SMBs warned: E-commerce growth involves risks

Australian small and medium businesses are embracing e-commerce in record numbers now, but experts are warning they should remain vigilant about risks associated with internet use.

According to Alilbaba.com Director of International Business Development and Marketing Daphene Lee, over 560,000 Australians signed up to Alibaba.com’s online services this year, representing a 77 percent year-on-year increase.

“Newcomers are often overwhelmed by the sheer number of products, the quantity of information available and how to use the system.”

“As with anything, businesses must follow rules to ensure they can source products and services safely, when doing business on the Internet, newbies must know their Internet risks.”

Lee believes that successful sourcing begins with product search and that buyers should first identify what products they need and if they need to be customised.

Buyers should also verify the supplier’s qualifications; “identify capability and experience, screen companies based on item and company description and make a judgment based on responses received such as speed of the email.”

Next, Lee suggests a trial with small orders to manage the risk of large inventory.

“Finally once you’re satisfied with the products, (go) back and reorder as needed.”

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