Wow – what a year.

Well, 2008 has been a long year of hard work, meeting new people and enjoying my new baby daughter (who is now very nearly 1 year old!). It has been ages since I have written anything in my blog, thought I had better do a little catch up!

I hope you have had a prosperous new year, but from various discussions it sounds like online retail really hasn’t boomed at Christmas time (except for those gift sellers of course).

Our bricks and mortar retail store had a soft Christmas, with a late surge, hopefully the good sales of the past week and a half continue into January!

So what have I been up to?

Most of my time has been taken up with our retail business, opening a new online electronics store (which has quickly grown to be a good portion of our revenue), working a little on our shipping automation product (www.readytoship.com.au), and doing some consulting for a few other sellers.

Although I can’t commit a great amount of time to consulting but I have had a good number of clients this year which I have been able to mentor to and assist. It has really been great to have contributed, and it is something I really enjoy. I guess it comes from having two teachers for parents!

Our business has also spent a lot of time looking at some strategic technology to help us grow in the future, including some new ecommerce software (www.magentocommerce.com). Magento has really impressed us so far, especially in it’s technical/software design. With a growing community, it will really add a great option to those looking for a well engineered well featured open source ecommerce platform in the market.

Next year will be another busy one. The Australian online market space will gain a bit more competition as some of the bigger retailers start to make ground (see www.bigbrownbox.com.au), and smaller retailers will need to continue focusing on building and retaining a strong customer base and utilising as many sales channels as efficiently as they can to stay one step ahead of their competition. This is exactly what we will be doing I think!

Will you?

Oztion.com.au Australian Auction Site Acquired For Over $1 million

The Australian online auction space is a hive of activity at the moment. eBay Australia is making big site changes, Tradingpost Auctions launches and now we hear the second biggest online auction site in Australia, Oztion.com.au, has been acquired today by Jumbuck Entertainment for $1million in cash, and $1million in Jumbuck shares.

Earn-out is based on revenue achieved for 2009/2010.

Owners Philip Druce and Kelvin Yip have 2 year management contracts with Jumbuck.

Full press release here.

Link to Jumbuck : www.jumbuck.com

Australian Auction Site Oztion Sees Registrations Surge

Since eBay Australia’s announcement that Paypal will be the only allowable payment method on the site (apart form cash on pickup, and credit card via Paypal), competitor Australian auction site Oztion has seen a large jump in daily site registrations.

According to Oztion,

… daily new member registrations has jumped by more than 250% since eBay’s recent announcement. Our internal data shows that 79% of buyers per month use direct deposit as their payment method.

A 250 % increase in your daily user registrations is pretty large. Although Oztion is a much smaller site compared to eBay Australia they have seen steady growth and are now more commonly discussed as an alternative selling platform by Powersellers.

I believe they could really capitalise in the short term thanks to eBay, and boost their seller and buyer base enormously.

Oztion’s resgistered member count now sits at about 250,000, well short of eBay Australia’s millions, but is still growing.

To be honest, I was surprised when Oztion told me their data showed 79% of transactions occurred with direct bank deposit, but in Australia bank transfer or bank deposit is easy and convenient with online banking. eBay’s payment percentages will be skewed because of international payments whereas Oztion is heavily Australian focused I feel.

So, if you are a seller or buyer, and like to use bank deposit then Oztion might be another place to try. Best to have your eggs spread around in a few baskets, and more competition in the marketplace is required I think.