Should I have a long returns period for my eCommerce store?


Even though lots of other eCommerce businesses do (free 100 day trial) you don’t want to.

Just because other eCommerce sites do it, doesn’t mean you should.

Having long returns periods drastically increases the returns you get.

Every return reduces your profit (bad).

As eCommerce businesses, we should offer returns (legally and morally), but promoting long returns periods attracts customers who are more likely to return orders.

It’s not unheard for sites to get returns of 20% – 40%.

Take that directly off your revenue and it really impacts your hard-earned profits.

Don’t do it.

Keep your returns period short and make it easy to exchange or take store credit.

You don’t just want growth from Facey and Insta Ads…

Most people reading this will be getting help with Facebook and Instagram Ads. On the surface you want sales to explode.

Explosions are exciting.

However, what you really need is sustained growth or results.

Facebook and Instagram can struggle with this due to the way it’s algorithm works.

The best thing you can ask of your Facebook and Instagram ad person is consistent results.

A consistent Return On Ad Spend (ROAS), or Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).

Consistency allows you to forecast sales and stock better.

Consistency builds solid businesses that consistency generates returns for owners.

Challenge your Facebook and Instagram person for consistent results.

If they can’t it’s time to move on.

Quick way to increase eCommerce conversion rate, but I wouldn’t do it…

Put everything on sale, the bigger the discount the greater increase in conversion rate.

It works every time.

There is a problem doing that though.

It will kill your gross profit (profit after cost of paying for your product) which will mean less profit and most likely less cash in the bank.

If you need to clear stock quickly to pay for new stock or something else important (not hiring a Lamborghini to pretend you’re doing well) then discounting for a short period is the way to go.

However, to build a truly great Aussie eCommerce business you need to keep gross margin high by finding other ways to sell your product without regular discounting.

Save money and speed up your eCommerce site…

Removing unneeded apps and plugins.

If your website is built on a eCommerce platform like Shopify, or WooCommerce, it’s likely you have installed lots of “apps” or “plugins” (an example of a plugin is Kit or Yotpo reviews).

Plugins give your site more feature, but often have a monthly charge and add additional code to your site, which slows it down.

Slow sites are not only frustrating, but they don’t rank well in Google search results and often stop customers buying from you.

Login to your eCommerce site and check you’re using every plugin you have installed.

Removing unused plugins will speed up your site, save you money and increase your bottom line.

Aussie Ecommerce Podcast

There is no end of eCommerce advice from the yanks.

Normally how to sell thigh masters via drop shipping (which is about as useful as tits on a bull) and they generally like to tell you how awesome they think they are.

Let’s face it, we’re not the US.

Here at Boom Ecommerce we’re all about helping Aussie eCommerce businesses.

When we discovered the Add To Cart podcast which is produced here in S’traya, we were pretty excited.

Learn from Shopify APAC team and other eCommerce professionals who work here.

It’s a gold mine of insights, treat yourself.

Australian Ecommerce Podcast Add To Cart

If you’re changing eCommerce platforms you need an SEO migration

What's an SEO Migration?

It keeps the free traffic you get from Google (technical term is SEO or Organic traffic).

If you move eCommerce platforms i.e. Shopify to WooCommerce all the page addresses change (

What happens if you move home and don’t redirect your post? You miss important bills or letters.

It’s the same when you move website platform.

You have to implement something called an SEO Migration.

It’s a big subject which has been covered well by many others so here are some links to explain what you need to know.


What are Australians buying online?

Setting up an eCommerce store or looking to expand your product range, but not sure what to sell, you’re in the right place.

A quick and easy way to find out what Australians want is looking at what they are searching for. Google Trends is a good way to do this.

Below is data from Google Trends comparing searches in Australia for two products water bottles and dog treadmills over a 5 year period.

Water bottles searches compared to dog treadmills

It shows us more Australians are interested in water bottles than dog treadmills. On top of that water bottle searches are growing year on year.

Why are you comparing water bottles to dog treadmills?

I use dog treadmills as an example product, just because I find them ridiculous!

How to use Google data to pick an eCommerce product

Go to Google trends type in the product you’re thinking of selling and compare it to other products that sell well.

You have to compare at least two product as Google Trends doesn’t give you exact search volumes, just comparatively if it’s up or down.

The geeks call this indexing, but that doesn’t really explain what it is to us non-techies.

If there’s a lot of search demand in Google (which 95% of Australian searchers use) then you’re probably on to something.

What if I don’t know what I want to sell?

Firstly I’d suggest selling you normally buy. That will help you understand the market (as you’re selling to more people like yourself).

However Google does offer more insight into what Australians are actually buying. You’ll need to setup something called a Merchant Centre account. It’s free, but will take a bit longer to get the data than using Google Trends.

