Shoppers are discovering a host of small business gems through the new ClicknConnect.shop website. They are part of a growing body of consumers who have embraced e-commerce during coronavirus lockdowns and want to support local, small businesses.
A Roy Morgan survey conducted during the height of the pandemic last year found that six per cent more shoppers favoured Australian-made compared to 2019, and the sentiment coincided with a boom in online trading. According to Australia Post and PayPal reports, 9 million Australian households shopped online last year, 2.5 million of them for the first time.
The trends are one of the reasons behind the launch of ClicknConnect.shop, a "discovery" online marketplace created by ACM, publisher of this newspaper. "ACM developed ClicknConnect to make it easier for businesses and shoppers to find each other," ACM's chief revenue officer Sharon Fitter said. "We want to help our customers grow their business, and we can use the power of the ACM national network to make that happen.
"There's certainly an appetite from consumers to shop smaller and support local business people who are having a go."
The ClicknConnect.shop website carries listings from retailers and service providers trading online. More than 100 businesses are already on the site, with more being added every week. Shoppers can search by category or location and then click through to the business's website to finalise their purchase.
Online shoppers who buy from Australian companies can be assured that they are covered by the same consumer laws as if they were shopping in person in store.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said while the same rights should apply when you buy from an overseas online business, it may be difficult if you encounter a problem and need to organise a repair, replacement or refund.
Consumer advocacy group Choice has these tips for shopping online securely:
- If you use a site regularly, sign up as a member instead of checking in as a guest. This can make it easier to keep track of your order details.
- Start a dedicated shopping email account if you're concerned about identity theft or being bombarded by spam.
- Before entering any payment details, check that the website URL starts with https:// or has a padlock symbol. You may want to consider using a service like PayPal, which acts as a "middleman" between your credit card details and the retailer. When it comes to payment, you sign into Paypal and use the details you've already stored there instead of having to enter them again into a new website.
- Change passwords often and choose unique passwords that include numbers, symbols and a mix of upper and lower-case letters.
There's little doubt, however, that e-commerce is a phenomenon that's here to stay - and only likely to grow.
KPMG's Australian retail outlook found that 70 per cent of businesses recognised that consumers wanted to deal with them online, and 42 per cent recorded a significant increase in online revenue in 2020.
Businesses can join the ClicknConnect site by getting in touch with the sales team at this newspaper.
One business already on ClicknConnect is RB Sellars. Based in Melbourne Victoria, RB Sellars has stores across the country, with regional NSW stores including Wagga Wagga, Dubbo and Orange.
RB Sellars is a family-owned Australian brand, with family values and community at their core. Inspired by the Australian landscape and the hardworking Australian, the company began in 1996 with the release of the first menswear collection which included their bestselling Burton Workshirt.
Today, the RB range includes functional and hardwearing workwear for men and women, plus a collection of casual wear, durable farm wear and kids wear that's easy to care for and comfortable to wear. RB Sellars is committed to remaining the affordable, accessible and fit for purpose Australian brand it is so well known for.
There are five $500 shopping vouchers to give away. Shoppers who register as they log on to the ClicknConnect.shop website will go in a draw to win one of five vouchers, each worth $500 to spend at the ClicknConnect business of their choice.
Entries for the voucher giveaway close at 11.59pm AEST on Wednesday, November 17, 2021. The winners will be announced on November 18 and notified by email and phone on the same day.