May 19, 2020

Three ways for Australian businesses to prepare for Christmas

Bill McMurray
Managing Director
Asia Pacific and Japan
Harry Allan
3 min
Three ways for Australian businesses to prepare for Christmas

With only a few weeks until Christmas, retailers are gearing up for the busiest period of the year. As chaotic as the season is for shoppers, retailers are already scrambling to make sure everyone’s got something in their stocking.

Qualtrics, an insights and customer experience company, surveyed 1,150 shoppers in Australia, the US and the UK to uncover what makes their shopping season tick, including plans, budgets and preferences.

Bill McMurray, Managing Director, Asia Pacific and Japan, Qualtrics, said, “Almost half (49 per cent) of Australian consumers do most of their holiday shopping from their phone, tablet or computer. The challenge for retailers is to tailor online experiences to individual customers, and provide a frictionless experience in order to convert site visitors into increased sales.”

Qualtrics has identified three key tips to increase online sales over the Christmas period:  

1) Consider where consumers leave the website

Businesses should pinpoint where they are losing customers in the sales process. Identify at what point in the online order cycle customers leave and then correct those loss positions.  This will create a lateral shift from frustration to purchase and help buyers better manoeuver around the website, locating what they want, with no checkout issues at the finish line. It will bring an immediate win on closing rates.

2) Understand where consumers get stuck on your website

Businesses should track activity on the website, not just roadblocks to purchase but also where consumers are having difficulty. Based on website analytics, online retailers can use a website intercept system, that lets the organisation get feedback on the spot.

McMurray said, “If a potential customer can’t find what they are looking for, they may leave the site. To prevent this, you need a website intercept system that recognises when there has been a halt in activities for a minute or two and then triggers a message to the customer asking them how you can help. This can deliver useful insights on how the customer is using the site and where they ran into trouble.”

3) Win consumers back as they abandon their shopping carts

Qualtrics’ survey found that 16 per cent of Australian consumers say they frequently and 17 percent say they usually place items in their cart and then abandon it. Businesses can use cart abandonment surveys to determine why a consumer is leaving without buying and offer promotions to encourage them to purchase. For example, if a consumer abandons a shopping cart due to shipping costs, online retailers can offer a promotional code for discounted shipping if they purchase in a certain period of time. Interjecting at the right touch points and offering assistance, special promotions, or more information are a great way to get buyer success and customer feedback.

McMurray said, “By making some simple tweaks to your website, you can gain deep customer and market insights, which can enable you to provide a better customer experience. Gaining a comprehensive understanding of customer behaviour and providing targeted experiences can mean the difference between engaged, purchasing customers and lost sales.”

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Apr 29, 2021

C-suite spotight: Melanie Perkins, CEO, Canva

Kate Birch
4 min
In our regular C-suite spotlight for APAC, we profile co-founder and CEO of Australian unicorn Canva, tech entrepreneur and billionaire Melanie Perkins
In our regular C-suite spotlight for APAC, we profile co-founder and CEO of Australian unicorn Canva, tech entrepreneur and billionaire Melanie Perkins...

Who is Melanie Perkins?

She’s the co-founder and CEO of Australian unicorn online design platform Canva, who ultimately became one of tech’s youngest female CEOs, at just 30, and recently became a billionaire aged 35, making her one of Australia’s richest and youngest. 

Why is she in the spotlight right now?

Because less than a year after securing a US$6bn valuation during the pandemic, which provided a big boost to business, Canva has recently more than doubled its valuation, securing a $15bn valuation, which makes Perkins a billionaire, according to Forbes. The valuation comes in the wake of a new funding round in the first week of April 2021 led by T. Rowe Price and Dragoneer and raising $71m. At the same time, Canva announced its business has passed $500m in annualised revenue, up 130% from the year before. 

What is Canva and why is it so successful?

Launched in 2013 by co-founders Melanie Perkins (CEO), Cliff Obrecht (COO) and Cameron Adams (Chief Product Officer), Sydney-headquartered Canva is a free-to-use online graphic design product that allows users to create everything from social media graphics to presentations and other visual content, as well as offering paid subscriptions like Canva Pro and Canva for Enterprise, with 3 million of its now 55 million users taking paid subscriptions. 

Accruing 750,000 users in its first year, following a number of rounds of investment including from Mary Meeker’s Bond Capital in 2019 and this month’s massive funding round, Canva now boasts 55 million users across 190 countries, with offices in Sydney, Beijing, Manila, and most recently Austin, Texas, and is valued at $3.2 billion. 

And while the company was originally most popular with SMEs, helping them draft and design print and digital assets, it’s since grown to become a real-time collaboration suite that’s being used by big firms including McKinsey, Salesforce and American Airlines. In fact, Canva claims that 85% of Fortune 500 companies use the platform’s services. They continue to add new features and during the pandemic, added presenter video recording tools. 

How did Perkins get there?

The idea of Canva came to Perkins when she was at the university of Perth, where to earn money on the side she taught students design programmes. Many of her students found platforms like Adobe complicated and frustrating, and the ideas came to her to simplify and democratise design, to make it more approachable and accessible, more collaborative, and ultimately to empower all in design. So, she and university peer Cliff Obrecht, who became Canva co-founder and Perkins’ husband, created an online school yearbook design business, Fusion Yearbooks, to test it out. Operating from her mum’s living room, the yearbook design business was a massive success, expanding to New Zealand and France, and remains the largest yearbook publisher in Australia. 

However, Perkins did not give up on her dream to create a one-stop-shop design site and at one point spent three months living with her brother in San Francisco where she pitched to more than 100 venture capitalists, all of whom rejected Canva. It was following a chance encounter at a conference in Perth with Silicon Valley venture capitalist Bill Tai, Perkins was winning over major investors including Hollywood celebrities Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson and building out Canva’s design platform with a fast-growing team of tech engineers and a high-profile tech advisor, Lars Rasmussen who co-founded Google Maps. 

It was in 2012 when things really kicked off however when Perkins and Obrecht found a tech co-founder in Cameron Adams. The same year, they closed their first funding round, which was oversubscribed and raised $1.5m, with Canva going live in 2013. In 2019, an $85m funding round led by Silicon Valley investor Mary Meeker’s Bond Capital gave the company a valuation of $3.2bn, before the most recent funding around in April 2021 leading to a valuation of $15bn. 

In her own words… 

"I think it's pretty important to know that every single person is going through their own trials and tribulations. Knowing that it's tricky for everyone, that any adventure will be filled with rejections and littered with obstacles – somehow makes the adventure a little less lonely. And it's most important for people who feel like they are on the outside to know this."

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