If that sounds like hard work, you’re probably not cut out for eCommerce. Although it can be rewarding it’s not the easy option the gurus on Facebook and Instagram would have you believe.

If you’re serious about eCommerce, read on.

Buying trends from Google Merchant Centre

At the time of writing (July 2020) these are the most sort after Fashion and Apparel products in Australia online…

Or best selling brands in electronics in Australia (again for July 2020)

Best selling online brands in Australia July 2020

(No surprises with Apple)

How do I access Australian eCommerce best seller list?

Another good question.

Step 1
You need to create a Google Merchant account. Normally have to do this to run Google Shopping ads, so you may already have one.

If you don’t there are instructions on how to setup one here.

Step 2
Once you have access to a Google Merchant Centre go to…

Growth > Best Sellers > Australia > Select Product Category

Where to find best selling product categories in Google

Now you can easily see what Australians are buying online by different product category and work out how to expand your product range or start something new.

A word of warning

Popular means competitive. Competitive means expensive. If you want to find out how successful eCommerce brands pick products sign up for Boom Ecommerce tips.

Get Australian Ecommerce Tips

What’s the average eCommerce conversion rate in Australia?

There is no such thing as a useful average eCommerce conversion rate in S’traya, or anywhere in the world. There are so many factors that contribute to it, that averages are pointless.

If you pushed me for an answer I’d say 2%, just to end the conversation and move on to advice that will actually help you and your Aussie eCommerce store.

In fact, looking across all accounts I have access to in S’traya over a 12 month period, it averages out to 2.14%.

However, this isn’t ever eCommerce store in S’traya so it’s far from scientific, but after working in eCommerce for longer than I care to declare, it’s spot on.

Is my eCommerce store converting well?

This is really the question you want the answer to.

The trick here is to compare your sites conversion rate to other websites in your niche and with similar setups.

Based on data from Shopify (who have 42,849 stores in Australia, at the time of writing in Nov 2020), here are some averages by industry.

  • Clothing/Fashion 1.81%
  • Furniture 0.61%
  • Food and beverages 3.36%

As you can see there is quite a range there for just three industries.

No matter your industry it can always be improved on, which is why we recommend constantly running tests after changing something like a promotion, product photography, description etc. More on that below in the Google Optimise section.

What affects eCommerce conversion rate?

There are ALOT of factors. Here are the main ones I’ve discovered.

Online-only stores convert higher than businesses that have physical stores
It’s not uncommon to see a 6% conversion rates for online only and 1% for stores with physical locations as customers can window shop online and buy in-store. Customers window shop on the site then go in-store to buy.

Business To Business sites that are glorified order forms
A business selling to other businesses (B2B) where the site is essentially a catalogue to reorder from will convert higher (have seen 12% plus).

Web sites with lots of great information pages 
These sites get lots of organic traffic from Google. Geeks call it Organic traffic, some call it SEO traffic. No matter what you call it, it often tends to convert at a lower rate, as more visitors are researching than buying.

The day of the week
I used to run an apparel store and Sunday and Monday conversion rates were always higher than the rest of the week. We used to guess why over beers on a Friday afternoon, but never got to the bottom of it!

Why does eCommerce conversion rate change each day?

Below is an example of the eCommerce conversion rate by day over 12 months for a furniture business.

Why does ecommerce conversion rate change each day?

Look at the difference each day. Apart from the December spikes to the left of the image, which were Black Friday and Boxing day promotions, the daily variations go from 3.5% to 1.5%.

The conclusion I’ve come to is this is just how individuals feel on any given day. Oh it’s raining I’ll buy that XYZ today.

The list of factors that affect eCommerce conversion rates goes on goes on and on.

I personally spent 10 years chasing this and comparing my sites to others.

It was waste of time.

If I could have a quote word with myself 10 years ago I would have said, don’t focus on what is the average, put effort into increasing it.

What is Google Optimise?

Google optimise is a free tool that allows you to change something on a page to try to increase conversion rate, for example, showing different product benefits or another model wearing your products, and see which version generates more sales by increasing your eCommerce conversion rate.

It’s one of those no brainer tools that every decent eCommerce business uses.

Great how-to guide for Google Optimise from the Traffic Radius team here

If all that sounds hard, you could try this method of increasing conversion rate, but I wouldn’t do it!

Should you quote plus GST on eCommerce pricing?

Firstly you should consult your accountant, and this shouldn’t be taken as financial advice.

Quick GST Refresher

Having said that, here are some basic things about GST.

If your business entity has revenue over $75k AUD in any tax year (July 1st – June 30th) then you will have to pay GST to the ATO in most cases.

