Online shopping is on the increase in Australia and for small Gold Coast watch retailer, Just Watches, an online shop has been a successful addition to its business.

The bricks and mortar retailer began selling watches through its website in May this year to reach more customers and has been blown away by the results.

“I’ve always been a believer in the power of the internet for businesses, but I’m just amazed at the success we’ve had with the website – our sales are up every week and the website is already contributing to more than five per cent of our overall turnover,” said owner Ben Martin.

“We launched the online shop in May with the aim to pay it off from website sales in about 12 months, but we had covered our costs already and now it’s a major profit centre for our business.”

The online store allows Just Watches to attract customers from all around the country and capitalise on the millions of consumers that enjoy the convenience of shopping on the internet.

“About 30 per cent of our website sales are from rural areas, but we’ve been surprised by the number of customers from Sydney and Melbourne – they are surrounded by shops but they choose to buy online because it’s so fast, easy and convenient,” said Martin.

“Also, we’ve seen more people coming into our physical store as a result of the website; they are doing their research online first and then come into the store to buy, so even if your business doesn’t sell products online, having a good website is still essential.”

Martin attributes the success of his online store to marketing and advises other businesses to build a presence in search engines through search engine optimisation (SEO).

“The saying ‘build it and they will come’ definitely doesn’t apply to the internet, so we’ve put a lot of effort into promoting the site, such as putting the address on all our stationery, capturing the details of everyone that comes to the site for our database then sending them promotional emails and also telling everyone that phones us or comes into the store,” he explained.

Martin is a firm believer in offering the same level of service online as you do in-store and says this is essential for achieving success on the internet.

“Online shopping can be daunting for some people, so we try really hard to make it as simple as possible for them by telling them our policies and what we are about up-front, staying in regular contact with them and offering a high level of customer service.

“You can’t take website customers for granted and they have to be given the same focus and value as customers that walk into your store. When you do that, the results speak for themselves – we have several repeat interstate buyers on the website, sold watches into New Zealand and we’ve even had a huge $4000 sale that was completely online,” he said.