your favourite blog. Those YouTube ads make it look easy. You can do this yourself or get help from a web designer in Sydney.

Start-An-Online-Store-in-Sydne NSW

You have a vision of grandeur turning your favourite hobby into a national entrepreneurship, selling widgets and gadgets Sydney wide. You see yourself sitting there in your pyjamas answering the odd email, doing occasional mail drops and watching the money pile up.

This can be true. There are many online tutorials, blog posts and guides on the benefits of running a Sydney web store. There are also a few negatives to consider – but don’t let these stop you. This post is just a semi-serious and semi-humorous list of things to consider when opening your web store and how to go about dealing with them.

The customer isn’t always right.
You will get customers you cannot please:

  • Your prices are too high (they don’t consider operation costs, shipping, returns, tax and other expenses).
  • Your overnight shipping isn’t fast enough.
  • The colour doesn’t accurately represent the product to the nth degree on his or her screen.

These folks will run to the Fair Trading Office at the drop of a hat. They know how to process a chargeback. They know their rights.

So, you better know yours. Fortunately, the Fair Trading Office in most instances is a toothless tiger and also recognises the customer is not always right. They are more of a mediation service and not a litigation one. You better get to know the ins and outs of them in each state!

You will also need to know how to fight a chargeback. Not only do you lose the cash, but the banks fine you as well. Also, PayPal pretty much always sides with the customer.

Maybe you’re shipping overseas. Lost international mail? Slow international mail? Multiple jurisdictional issues? Foreign customs problems? Trademark issue in what country?

Do you like working 24/7?

You will need to set up a strict schedule and channel support through some kind of filtering software or you may be overwhelmed with customers coming at you via phone, mobile, Skype, chat and multiple email accounts at all sorts of ridiculous hours.

People will ring your mobile at 11pm on a Sunday. Disgruntled customers will attempt to subscribe it to foreign SMS spammers. Foreign customers may ring during business hours. Too bad Friday afternoon in California equals Saturday morning in Australia.

More time and effort equals more profit right? You may find yourself working all day and night and still turning over the same amount of sales.

Vacation? What vacation? The internet waits for no one. You need to get those orders in mail to keep the impatient customers at bay.

Maybe schedule your vacation for January-February when no one buys anything.

Where have all the sales gone?

The glut of Christmas is over, it’s January and someone has turned the sales machines off. The customers have run out of money and hopefully you made enough holiday sales to tide you through January and February. Hopefully 1. You can afford to restock and 2. You didn’t spend the share you need to give to the ATO.

Do you mind if I pick it up in person?

If you run this business from a residential location do you want customers knowing where you live? Do you want them to be able to look up the home address of your Directors in the ASIC listing and pay you a visit on a weekend? It does happen. Do you want to deal with some angry 6’4″ Neanderthal, who fancies himself the next Tony Soprano, over $20 while you are also trying to shoo Mormons away?

Dear Purchase Manager pleased hear you must be happen in widget biz.

You will be hassled like clockwork by Chinese intermediaries and manufacturers trying to get you to import their weird and wonderful products. If you do decide to import some goods, use payment options that can be reversed (Credit Card or PayPal), like your customers do.

Clumsy postal workers.

Products will arrive damaged or late no matter how well you bubble wrap them and get them out on time. Some won’t leave calling cards. Customers may even break a product and blame the post office to seek a refund.

Even better customers will type their names and addresses in completely wrong and it’s your fault. You should have known the real postcode for Wagga Wagga off by heart.

Too little profit on the merchandise you love to sell.

You started out wanting to sell sexy vintage garments and end up selling plus sized prom dresses. Often you find a niche opens up and you make great sales and decent margins. It just might not be the business you had in your heart.

There’s still hope.

Now don’t let all this dissuade you. There are many stay at home mums and dads turning over 6 figures. There are traditional businesses who have moved fully online and swim in money, Scrooge McDuck style. They have found a niche, found the customer base and have eliminated, or simply minimised, the issues raised above.

Good luck and for further inspirational stories we recommend

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