In a recent conversation about eCommerce with a Brisbane legal firm, the use of cheap off-shore labour for eCommerce expertise came up. Why would an Australian retailer use a Gold Coast eCommerce Company vs an off-shore?
Similarly why should any Australian business pay $X hundred for documentation from a Brisbane law firm that could be purchased online from a UK or US law firm for under AUD $100 ?
MeMedia has been providing Australian customised eCommerce Shopping Cart solutions since 2001. And sharing this knowledge and expertise is a core value MeMedia deem important.
Credit Card Processing International Laws and Bank Rules
Visa and Mastercard are obviously international organisations and they set many rules for safe credit card processing. Using an eCommerce gateway remedies most of these issues so long as the credit card is processed on the gateway website and not on your own website.
Australian banks also have their own set of rules such as:
- ABN and contact details are visible on every page (normally in the footer)
- AUD and inc GST must be displayed beside every price on the website.
Applications for an Online Merchant Account should be made with your bank first. MeMedia prefer the NAB simply because they offer a good service.
Online Merchant Setup Tips:
MeMedia's eCommerce gateway preferences are eWay, NAB Transact and PayPal which are all plug-and-play within our eCommerce shopping cart software.
To begin the online merchant application process with the NAB, go here: http://www.nab.com.au/wps/wcm/connect/nab/nab/home/business/4/4/5?WT.seg_1=SEBBB&WT.ac=SEBBB
Once you've completed the process with NAB. You have the choice of choosing NAB Transact as your gateway or using eWay.
PayPal does not require an online merchant account with any banking institution to be setup but you must ensure that you're account is setup under a company not a trust. When you verify your account with paypal you will need a bank account!
On a side note. NAB are now offering the ability for customers to use China Union Pay cards through UPOP which integrate with the NAB Transact gateway. This is essential for any of you targeting the Chinese consumer market for eCommerce.
Australian Shipping Best Practices
For startup businesses shipping can be a major logistical nightmare. There are many solutions for startups with the most obvious being Australia Post.
The major issue is normally figuring out what to charge for shipping and how to ship the products purchased online and for most this means going back and looking at your profit margins to determine what your business can afford. Options include:
- Free Shipping
- Free Shipping for Orders over $X
- Real-time shipping calculations from Australia Post (maybe with some adjustment up or down)
- Custom shipping calculations
Be aware that not all shipping companies have the same shipping zones within Australia and costs to ship to each zone differs between freight companies. For example; Australia Post and Startrack Express have different rates to pockets of regional Australia, and are able to offer competitive rates with a guaranteed delivery policy.
For SMEs there is finally a solution which assists all startups with the challenge of choosing the correct shipping provider. Introducing, Smart Send. They're focus is on low volume users. Which if any of you have tried to setup a new account from major courier/freight companies, and expect them to pickup from your locaion you'd know that this is near impossible for startups.
For those of you who are sending a wide range of large and small sized packages the same problem applies with finding a courier company who will send both sizes. Using a shipping partner like Smart Send helps relieve this burden due to their wide range of accounts from Australia Post, Startrack Express, TNT etc.
Do your research here:
Smart Send: https://www.smartsend.com.au/
Australia Post Zones: http://auspost.com.au/parcels-mail/pricing-and-postage-guides.html
Startrack Express: http://www.startrackexpress.com.au/
Fastway Couriers Brisbane Pricing and Zones: http://fastway.com.au/images/pricing/dec_12/rate-schedule-brisbane-dec12.pdf
Fastway Couriers Gold Coast Pricing and Zones: http://fastway.com.au/images/pricing/dec_12/rate-schedule-goldcoast-dec12.pdf
Having dodgy legal documents is not really that smart. Not to mention you're probably not going to get an online merchant account approved if you do have dodgy terms. So the general rule here is that "It's better to be safe than to be sorry."
Choosing an Australian law firm is also going to offer you added security as they will always offer full liability for documentation they provide versus an off-shore law firm which will offer no liability.
Its important to cover your business against specific Australian laws and requirements from banking and financial institutions, government policies like warranty and returns, health advice and liabilities policies. Make sure your legal consultant can give you quality advice in your specific industry.
Keyword Research, Social Media and Search Engine Optimisation
Keyword Research and SEO are the foundations for every successful website. Knowing and understanding local nuances you need an Aussie to know what an Aussie wants. This assists in working out what keywords your website should be targeting to fit these wants and needs, and which, assists Website Page Structure (Website Architecture and Content Strategy.
Website Useability and Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) should be part of every website design. These tasks generally fall under the banner for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and more often than not, SEO is an after thought. This then results in changes to website design and structure which is rather frustrating for clients. Useability and CRO follow a lot of international standards however, local knowledge still wins hands down in understanding the website user and what they really want.
Once the website is complete an SEO code audit is a must to ensure all social and search engine opportunities are being grasped.
Not every business should be on every Social Media Channel but if your brand has a passionate target audience you may want to think about bigger and better ways you can integrate social into your website.
If you use international designers and developers for your eCommerce solutions, do they have the same ethics as an Australian Web Development Company?
Does Australian Law protect you against any illegal activity from international developers?
What will your customers think if their private information is stolen?
What security measures do international developers go to, to ensure your website FTP username and Passwords are kept safe? Their computer systems or email could be hacked by a disgruntled employee and your customers private information then appears on the international black market.
MeMedia place high importance on security of our software applications to assist our clients in reducing the possibility of a hack and privacy breaches.
Ready Made Solutions
You just might find that your local web development company has already solved your problem for you. They may already plug into the bank, accounting system or shipping company of your choice. Shopping networks such as eBay also have their own country specific technical differences which is often unkown to most startups until you're all up and running.
All it takes is a phone call to find out if you can implement your idea without having to custom develop every piece of your project.
Call 1300 MEMEDIA. We’re more than happy to chat.