How To Setup an eCommerce Store In Australia?

This post is by guest author, Umair Qureshi. This article has been edited and published with the author’s permission.

Australia is the 7th largest economy in the Asia-Pacific region and the 12th largest in the world. Since the last two decades, Australia has enjoyed uninterrupted economic growth, a result that is reflected in the per capita GDP of the country (the fifth highest in the world today). World Bank Group ranks Australia as the 15th easiest country to set-up and runs a business. Furthermore, the establishment process of e-commerce stores is so easy that you can set up a new business in just two days. Here, we shall focus on the process and potential hurdles of the establishment of e-commerce stores in Australia.

Establishment of an eCommerce store in Australia

For people who like to crunch numbers, here are some interesting statistics and facts pertaining to the Australian economy and eCommerce scenario in perspective:

Australia’s eCommerce sales were more than $20 billion in 2016 and, are estimated to exceed $24 billion by 2018.

eCommerce store in Australia

Australian eCommerce customer demographics are mostly dominated by the youth with the age curve around 30 years. This means a somewhat limited market as of now. However, this also implies that there is a huge potential for growth in the upcoming years. The number of online buyers is steadily increasing. At the moment, the number of online transactions is low, but the cart size is on the rise. All these cumulatively indicate that more and more people are comfortable with online shopping.

Australia is fortunate in terms of eCommerce and online business because it has a clear-cut high demographic yield that responds well to the market. 90% of online transactions in Australia involve three or fewer brands. This can also be interpreted as brand loyalty because customers trust the brand for the quality of products/services and remain loyal to the chosen brand. Therefore, it is important that an online store should establish itself as a trustworthy brand in the market.

Now, running an eCommerce store in the competitive Australian market is not that easy. Although there are a number of platforms that streamline the process of setting up and managing online stores, you as the owner/manager should also be well versed in the relevant fields such as logistics, referencing, and customer management.

So, if you wish to launch and manage an online store in Australia, read through this blog. This blog will help you to avoid the hurdles that have the potential to sink many online stores.

The process to Follow to Establish an E-commerce Store in Australia

The success of any business is dependent on proper planning and following a well-prepared plan. Setting up an eCommerce store in Australia is a step-by-step process that requires thorough planning and attention to minute details.

I will now present several important pointers that will help you come up with proper planning and action items for your business setup process.

1. Choose Your Legal Form

Opening an online store begins with the legal recognition of the brand/store. You will have to define the legal status of your store before registering it with the relevant services such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). This authority allows a registration number to your business. You could choose any legal status you see fit. However, I recommend that you opt for being registered as a self-employed entrepreneur or a sole proprietor. It is always best to consult an expert (an accountant or a business advisor) at this point.

2. Draft a Business Plan

A business plan documents all the required details about how your store will be established and how will it function. Many people skip this important step because creating a business plan appears too cumbersome to follow. However, following this step allows you to analyze your action plan and ensures that your project is on the right track at all times.

3. Choose A Domain Name

The choice of the domain name pretty much determines the future of your eCommerce store. Plan to invest several hours in discovering the right domain name for your store. A number of online tools (like Mashable, shopify) help you in choosing the best name for your new store. Remember that your domain name has to be catchy and unique.

4. Choose Your Hosting Service

Very few people actually know how to set up and manage servers. Even if you are among the very few of such technical experts, it is still a tedious and time-consuming process for you. I recommend that you opt for managed cloud-based hosting for your online store. This way you will be able to sidestep all server related issues (including security) and focus on your business full-time.

You are definitely wondering: which hosting provider to choose for your e-commerce store? A very legitimate question indeed! Choosing the right eCommerce web host, as Cloudways helps you by providing:

● 24x7x365 chat supports so that you are able to get quick help at all times.
● A powerful stack comprising of high-performing and optimized caching technologies.
● Auto-scalability with almost zero downtime.
● Dispersed data centres to reduce latency and target your audience more effectively.

5. Create the Store

There are many platforms in the market which you can use to open an online store. Depending on your requirements and technical expertise, you can choose Woo CommerceMagento, Prestashop, Opencart, or others. Some of these platforms offer turnkey e-commerce solutions, while others require extensive design and development skills. Other platforms request for HTML and CSS skills. A competent developer who specializes in eCommerce solutions could prove to be an ideal partner.

