Posted by Steven Noble on October 20, 2011
eBusiness in Australia is in a period of extraordinary development. On a near-daily basis, we see the launch of determined new retailers — from fashion eyewear vendor Sneaking Duck to subscription pet food provider Paws For Life — as well as new services to support the sector, like Want It Now's same-day delivery system. Yet ample "blue sky" remains for entrepreneurs who are willing to take a crack at this sector. Of these countless opportunities, four come to mind immediately:
- A personal finance-management system. Mint still hasn't come to Australia. The Australian Taxation Office's e-Tax is still a painful way to submit tax returns. You still never meet someone who says "I use ANZ Money Manager". Saasu and Xero still support businesses but not individuals. If anyone stepped up to offer in Australia what Mint offers in the US and Canada today, thousands of customers — incuding me — would rush to get onboard, and Australian's finance-sector eBusiness professionals would have a collective heart-attack.
- A shared warranty and returns service. The number of overseas retailers selling into Australia without a local presence is phenomenal. In fact, I wrote an entire report guiding them on how to enter this market. But two issues remain a challenge for many merchants: the cost of returning a faulty good to the home market, and the lack of local partners that can repair goods under warranty. To my mind, any Australian company that wanted to provide a local returns and repair service to overseas retailers would have the makings of a winning business.
- A roo meat subscription service. On any number of measures — from price to health to sustainability to animal welfare — kangaroo meat is one of the more thoughtful meat choices, but it can still be hard to find in many Australian butchers and supermarkets, especially in any cuts other than the basics like simple steaks. Some days it's in stock, but on others it's not, and somehow that's always the day of the big BBQ you've been planning for months. An automatic fortnightly supply of meat — with a range of native herb condiment options on the side — could but just the thing for households that want the benefits of eating kangaroo without the hassle of trying to find it in stock.
- A private driver hire service. The woeful experience that passengers have with taxis in many parts of Australia has already spurred the growth of a disruptive industry — private drivers. These drivers have more comfortable vehicles etc, but in my view the main reason they are so attractive in the Australian market is that they collect you at the promised time. But now, a range of eBusiness startups like Ingogo, TaxiPronto and goCatch are bringing a similar level of confidence to taxi passengers — plus a range of other handy features like easy mobile booking. If taxis start collecting passengers when they expect to be collected, private car drivers will have to revert to competing on the basis that their cars are more comfortable and their service is more professional. However, that doesn't mean privte cars should allow taxis to beat them on convenience. The private driver hire car industry needs a mobile booking app of its own.
What eBusiness opportunities would you like to see harnessed in Australia?