Why is Australia a good market for cross-border selling?

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Author: InterCultural Elements

 

It's always summer somewhere! Taking advantage of cross-border trade down under

Australians are renowned for being some of the most laid-back people in the English-speaking world, and for good reason! As such, the typical Australian consumer is less likely to find fault with longer shipping times; they’re well aware that the geographical distance has a considerable impact.

 

What this means for you as a seller is that if your items get there quickly, Australians will probably be impressed and more likely to come back for more. Put aside those fears of losing buyers due to longer shipping times, but keep them reasonable – a week longer than your domestic market will be acceptable, three weeks unacceptable.

 

The dominant marketplace in Australia is currently eBay. While there have been rumours about Alibaba and even Amazon (currently only available there for Kindle), the lack of any other major online player in Australia leads many buyers directly to price comparison websites such as Shopbot. A major reason for this is the success of the ‘Australian Made’ campaign, which encourages Australians to support the local economy by buying products manufactured and sold by Australians. This differing type of loyalty means that buyers in Australia are more likely to shop around than their European counterparts, who often show loyalty to one specific marketplace.

 

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Among the many hurdles involved in international expansion, one of the biggest for sellers targeting Australia is logistics, in particular customs and quarantine concerns. Despite the façade of ‘impenetrable borders’ caused by controls over what can and cannot be brought into Australia, it is in fact simpler than expected for international sellers. This is particularly true for goods valued under AU$1,000 because there are no taxes or duties on these ‘low value imports’.

 

With so many things to take into account, is it worth selling directly to Australian buyers? The simple answer is yes – and for 2 main reasons:

 

1. Cross-seasonality
Has your supplier or manufacturer ever offered you a reduced rate for items towards the end of a season? If so, you’ve probably weighed up the challenge of selling shorts in winter or thick coats in summer.

The simple solution: sell to the Southern Hemisphere whose summer coincides with those great deals from your supplier. What to do with those shorts that sold so well throughout the British summer? Give them another chance in Australia! Believe it or not, Australia and New Zealand do have winters. In Canberra and Tasmania, temperatures often drop well below 0°C, so it’s not just the Europeans who will benefit from cosy thermals and other winter wear.

 

2. No translation costs
One of the most expensive parts of setting up a new international business in a non-English speaking country can be the process of both translating and localising your items into foreign languages.

When selling to Australia however, the main thing you’ll need to focus on is just localising your items and the importance of this cannot be underestimated. Even staples of the Australian wardrobe such as flip-flops can cause issues if not done properly: you will be unlikely to find an Aussie searching with that term on eBay. Instead, they will be looking for “thongs”, whereas their Kiwi counterparts across the pond in New Zealand will be searching for “jandles”. It’s also important to make sure you localise your sizes and measurements: if you are going to make the effort to get your items to Australia, the last thing you want is to ship it back due to a wrongly-advertised size!

 

Australian eCommerce Market

This is a lot to think about, but if you get it right, you’re opening yourself up to a huge new market.

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