US E-COMMERCE SALES EXPECTED TO REACH $435 BILLION BY 2010
Australian businesses are being encouraged to target the 200 million internet users in the United States to increase their sales in the rapidly expanding American e-commerce market.
Consumers in the US are expected to purchase about $265 billion worth of products and services online in 2006, a figure that is expected to grow rapidly over the next few years as more consumers shop over the internet.
The percentage of retail sales occurring online in the US is expected to more than double from 7% to 15% by 2010, making it essential that Australian businesses develop an effective e-commerce approach as part of their marketing and export strategies to successfully sell to consumers in the US.
To help Australian business make the most of the vast e-commerce opportunities in the US, Austrade advises businesses to develop e-commerce strategies, create an Americanised website and to consult its new e-commerce guide to help them increase their sales and exports to the worlds largest consumer market. (Businesses can download a copy of the guide from www.austrade.gov.au/eguideUS
Kylie Hargreaves, Senior Trade Commissioner in Los Angeles, says that more than 70% of US households regularly purchase items online or by other virtual channels making it essential for businesses to harness the market reach and impact of the internet.
"A strong e-commerce presence enables businesses to successfully reach a large number of consumers and to gain a foothold in the US market. E-commerce also allows business to establish a global network of partners and suppliers as well as enhancing distribution, marketing and payment options for a fraction of the cost of setting up an overseas office."
"Austrades new e-commerce guide offers Australian businesses practical advice on how to successfully enter the US e-commerce market, create an effective e-commerce presence, understand US consumers and manage payments and shipping," Ms Hargreaves said.
South Australian company RocketReader produces high performance reading improvement software for schools and individuals across the US. RocketReader CEO, Simon Ronald, says that an effective e-commerce strategy has been integral to the success of his company penetrating the large and sophisticated US market.
"We havent spent any money on traditional marketing, as we have relied on the internet to generate the overwhelming majority of our sales in the US. We spent years building our profile online by networking with webmasters in the US and around the world and we now attract about 2.5 million hits to our website each month," Dr Ronald said.
VetShopOnline, based on the Sunshine Coast, promotes affordable animal healthcare over the internet and, thanks to a comprehensive e-commerce strategy, has more than 50,000 customers in the US. VetShop Director Steven Perissinotto said, "For businesses targeting the US, an important factor behind e-commerce success is the ability to process orders quickly. I also recommend working with a local US banking partner to set up a merchant account that can efficiently process payments in US dollars."
The Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) assists Australian businesses by increasing harmonisation between the two nations in areas of e-commerce and internet security, and requires electronically delivered goods and services be treated the same as those delivered via traditional methods. The AUSFTA also prevents either country from imposing customs duties, fees, or other charges on the importation or exportation of digital products that can be delivered via a click/download function.