The Inside Story: Thoughts on Online Retailing

In a recent issue of the Irrigation Australia publication, TIS Director Brett Peel talks to Anne Currey from Irrigation Australia about having an online store.

Here is a transcript of the full article.

Online another arm to the business
In the last few years the retail sector has been subject to many changes, some of which have been a challenge for businesses to manage. One of the most significant challenges to have emerged is online shopping. While the irrigation sector has not been as vulnerable as the personal shopping sector, irrigation retailers have been watching developments and some have taken the step and developed online stores.

Brett Peel from TIS in Brisbane is one of the many retail business owners around Australia that have set up online stores. We asked him about his experiences with the online store he developed for his business in 2014.

Brett explained that the key reason for developing the store was a marketing one.”We recognised we needed to adapt our sales strategy to meet our market and the increasing reach of the digital economy,” he said.

One of the big issues with anything that goes online is that developing the website is just the beginning of a commitment in terms of time and money. And with online shopping, there are a number of formats, the most effective of which can usually only be identified by research and testing.

“We have several portals that provide us market exposure and access to our products by customers,” said Brett. TIS has trialed most formats, including eBay, ground up online stores, third party templates and hosting companies.

“Each have their specific advantages regarding ease of set up, cost and adaptability. As an example, we have found that the cookie cutter, online store templates are simpler to begin with but are generally limited in their ability to be customised as customer, product and company needs develop over time. As an ongoing basis we have our in-house team regularly monitoring and maintaining our site,” he said.

In the five years that the store has been active, Brett said that no special trends have emerged in terms of buyers and what they buy e.g. age groups, professionals, amateurs or equipment. “This isn’t surprising as Australians have a track record of being early adopters of new technology, so our market and product breakup has been fairly consistent over time,” Brett explained.

Obviously, the most important question, especially considering the online store is now mature, is whether it is important to the business. According to Brett, it very definitely is. “We have had good, year-on-year growth, which is in line with our expectations,” he said.

And what would he advise retailers who are considering including online to their business? “Don’t expect to set and forget! The online market is constantly shifting and adapting to these changes is vital.”

Anne Currey, Irrigation Australia

See the latest update to the TIS Online Store.

If you have any queries about this article or would like to know more, feel free to get in touch with TIS via the Contact form or phone 1300 787 003.

Leave a Reply