More details on the fun subject that is GST here.

Should you add GST to the retail price?

With that out of that way, how should display charging GST to your eCommerce customers?

A mistake we often see here at Boom Ecommerce is eCommerce stores adding GST to the displayed price of a product. For example…

$99.00 +GST

When a business is selling to another business (aka B2B) that is expected, because the business can often claim it back.

However, when selling directly to a consumer, they can’t claim it back. Therefore $99.00 becomes $108.90.

Even though you have been upfront with your customer the price is plus GST and not everyone buying from you understands GST.

Therefore if you’re selling directly to a consumer (i.e. not a business) always quote your prices including GST.

It will save your customer service head aches later on.

Why do eCommerce businesses quote prices plus GST?

Many business owners are used to dealing with GST. 

They are essentially collecting a 10% tax on everything sold in Australia then passing it straight to the tax office minus any GST they have paid for things they need to run their business.

Because of that, they never like to include GST in their revenue and charge it on top of the product price.

The issue is, end consumers don’t understand GST as well as them and it leads to confusion.

Long and short of it, if you’re selling to consumers include GST in your pricing to avoid annoying your customers.

How To Advertise Your Ecommerce Business In Australia

In Australia, we hear from our friends in the UK and the US about how they advertise their eCommerce businesses all the time.

But Australia is unique and requires a different approach.

Learn what works in Australia from the team at Boom Ecommerce.

Should you be running ad on Google, posting on Instagram or sending emails?

Watch and find out.

What’s in the video?


Video time (00:04)
You run an e-commerce store that sells in Australia or you’re in the process of setting one up. But you want to know where exactly to advertise. Should you be running Google Ads? Should you be doing email marketing? Should you be posting on Instagram? Keep watching this video and you can find out exactly what you need to do.

How should I advertise my eCommerce business in Australia?

Video time: (00:24)
When it comes to advertising an e-commerce store in Australia, you’ve really got six main ways of doing it. 

There are lots of other little ways to do it, but if you’re just starting out and you’re wanting to grow, these are the best ones to focus on. 

The trick is finding the right combination of them, it’s not the same for every eCommerce store.

No.1. Google Ads

Video time: (00:43)
Number one is Google Ads. Google Ads are shown when  you search for something. You’ll see up to four adverts appear at the top, they’re not particularly obvious. 

There’s only a little ad sign next to them, but they change often. Here’s a screenshot  of what some of those adverts look like for “pet food”. 

In this case, you’ve got Google shopping ads that  shows up on the right handside as well.

No. 2 & 3 Facebook and Instagram Ads

Video time: (01:44)
Other ways of advertising your eCommerce store in Australia is Facebook and Instagram.

I say the two because they’re both controlled by the same advertising program. 

You all know what Facebook and Instagram is, unless we’ve been living under a rock for the last 5 years. 

The adverts actually appear in lots of different places on Facebook and Instagram, but they aren’t always obvious.

There’s a couple of examples here that show up in the Facebook feed, or in your Instagram feed, or within stories. 

Do Facebook and Instagram Ads work for Ecommerce?

Video time: (02:30)
Facebook and Instagram ads work incredibly well. Lots of people think that they don’t actually click on them, but they really do.

It’s how Facebook is making all its money. 

The brilliant thing about Facebook and Instagram advertising is that if people aren’t searching for what you’re selling you can still target them.

We’ll look at an example.

Let’s say we’re selling dog treadmills. Trusts me, there’s very few people searching for dog treadmills in Australia.

However, what you can do with Facebook and Instagram is target people that are interested in dogs or any dog related products.

Your advert then shows up. So they then see a dog treadmill, think, oh, actually, that’s quite a good idea that saves me from actually going outside and having to walk my dog in the winter, for example.

I really hope that’s not the case over in Australia, but I just use that to illustrate.

No.4 Email Marketing

Video time: (03:19)
The fourth way to advertise your e-commerce business in Australia is email marketing.

Email marketing, what is it? It’s not just spam. It’s basically when you use a bit of software to email everybody that you’ve got the email addresses for.

For example, people that have bought from you.

So everybody that has bought a dog collar from you, you can email out and say, you bought a blue dog colour, there’s now red dog collars.

Does Email Marketing work for eCommerce?

Video time: (03:42)
It amazes me every single time. The only challenge with doing something like email marketing is that you have to build up quite a list of emails. 

If you’ve got 10 or 50 emails, it’s probably not going to work that well because you might get an open rate of about 20% of people that you send the email too. 

If you send a hundred emails, you’ll get 20 people that open it. You might get 5% of those click through to your site. 

You need to build up your list. It’s very good for repeat customers. Honestly try it. 

