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    The Mayor
    • Total posts: 2

    Hi to all,

    We are a 4th generation retail business on Tasmania’s isolated West Coast.
    We operate an IGA supermarket and a Kitchenware/ Manchester store in Queenstowns CBD. Sales so far in 2009 have been good !

    I am a complete novice when it comes to internet marketing and web based business operations !

    I came across the flying solo web address while reading a magazine during the weekend !

    Queenstown is similar to many small towns in rural Australia, our population has rapidly dwindled from 13,000 in the 1970’s to 2400 today !

    Like most small country towns, we have witnessed business closures and a gradual loss of services that we once took for granted !

    The problem our customers face on a daily basis is that they unable to purchase many goods and services that are available in the larger city centres !

    I pose the question : How can a small retailer set up a web based business that caters to the local market, providing personal service and a large product inventory so our local community can benefit from the retained sales ?

    Any ideas would help….Im a total computer novice !

    Kind Regards

    Phil Evans

    • Total posts: 2,104

    Hello Phil and welcome to Flying Solo forum.
    What goods and services are you specifically after.
    Just reading your post has given us some idea of what you have so what other goods and services would you like to provide for your customers.
    I would immagine even with the dwindling population you would still have tourists come through.
    You just never know when and where assistance will come from on this forum, so a few more specifics could trigger our minds to follow the right path

    The Mayor
    • Total posts: 2

    Hi Burgo

    Thankyou for offering to assist.

    Quality Electrical Products. Whatever plugs into a power point we can sell as our electrical store closed last week !

    Camping and fishing equipment not catered to at the moment.

    Hardware and garden tools.

    Garden Nursery lines.

    Small furnishings.

    Mens clothing and workwear.

    CDs and books.

    Jetskis and Kyaks ( great lakes here for water sport)

    Maybe even mining equipment could be sourced as well !

    Etc Etc Etc

    Our community will support local initiatives and i see a Web based business as an opportunity to provide them with with exellent customer service and a new market to consider when seeking those difficult to find items !

    We recently opened our Bendigo Community bank in Queenstown, this venture was fully funded by our locals and it is really encouraging people to look at the importance of supporting our “Villiage Economy” ! This includes the need to spend their shopping dollar locally whenever they can….hence my idea of a locally driven website that they can source for products and have some input to what will work best for them !

    Hope you can grasp where I am heading with this….happy to start simple and grow as we go….im confident this will work !

    Cheers from the wettest place in Aust. at the mo.


    • Total posts: 335

    Hey Phil,

    What a great initiative! Tassie is a great place, my parents used to have a place in Georgetown, and then Beauty Point..

    Why not looking at setting up an online department store, call it something like QueenstownOnline or the like.

    Maybe get a few members of the community together to concentrate on each area of the store, ie; one for electrical, someone else for clothing, camping etc..

    Your best bet would be to team up with other large distributors that act as drop shippers, so you don’t have to hold stock, they can provide the products to your town, and then you can promote those products via the website and take orders etc.

    The beauty of using a drop shipping type arrangement would be that if you find that a product isn’t selling, or you want to add more items to your store, you don’t need to go out an buy stock, nor worry about delivery etc.. someone else does that for you.

    That could be a great way to start and get the ball rolling.

    If you need any further advice, drop me a PM..

    • Total posts: 6

    Hi Phil,

    This sounds like a great initiative and it sounds like you have the community to make it work!

    From what I understand, you want to achieve two things; 1. offer a larger range of products to the local community and 2; Help the local economy by retaining local sales & customers.

    Basically, you’d setup a locally branded online store that allows you to do the following:
    1. Use local stores/businesses as suppliers of products and services by drop shipping (as exstatic mentioned, the order’s get sent straight to the stores/businesses to fulfill)
    2. Use suppliers from ‘out of town’ specifically for products/services that aren’t supplied in the local community only.

    How this all works:

    For the local business
    Say a local camping store sells sleeping bags. They can now advertise this product on the Queenstown Community Online Store for free and potentially increase business and sales.

    When someone purchases the product, the purchase order is sent directly to camping store with the purchaser’s details to fulfill.

    The camping store can choose if they’d like to be able to post items or have pickup available only.

    Free payment solutions such as Paypal allow you to:
    1. The Queenstown Community Online Store’s PayPal account received all monies from purchases.
    2. At the end of the set term (weekly, monthly etc) the camping store is sent the funds via the PayPal EFT facility for the total amount of orders they have fulfilled in that time frame.

    Community features
    1. Product Feedback (allows purchasers to submit feedback on products they purchase)
    2. A community forum would allow more detailed discussion and assist in the store’s direction and growth.

    This is all relatively simple and cost effective to setup with great benefits for local business.

    If there’s anything I can help you with please feel free to message me through the forum, email me at [email protected] or call on 0422 175 640 any time :)

    All the best in your project.


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