6. Standards and Technical Regulations

Suppliers and manufacturers have a legal and moral obligation to ensure that their products are safe for consumers to use. All products must comply with the appropriate safety standards, contain clear instructions for proper use, and include warnings about probable abuse. If a product does not meet the mandatory standards as set by Australian authorities, there is a risk of legal actions against the business.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) requires compliance with product safety, information standards, and the prohibition of dangerous goods as declared in the Trade Practices Act. The “Fair Trade Offices” also play an important role in the safety of products.

7. Finding and Dealing with Suppliers

As an eCommerce store owner, reliable suppliers should be of utmost and important priority. For this, explore your industry to discover wholesalers. Once you have the suppliers lined up, you need to set up logistics.

Many people prefer handling the supply lines through the post office. However, third-party logistics partners such as DHL are also popular business partners. Whatever your choice is, it is essential to negotiate an advantageous contract in your favour.

8. Manage the Inventory

No customer, willing to buy, likes the “Out-of-Stock” notice. To avoid this (embarrassing) situation, it is important that you pay close attention to inventory management. This is an ongoing process and requires good relationships with your suppliers and logistics partners.

Sales data analysis is an important part of inventory management. Over a period of time, you will acquire the skill of juggling between often contrasting requirements of inventory management.

9. Define (Legal) T&C and Policies

Well defined and easy to understand policies are one of the essential requirements for any eCommerce store. Many customers often check out the payment and return policies prior to finalizing their purchase decision.

In order to come up with an ethical and concrete set of terms and conditions, ask a lawyer to go through your draft of T&C and policies. He will ensure that your draft complies with the existing Australian consumer protection laws.

10. Build Your Online Presence

“You can’t just open a website and expect people to flood in. If you really want to succeed you have to create traffic.”- Joel Anderson, Walmart CEO

Once your e-commerce site/store is ready, you have to build your online presence in order to reach new customers and build rapport with them. This step demands careful planning and working with vendors and suppliers so that you could build a solid and trustworthy online presence on social media channels. This necessarily involves good digital marketing strategies that include an email campaign, a customer loyalty program, a blog on a persistent basis, and a proactive presence on multiple social networks.

Closing thoughts – Now Realize Your Dream

As I mentioned earlier in this article, Australia is the country where people are not at all stranger to online shopping. Proper planning and meticulous attention to details are the real keys to the success of your online store in Australia.

Top 10 Things: eCommerce store owner should know about Magento

Magento is a leading eCommerce platform, helping millions of online retailers generate higher revenue. It can be used for businesses in all shapes and sizes. On Magento, you do not need to be worried even if you are just a new kid on the block. The platform offers complete scalability and offers optimal performance for all types of business websites.

There are two versions of Magento:  Enterprise and Community, the latter being free while the former comes at a price. There are numerous tweaks and modifications that you can do both on the frontend and the backend of the platform to optimize marketing and analytical techniques to improve your administration options. It offers several features for improving the shopping experience of your customers.

Here are some of the main aspects that you need to know before you get onto the platform:

Available for everyone


– With the help of Magento, anyone can open an eCommerce store as it is an open source platform. This means that anyone out there can modify or update the customizable features on the platform owing to the complete access that has been provided for the users.

– It will help you to set-up and maintain the website very easily. However, if you need to hire a developer to build your website, Magento can help you to run estimates to see if the cost of a developer is cheaper over time as compared to the cost of a hosted eCommerce solution.

Customer Support

magento Customer Support

– Magento is the best solution as compared to other eCommerce platforms, owing to the fact that it has all the necessary resources that can help you get started on the platform and create your own website.

– The platform houses numerous resources like blogs, forums, customer support teams etc., to answer questions and provide all kinds of services for customers and developers.

– Stay up to date with the latest features in technology as well as security. Magento keeps updating its existing features and also adds new features, modules and security applications, thereby keeping the playing field constantly versatile and exciting.


magento Performance

– Magento will help you get more attention from potential customers by ensuring circumstances that guarantee high performance as well as tailored solutions for your customers

– It is very important to understand that the speed of your website can easily affect the rank of your page in Google search results. Moreover, a slow website can adversely impact the user experience. Today, if a page takes long to load or fails to perform to the user’s expectations, it will certainly face the wrath of low traffic and considerably lower conversions. In order to ensure that a business website does not have to go through this, Magento constantly updates the features on the platform, thereby providing businesses with the required solutions and the necessary parameters for taking care of problems.

