Producers are finding unexpected advantages to selling their products online, an e-commerce expert says.
Speaking as part of the Great South Coast Small Business Festival, Monique Barwell, one of the developers behind Australia Post’s farmhousedirect.com.au, said the digital world was having unexpected benefits for shoppers, too.
“Larger regional centres (like Warrnambool) that are a couple of hours away from a capital city, but might not have the choice and variety in retail, they are some of the largest online shoppers in the country,” she said.
“The interesting thing is initially people thought the consumers were going to be based in the capital cities, but it’s a little bit more of a 50-50 spread.”
For producers, like the more than 420 on the Farmhouse site, offering their products online is giving them customers across the country.
“They are accessing markets that they would have never, ever tapped into before. It’s life-changing,” Ms Barwell said.
The small business event helped share key consumer trends with south-west businesses, Ms Barwell said, especially when it came to online purchasing.
“We were really digging down to see what kind of behaviours were happening online, how is this changing retail and how can local businesses in the Warrnambool area take advantage of that and jump on board,” she said.
Ms Barwell said online marketplaces like Farmhouse offered a low-risk, low-cost way for businesses to get their products online before deciding to embark on their own website.
The site offers more than 5000 products with everything from beef to camel milk to natural cleaning products from a variety of businesses, including many from Warrnambool and the south-west.
“Just over 90 per cent of the sale goes to the producer directly,” Ms Barwell said. “They also enjoy some of the best postage rates in the country.
“It’s game-changing for producers.”
The Great South Coast Small Business Festival runs until August 28.
Among the upcoming highlights include a presentation and question and answer session on the China Host Program, to be held at The Pavilion, Warrnambool, on August 24.
The Unearth Your Business Potential session, focusing on turning business ideas into reality, will be held at the Lady Bay Resort on August 28.
For more information on upcoming events visit www.business.warrnambool.vic.gov.au
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