On­line store clicks with toy mar­ket

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - TONY RAGGATT

AWARD- WIN­NING T o wn s v i l l e busi­ness En­tropy is cel­e­brat­ing 10 years of suc­cess­ful op­er­a­tion and show­ing how ded­i­cated at­ten­tion to on­line sell­ing can take you a long way.

The busi­ness sells qual­ity wooden and ed­u­ca­tional toys.

From a small re­tail shopfront launched in Townsville in Au­gust 2007, En­tropy has grown to be­come what it says is Aus­tralia’s largest re­tailer in tra­di­tional and wooden toys.

Sales from its web­site, launched about a year af­ter they opened, now ac­count for more than 75 per cent of their trade.

En­tropy owner and sports sci­en­tist Deb­o­rah La­touf said they were a com­mu­nity- based busi­ness with a shopfront ser­vic­ing Townsville and North Queens­land.

They re­main com­mit­ted to that mar­ket but the re­al­ity is web­site sales pre­dom­i­nate.

“The on­line po­ten­tial for growth is far greater. It’s the thing driv­ing the growth of the busi­ness,” said Dr La­touf, who has a PhD in mo­tor de­vel­op­ment.

They sell to cus­tomers Aus­trali­aw­ide, par­tic­u­larly in the cap­i­tal cities, although peo­ple in the min­ing com­mu­ni­ties in northwest Aus­tralia are a key mar­ket.

The com­pany’s pol­icy to pro­vide a flat freight rate, or free with pur­chases over $ 125, any­where in Aus­tralia, as well as the of­fer of qual­ity prod­ucts, means they are pop­u­lar in poorly ser­viced re­mote and re­gional ar­eas.

Dr La­touf said search en­gine op­ti­mi­sa­tion – high rank­ing in on­line searches – now oc­cu­pied much of her time.

“It’s some­thing you work on the whole day. It builds value in the busi­ness,” she said.

“The key thing is you have to have good con­tent. Then you are re­warded by Google.”

While many large Aus­tralian re­tail­ers are ner­vous about the ar­rival of ecom­merce gi­ant Ama­zon, Dr La­touf said she re­garded Ama­zon more as an op­por­tu­nity than a threat.

She is pre­par­ing the func­tion­al­ity of their on­line plat­form to work with Ama­zon.

“I keep a very close eye on what’s go­ing on with Ama­zon,” she said.

“We can sell our prod­uct through them. There are on­line re­tail­ers in the US that sell through their own sites and also sell through Ama­zon.

“Ab­so­lutely, if it comes here, you have to work with the mar­ket­place.”

Mean­while, though, it’s time for a party. They are plan­ning a com­mu­nity event on Au­gust 13 with face paint­ing, food, craft ac­tiv­i­ties and dress- up com­pe­ti­tion at their Hyde Park shop to mark their 10th birth­day.

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