Third-Party Integrations

magento Third Party Integrations

– Magento can help you use other tools, databases, extensions or custom modules. It has a great third party interface which can help you in faster development of your eCommerce site as compared to other websites.

– You can explore various databases, search engines, applications, shipping methods, and even payment gateways, with the help of various third-party integrations that can be used very easily with Magento.

–  Owing to the considerable freedom that you have on the website, you can personally introduce your own database onto the platform, including elements such as external payment sources as well as new shipping methods.

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization

– You would certainly want your page to be on the top of the list of search results. Well with Magento, it just gets easier. Magento is search engine friendly and has inbuilt structures and checks which are essentially designed to optimize your web content.

– It comes with a bucket full of preloaded features to make adding keywords to descriptions, URLs, sitemaps, rich snippets, etc very easy and convenient.

How does it do all this? Well, each category and product has a unique HTML URL, keywords and Meta tags. This will give you a higher search engine ranking as major search engines are not able to crawl through the dynamic URL. The purpose of dynamic URLs is to create a temporary page on the basis of the dynamic navigation that is a part of the Magento platform. For instance, if you enter a product called Acer in the category “laptop”, Magento creates a dynamic page for the query, owing to which the search engine takes it as a unique page even though it does not exist in online reality.

Magento for Mobile

Magento for Mobile

– Mobility is one of the hottest business characteristics in today’s world. Every retailer would certainly like to keep their customers’ convenience very high on their wish-list, which in the case of mobility is quite high. Well with Magento, building mobile compatible web sites becomes very easy. With Magento, integration of features with responsive design is much easier as compared to integration of websites through other platforms.

– By utilizing the powerful customizable features of the platform, you can make sure that your customers are able to access your website through various mediums PC, Laptop, Smart Phone or a Tablet.

“According to some major stats, it was found that Magento as a platform is being used by approximately 26 percent of all the sites which are in the top 1 million categories.”



– The amount of flexibility that Magento offers you as an eCommerce platform is unparalleled to anything you can experience on any other platforms.

– The numerous extensions, as well as the heavily customizable features on the platform, can help you literally design your own “Magento”. What we mean by this is that the degree of customizability is so high on the platform that it can allow each and every business to create its very own unique brand or experience with relative ease.

Multi-Lingual, Multi-Stores and Multi-Website

Multi-Lingual, Multi-Stores and Multi-Website

– Magento is the online platform which provides you with a single admin dashboard from where you can manage multiple ecommerce stores, in multiple languages, as well as multiple websites, with convenience and ease. This can make you feel like a supreme being controlling the workings of numerous sections of the online world through a touch a few buttons,

– The backend system in Magneto empowers webmaster to make necessary changes in catalogue items, and make required updates across multiple eCommerce sites. It will help you to track inventory, billing, product updates, customer info, and many more from a single administration panel.

– The scenery from this central point of control is beautiful, especially because it can help you integrate and manage third party interactions with the multiple websites and the stores that you manage.



– Magento can be used without the fear of having aspects like the traffic volume and quantity of content affecting the performance of the website.

– Magento can handle the change in traffic volume in your website with ease, allowing you to add features without taking the entire system completely offline during an overhaul.

Content Management System

 – Magneto is the most flexible and feature-rich of all the content management systems available in the market.

So, if you want to be in total control, managing multiple e-commerce stores, tracking their growth and development, and literally changing the online landscape in order to facilitate upgrades in their functionalities and features, you know where to go. Are you up for God Mode?

Magento 1.x versus Magento 2.0

Not to be confused with a shade of pink, Magento is an e-commerce platform built on open source technology. Magento provides online businesses with an open-ended shopping cart system, as well as substantial control over the design, content and performance of their e-store. Developed in 2008, Magento today offers efficient and powerful marketing, search engine optimization, and catalogue-management tools.


