Tuesday, January 25th, 2011
The reaction from Australia’s large retailers to competition from international websites should be a wake-up call for businesses to keep up with their customers online, says leading computer software program company Axios IT.

Axios IT General Manager Matt Larwood said the retailers’ recent GST campaign demonstrated a widespread need for businesses to improve their ability to capture customers and generate revenue online.

“This should be a wake-up call for small to medium enterprises (SMEs), not only in retail but across all industries, to make themselves relevant to their customers online,” he said.

“There is no question that a growing number of Australians prefer to purchase goods and services online.

“This presents ideal opportunities for established businesses to reach wider audiences, expand their customer base and diversify their revenue streams.

“Price isn’t everything and businesses have the ability to deliver better service and turnaround times to customers if they are able to offer an engaging online experience.”

Mr Larwood said that online services required more than just an attractive website.

“A good starting point is to define your target customer for online activities,” he said.

“Don’t try to be all things to all people from the outset. Think about who will be most interested in your online product or service and tailor your offering to their needs.

“Once you are established in this space you can expand to a wider audience.”

Mr Larwood said it was important to be clear about how revenue would be generated online.

“Consider how you can develop an online platform that complements or replaces your existing business,” he said.

“For retailers and manufacturers, this will likely be the sale of products online.

“For other industries it might be moving a traditional business model to an online service, enabling them to become more efficient and accessible to customers and reach a worldwide audience without increasing their overheads.

“For information services this usually involves providing a certain amount of information free-of-charge with full benefits via the paid subscription.”

Mr Larwood said software development to support an online business required appropriate IT infrastructure.

“Your IT infrastructure must be able to support the online services you are building,” he said.

“Your online platform also needs to be built in a scalable manner so it can be adapted easily as your business evolves and doesn’t have to be rebuilt in order to make changes.

“Ease of use is another factor to consider. It’s not enough to have a website that looks good – it also has to be user friendly.”

Mr Larwood said that businesses should allow a minimum of six months to get their online platform up and running.

“When choosing an IT developer, ask to see examples of their work and how they have assisted clients to generate revenue and increase efficiencies,” he said.

“Developing online services isn’t just about software provision. Your IT developer should demonstrate an understanding of your business and work with you to refine your concept to ensure it translates well online.

“They should also have a track record for on-time and on-budget delivery and for considering a return on investment for their customers’ spend.

“Ask your IT developer whether they will carry out the work themselves or if they will outsource it to a third party who might not understand your business as well.

“Also check whether they use industry standard technology and have relevant qualifications which could include Microsoft Gold accreditation and ISO 9001 quality systems to ensure they are a reputable and ethical provider.”

Top tips to develop your business online:

1. Define your target online customer.
2. Consider how to generate revenue online from target customers.
3. Develop a service that complements or replaces your existing business.
4. Ensure your online platform is easy to use.
5. Choose an IT developer with a track record in assisting clients to generate revenue and increase efficiencies online as well as appropriate accreditation.

For further information or to arrange an interview with Axios IT, please contact Louise Marsh at Corporate Conversation on 08 8224 3535

Contact Profile

Louise Marsh

P: 08 8224 3535
W: www.axios-it.com.au/


Axio IT, SME, online, computer software



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