Lots of people think that email marketing is spam and it’s unrelated. I guarantee you, if you do email marketing and you have a product that people buy repeatidly, let’s say, for example, dog food, you’re going to need to keep buying dog food each month.

Email marketing works so well because you might attract a customer with Google Ads, Facebook ads, or Instagram ads. They buy from you. You collect their email address. You can then email them and say, hey, it’s been a month since you’ve bought that dog food from us. Probably time to get some more food for Rover or whatever your dog’s called. Again works really well. It always amazes me. 

No. 5 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

The fifth way of advertising your e-commerce business is through SEO kind of content marketing. 

The two are very similar. SEO and content marketing, in your research of how to promote your e-commerce business, I’m sure you’ve seen the term SEO come up loads. It essentially means search engine optimisation, and it’s basically making your website rank highly in Google. 

Does SEO work for eCommerce?

Video time: (05:20)
It does work very, very well, but it’s quite difficult, and it can be quite technical and quite time consuming. 

However the return that you get is amazing because you’re not paying every time somebody clicks. You’re just investing time in making content and optimising your site. 

It does take quite a long time to get results though. So you have to be super patient when doing it. 

I say SEO and content marketing because essentially the two are joined together. Because if you have really, really good content, you tend to do quite well within SEO as long as you sort out some of the technical things. 

Can’t really go into it in detail here, because we don’t have time, but it’s well worth researching

The biggest mistake most people make when they’re starting out online or they’re trying to scale is that they focus on SEO. They do this because they think that’s really the only way to do it.

It’s attractive, because essentially it’s free. You’re not paying every time somebody clicks. 

However, if you want to find out what works, it’s better to start with something like Google Ads. 

SEO and content marketing comes in really well when you work out what works. 

Let’s say we’ve discovered that the keyword in Google Ads “blue dog collars” sells really, really well. We want to start ranking in Google for the term blue dog collars. 

You then have to focus on producing content that gives people the best information about that particular sort of subject. 

No. 6 Affiliate Marketing

Video time: (06:54)
The final way of advertising your eCommerce business is affiliate marketing. 

Affiliate marketing. What is that? 

Affiliate marketing is basically like having online commission-only sales people. 

They write about a product in some way, shape or form. 

People click through from their website to your website, and if they purchase, you give them a percentage of the sale. 

It works really, really well, but it’s certainly not for everybody. 

Affiliate marketing is often one of the things that I’ll try later on when I’m setting up an eCommerce store. 

It works very well though in competitive markets. So if there’s lots of choice. I can’t really think of a good example within dogs, the dog sort of like industry that’s incredibly competitive, although I’m sure there are some, and you can probably tell me from watching this video, but I’m at the moment on buying a new laptop.

I’m looking for a PC laptop, and it’s quite confusing because there’s so many different varieties that you can get, all the different specifications. So I need a 15 inch laptop that’s light, so I look for best 15 inch laptop light. And then all of a sudden you start getting the reviews coming up. And as soon as somebody clicks through you then buy it. That’s why it works well, because somebody’s guiding you when something’s very competitive. So if you’re not in a very competitive market, potentially not great for you. I’m not saying don’t try it, but just know that the option is there.

What’s the difference between advertising your eCommerce business in Australia, UK or the USA?

Video time: (08:34)
There is a difference when it comes to running an e-commerce business in Australia compared to the US or the UK. 

I moved from the UK to Australia in 2011. Since then, I’ve seen massive differences between the two. 

There’s also big differences compared to the US and I appreciate there’s lots of video and coverage that explains the way that you can advertise your eCommerce business. 

I’m sure this isn’t the first video or article you’ve read to get some information on the subject. 

I’ll give you a couple of examples of how it is different in how we need to approach things slightly differently. 

For example, in the US about 88% of people use Google to search for any given product. This basically means that there’s actually a bit of market share that goes away to other search engines. Bing is Microsoft’s version. They’ve got 6.5% of the market share in the US.

6.5% of the U S population is quite large. If we come home and we look at Australia, about 95% of people use Google to search. Therefore, it’s a much more dominant market. Also, Bing only has about 3% of the market share, and 3% of the Australian population, which is roughly about 26 million, isn’t that many people. Therefore, we have to take a slightly different approach to how we advertise our e-commerce businesses here in Australia. 

Get free Australian eCommerce tips

If you want to find out when more of these videos are released and we share more information about running your e-commerce business in Australia submit your email address here.

Your Australian eCommerce questions answered

Okay. We’ve covered quite a lot in this fairly short video. You’ve probably got a lot more questions and specifics that you want help with. 

Leave your questions in the comments below, and I will personally respond to each one of them to try and help you out, and also will help other people out who are reading them.