A dose of insight: Owned by eBay Inc., it has become one of the most popular e-commerce platforms with an estimated market share of just under twenty-three percent, as on 20th May 2016. [Limited to Alexa top 1M].

Its success over other e-commerce platforms can be attributed to its highly customizable and fully scalable website structures, user-friendly interface, high speed, awesome performance parameters and very strong and efficient community support.

For a long time now, speculations had been made as to the introduction of the newest, most powerful version of Magneto – 2.0. And the wait seemed never-ending. Allan McGregor, the lead developer of Magento, had assured that the new version was worth the wait.

Finally, after a long wait of four years, Magento 2.0 was released on 17 Nov 2015.

Now that this wait has finally ended, let us look at some of its benefits over Magento 1.x and decide for ourselves whether it was “worth the wait”.

Magento 2.0 has been created for the main aim of increasing profits by creating a better user experience. It allows you to give your website a personalised look with the help of a page builder. The number of steps before check-out has been reduced again to make the process simpler and less time consuming for customers. It eases the customisation process as its drop and drag interface does not require technical know-how for modifying containers and blocks.

What’s New?


Magento 2.0 has brought in a new default theme, codenamed ‘Luma’.

Luma is a clean, eye-catching theme that has some substantial changes compared to Magento 1’s Madison Island theme, including tiles structure, fully responsive images and typography, and better performance.

A brand new, user-friendly backend user interface (UI) was also introduced by the team at Magento Inc in the new version.

The team has worked on exponentially improving performance standards. New built-in technologies like HTML 5, CSS 3, PHP 5.5x and Apache 2.2, along with a full-page cache have been integrated, which increase compatibility and reduces the page loading time, in turn effectively increasing the overall speed.

Then, there are significant changes in the directory structure to provide a better view structure for the magento developers. It has a cleaner codebase and gives the user the freedom to use multiple databases for different tasks. This will ensure that people browsing are not slowed down by people checking out. The expected rise in speed due to this is by an astounding 20%.

It provides better security as it supports steps that deal with server validation. It uses the JavaScript framework – JQuery – over the prototype, which will reduce the number of Java conflicts.

Site flexibility will be enhanced as it supports a component-based architecture wherein customers can add, disable or replace modules according to their needs. No more hacking into the codebase anymore due to this feature!

Integration with PayPal, Brain tree, and payment gateways is now a part of Magento, i.e. no extensions are required.  Magento Enterprise Edition 2.0 is also compatible with WorldPay and CyberSource integrations.

The Downside

While these benefits seem good enough to make a switch, the process comes with one huge disadvantage.

If you’re starting a new site altogether, then the new version should be embraced wholeheartedly.
The main problem would arise if an upgrade is considered. Here, things get a tad bit complicated. Magento 2 includes a data migration tool for existing Magento 1 sites, but all extensions, customization, and themes will need to be rewritten. This can be a massive undertaking if your website has a lot of existing customised features.

Looking at the brighter side though, the process of upgrading to 2.0 can be taken as a new chance to improve the overall usability of the site. You can easily get rid of some of the legacy code, and most importantly, you would be able to take an overview and rethink the design of your online business as a whole.

The Golden Moment

Now the question that arises is ‘when’ you should upgrade, if you choose to, at all.

It really depends on the functionality of your site. If it’s working well and running smoothly, without any major – or for that matter, minor – glitches, there isn’t a need to switch to version 2.0. If you are using new versions such as 1.9 CE or 1.14 EE, again, no urgency arises.

Older versions or are having serious trouble with the new versions, you should seriously consider updating to this new version.

As for the official status or position of the company on the older versions, Magento Inc. has announced that they will support older versions of Magento for three years after the release of Magento 2.0. This effectively means that security patches would be available for older sites up to the end of 2018. Although, as has been seen in numerous cases, a decision like this is subject to change. Companies retain their support for an older version, only until it is in their realm of financial interest and profitability.

Also, the majority of the investments and explorations of the newest concepts around e-commerce would now be done on Magento 2.0. And so, even if you decide to continue working on Magento 1.0 or other older versions, you just will soon start thinking about the changes you’d want to incorporate. You could make a list of extensions that aren’t actively used currently.

And most importantly, you should talk your online solution partner about your (and their) plans for Magento 2.0, because sooner or later, you’ll have to have it.