Monday, May 30, 2011

Australian eBay sellers face global challenge.

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Media Release

Issued by: Profession eBay (& eCommerce) Sellers Alliance
30.5.11. For Immediate Release

eBayAustralia will utilise eBay's global network in a bid to attract more people to its down under site - but what does it mean for Australian sellers?

eBay Australia recently unveiled new plans to make US and UK listings more prominent on in a bid to attract more buyers to the site. The online auction house believes utilising eBay's global network to fill in product gaps down under will draw in and retain more Australian buyers.

"Displaying relevant listings from the UK and US will increase the likelihood that shoppers will find what they are looking for on, and continue to shop and buy from sellers," eBay Australia announced on its website. 

"Australian consumers are buying more online yet local ecommerce sellers do not offer full product ranges online to enable shoppers to find what they are looking for locally. Hence, buyers are turning to overseas websites."

eBay Australia also stated that the new change will only affect categories where "inventory gaps" exist, as well as categories where statistics show Australians already buy a high proportion of goods from overseas sellers. But the ambiguity surrounding these affected categories is leaving Australian sellers confused and in the dark.

SelbyAcoustics owner Shaun O'Brien finds eBay Australia's lack of information regarding what categories are affected and how they are affected a real concern.
"It's hard to identify the impact on Australian sellers if we don't know what these categories are," says Mr O'Brien. "If we see the site flooded with competing products that are well represented, of course Aussie sellers will lose out. Only time will tell."

Since eBay Australia launched, it always appeared to stick by a policy where local listings had preference and were advertised separately to foreign items. The new makeover means international listings are now intermingled amongst regular search results which raises questions on how clear it is going to be to the Australian buyer that they're buying overseas.

In Mr O'Brien's experience with offshore selling, many buyers on think they are buying from America, and he believes the same thing will happen in Australia."International buyers started complaining after it took so long to receive something from Australia. They didn't realise they were buying from here and it turns out to be a negative experience."

DirectShopSolutions owner Nathan Huppatz says the overall change may be positive for buyers, but it does not bring any positive benefits to sellers.
"Often international sellers are larger in volume and size; especially more mature markets in the US and UK. They will sell the same product for a cheaper price with cheaper shipping," says Mr Huppatz. "The Australian sellers aren't at fault. It's due to obtaining cheaper manufacturing prices overseas and cheaper postage."
Mr Huppatz thought it would have been nice if eBay Australia made the product gaps known to Australian sellers so they could keep an eye out on the site.
"Australian markets would have liked the opportunity to know which gaps need to be filled, rather than taken over by US and UK sellers. eBay Australia should identify gaps in the market and give sellers three months notice to supply products in the required broad categories."

Really, is it fair of eBay Australia to bring these changes down under at a time when the media is reporting that Australian sellers are crying out for online retail sales declining due to the high Australian dollar? Giving international listings more visibility on the Australian eBay site isn't going to benefit sellers here, that's for sure.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

American retailers winners in Australian GST debate.

Media Release 

International online retail
businesses are celebrating the effects of the ongoing campaign by local retailers for the Government to lower the $1000 GST threshold for imported goods.* Australian founder, Mr. Phil Leahy, says that since the debate his sales have jumped. “We are up over 180% on last year & the website traffic has increased by 40% in the last month alone.”
“This campaign is toxic for Australian retailers” says Phil Leahy. “The public is against lowering the threshold because what they want is low prices & choice. It also had the unintended effect of alerting Aussie consumers to the great value & selection available off shore” continued Leahy.

Leahy believes one positive of the campaign is that Australian businesses are now more focused than ever in investing online. “Harvey Norman’s Gerry Harvey had a recent about face on the issue and now has a number of sites rolling out over the course of the year. I think Mr. Harvey’s focus is late but nevertheless is a leading example to other traditional retailers of the course to take”.

Leahy’s potentially controversial approach is that protectionism is not the answer to the challenge. Mr. Leahy’s message to proponents of more tax. “Give up while you’re behind and get creative about delivering a better online business. If not, keep your current path and wait to see your business decline.”

Phil Leahy is also the founder of the Australian Chapter of the Professional eBay Sellers Alliance, which runs an annual Internet Conference. The fifth annual event, due to run in July this year, will attract 600+ online retailers to the two day event (

* features thousands of shoes by partnering with a Manhattan based online retailer. Shoes are sourced from top brands and designers located in New York City. Shop New York offers shipping for $10 and a local address for returns. The store has Australian size charts and is in Australian dollars.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

PeSA Internet Conference now in fifth year!

Media Release
PeSA Internet Conference now in fifth year!

Issued by: Profession eBay (& eCommerce) Sellers Alliance
3.5.11. For Immediate Release

The PeSA Internet Conference continues to gain momentum, with 2011 being the fifth year of the event. Registrations are growing strongly, with over 350 delegates already registered to attend the event at the Gold Coast Convention Centre on the 21-22 July 2011. The Conference is expected to attract 600 delegates from around Australia, who are existing or budding online retailers.

“I was inspired to bring PeSA to Australia in 2007 by the amazing events that I attended in the US” says PeSA Australia founder Phil Leahy. “There just wasn’t an annual event that serviced smaller sellers in Australia, who are really at the coalface of online retailing in Australia. Thirty percent of our sellers turnover under $70,000 but another 18% turn over more than a million. So we have something for everyone.”

“This year we’re excited to bring out first time presenter Channel Advisor CEO Scot Wingo, whose company handles almost 3 Billion in sales on behalf of its customers. We’re also proud to bring back conference favourites, like social media guru John Lawson, who a previous delegate told me inspired her to set up a Facebook page that she credits with tripling her sales.” Adds Leahy.

The PeSA Internet Conference has been developed with the small-medium sized online retailer in mind. As such, the registration prices have been kept extremely low ($399 for two days), with the event largely funded by exhibitors.

More information about the PeSA Internet Conference can be found by visiting: