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Creative destruction: why e-commerce will thrive in the recession

We’ve all heard the doom and gloom from the media in recent months – the world is in its worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and it’s not looking like it’s going to get better anytime soon.


The retail industry has not been spared. In Australia, iconic department stores like David Jones and Myer have scaled down sales forecasts, with other retailers following suit. And the luxury market hasn’t been spared, dipping sharply. Despite all the bad news, however, there have been some beacons of hope.


Online retailers like and Webjet have reported significant profits, and have forecast steady growth over the year.


So there are avenues for growth, and it lies in the online space. The internet offers access to new markets, which many retailers are exploring. Offering products online also means that a business doesn’t need to own or rent a retail space in a shopping mall, which would also mean that they don’t need to hire salespeople and will cut down on costs accumulated from designing the store. Sites like eBay have played an important role in incubating online entrepreneurs, who later branch out to form e-stores of their own. Safer payment options like Paymate and PayPal ensure that consumers are confident enough to make online purchases, and release retailers like Rebel Sport and from the potential risks of exposure from a breach of credit card details.


It’s important for governments to encourage online entrepreneurs and established e-businesses, and allow them to flourish. As we argued in a recent submission to the Australian Government, we are encouraging governments to nourish ecommerce by ensuring that the barriers to entry and growth are as low as possible, and by ensuring that the tools of ecommerce, like access to internet and efficient postal services, are of excellent standard.


Recessions are often the best times to size up your company, look at ways to cut cost, and venture into new markets. Make sure you don’t forget the online world.