We’re sure your 2012 has gotten off to a roaring start, so to keep you on top of what’s happening in the small business world we’ll again be bringing you the most important headlines of the week each Friday.
This week, the biggest PR blunders of 2011 were revealed, retailers across the country were ordered to back pay $585,000 in wages to underpaid employees and Google and Twitter fought publicly about changes to Google’s search algorithm.
No more taxes, retailers plead
A leading retail body is calling on the federal and state governments to consider the impacts of new taxes on consumers and businesses, as many begin 2012 budget discussions.
The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is urging the government to assess the effect new taxes and charges will have on the retail sector, before implementing them as part of upcoming budgets.
Biggest PR blunders of 2011 revealed, Qantas features heavily
Qantas has been listed three times in the annual PR Disasters Awards, after a spate of embarrassing PR glitches hit the airline in 2011. Are there any lessons SMBs can learn from Qantas’ mistakes?
PR watchdog and blog PRdisasters.com revealed its 2011 Disaster Award winners yesterday, with Qantas taking the first, second and fifth spot on the list thanks to the grounding of its fleet, its disastrous luxury pyjamas Twitter promotion and the rugby union competition that asked Wallabies fans to paint their faces black to win a prize.
November retail sales fall flat
Despite a decision by the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates by 0.25 percent, retail turnover fell disappointingly flat in November, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Turnover was unchanged (0.0 percent) for the month of November, following on from a seasonally adjusted rise of 0.2 percent in October, disappointing the many retailers who were relying on a pre-Christmas rush to boost yet another slow year for the sector.
Retailers slugged with $500,000 in back pay
The Fair Work Ombudsman has found over 750 retail workers across the country were underpaid, and the watchdog is asking guilty businesses to reimburse affected staff – at a total cost of $585,000.
According to random audits of some 2000 retail employers, 755 retail staff were underpaid, with employees in New South Wales most impacted.
Paypal merchants record bumper Christmas online sales
Many Australian online retailers celebrated their busiest online shopping period ever last month, with PayPal reporting some established local retailers are beginning to fight back against international competition.
According to PayPal Australia acting managing director Elena Wise, the majority of PayPal’s local merchants experienced their biggest-ever online trading period over Christmas, with sales peaking the week commencing December 5.
The secure payment site also noted some of the country’s biggest retailers are beginning to capitalise on online investments made over the past year to 18 months.
Vodafone told to reign in wayward dealers
Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) is again in the sights of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), after complaints showed the company’s dealers have been ignoring the Do Not Call Register.
The ACMA said it’s received a number of complaints about wayward VHA dealers who’ve ignored the Do Not Call Register to telemarket Vodafone and 3 Mobile products.
Websites impact consumer spend more than social media: report
While some consumers admit business profiles on social networks influence their spending behaviour, KPMG has found a greater number look to official websites for recommendations and information.
The finding comes from KPMG’s newly released The Converged Lifestyle report, which explores the impact of various technologies on consumer purchasing decisions in various sectors, including retail, advertising, mobile operators and content providers.
Four trends email marketers need to know
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) recently released the latest installment to its Communications Report 2010-11 series.
The report is the second of the series and uncovers the latest trends in communication channels used by Australian consumers along with preferences and behaviours of email, mobile and social network users.
Interest in local tourism strong, as Tourism Australia enjoys Facebook milestone
Tourism Australia’s Facebook page is now the most popular tourism destination page in the world, demonstrating interest in the local tourism industry remains strong despite the spate of natural disasters that hit the country over the past 12 months and the strength of the local dollar.
The Tourism Australia Facebook page now has two million fans from across the world, making it not just the most popular tourism page in the world, but also the largest Australian-based Facebook page.
Global uncertainty drags WA’s economic growth targets down
Although Western Australia continues to record strong economic growth, economic uncertainty and small business pain has seen the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) revise down economic growth forecasts for the current financial year.
According to the CCI’s latest quarterly outlook, the European debt crisis is the biggest threat to the state’s economy, as it risks spreading to the global economy and key trading partners in Asia.
Google and Twitter face off over search changes
The dispute between Twitter and Google over changes made to Google’s search algorithm intensified overnight, as they disagreed on how the changes will impact search results for both social networks.
Yesterday, Google announced a suite of updates under the Search, plus Your World banner which, will see posts made on Google+ feature more on search results. Twitter was unhappy, releasing a statement saying the changes were bad news for social networking users, as they’ll make it harder for them to locate results from its site.
Looking for a different kind of team bonding exercise? Registrations for the 2012 Business Clean Up Day are now open.
Some 337 businesses looking to improve their environmental impact took part in the 2011 Business Clean Up Day, helping remove over 16,500 tonnes of rubbish across the country. Now, registrations are open for the 2012 event, and organisers hope an even greater number of businesses will join in the movement and become more environmentally responsible.