Category Archives: Retail Business

Prepare Your Business For The Opportunities With The NBN

Fergal Coleman – Director of Symphony3 recently presented on the how businesses can prepare for opportunities presented by the NBN.

Below are the slides of the presentation. Some great information there on using the NBN, how your business needs to change and what are the benefits.

After you view the slides let us know via twitter how you have OR plan to prepare your business for the digital economy.

[slideshare id=22101633&doc=digitalbusiness-broadband-20may20130519-130528224135-phpapp02]

Run through some of our diagnostics to prepare your business for the NBN.

Smart Homes – How Will They Help?

The Broadband Smart House Project

The goal of the Broadband Smart House project is demonstrate the use of the real-world applications of the NBN, including home automation, remote health monitoring, video-conferencing, rehabilitation, education, remote business, sensor monitoring, and environmental sustainability.(Source: RDA Northern Inland, 2013)

A smart home in Armidale, NSW has been created to conduct live workshops & demonstrations on the benefits of this new technology. The house is fitted with functioning installations where a typical family of four can try out the new technologies. At first instance the house will also be used by local TAFE and University students to trial and demonstrate various cutting-edge projects across a range of areas.

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Case Study: BIG4 Shepparton East Holiday Park

For the latest in our series of Hume region business case studies, we spoke to Kaye Bernardi - owner of the BIG4 Shepparton East Holiday Park.

Business overview

Kym & Kaye Bernardi have owned and operated the BIG4 Shepparton East Holiday Park for 14 big4-shepparton-east-logoyears. They are an independent member of BIG4 Holiday Parks franchise, which has parks all around Australia. They currently have 23 self-contained cabins, 12 ensuite  powered sites, powered caravan & tent sites and 12 mobile homes. The park predominantly caters for the family market. Both Kym & Kaye have made significant capital investment into technology and their park ensuring it has some of the best family friendly facilities like giant jumping pillow, solar heated pool, synthetic grass tennis court, pedal go-karts, recreation room and camp kitchens.

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Wodonga ski shop embraces ecommerce to drive new business

Paul Oberin opened Paul’s Ski Shop back in 1979. He talks about his experience developing an online store.

Tell us about your business.

The business was started on a small budget in a seasonal business that relied on good snowfalls, as well as good economic times.

Paul Ski Shop - 50% of retail business now done online

Paul Ski Shop – 50% of retail business now done online

Initially we hired snow ski equipment during the winter, but we then branched out into into water sports equipment and we are now open all year round. Prior to the internet we relied 99% on the local market and did ok in good years, struggled in bad snow years or when the weir was down to below 12%.

Launching my online shop saw a huge change to our customer base as my customer base was now Australia-wide and even though many of the locals now shop online and my bricks and mortar shop is quieter with walk in traffic, we are doing well online.

I see my biggest challenge is keeping my prices low enough to get the sale, yet keeping profit high enough to afford the promotion of the online shop, it is a fine line, and the goal posts keep moving.

What web technologies do you use in the business?

We use an online shop to sell our products online. Our shopping cart along with PayPal allows us to process all of our payments online.

As we also do specialised boot fitting, ski hire and snow tours, so our site contains pages with detailed information on these services.

I need to be able to make changes almost every hour of every day, so first of all I had to have control of the domain for my website, I had to find and learn to use file transfer software, image editing software, and to a small degree how to write code (initially in HTML now I use Php to make minor changes). The benefit of learning these tools is that I keep costs down as I don’t have to pay a web developer everytime I make a change. It also means I can make changes to products and prices often and promptly many times every day. This is crucial as the website must contain accurate and uptodate information in order to maintain the trust of customers.

I understand my business better than anyone else, so therefore I am the right person to make these changes.

How do you plan to use high speed broadband in your business when the NBN arrives?

Higher speeds will offer me many advantages, the main one will be managing my online shop much more efficiently due to the quicker speeds. In addition with faster speeds I can offer video clips instead of photos for my ski equipment tuning section, and my ski boot fitting.

My shop security system, runs off a web-based monitoring system. However the images are low quality and high speed broadband means greatly improved images and flow of motion, meaning better security for my business.

I use email now as my main method of contact between my suppliers and also my customers. Sending pictures or getting images of product is very slow at present – with the NBN this will no longer be an issue.

What advice do you have for other businesses who want to maximise their use of web technologies?

  • Get a lot of good advice before jumping in.
  • Speak to similar businesses that have a system in place that works well
  • Do not wait until NBN is here, you can still get many benefits right now and will also be more aware of what can be done, when the faster speeds are here.

I am currently doing around 50% of my retail sales online. A huge number of retail outlets in Australia do not even have an online shop. They are missing out on a lot of business in my opinion.

We welcome thoughts and comments on this and other case studies.
Do you know any other businesses using the internet effectively? Complete the case study form and we will review their case study with a view to publication on this blog.