In good company
Hosting an international conference in Sydney has incredible benefifits, from attracting the best talent in the world to gaining new insights and making scientifific breakthroughs through collaboration.
Sydney will host Sibos 2018 in October, attracting more than 6000 banking and fifinance leaders from all over the world and injecting $37 million into the NSW economy. How did it beat other international cities for the notable hosting gig? It won with the help of Business Events Sydney, a strategic bidding organisation that works to secure prestigious international conferences and congresses for the state and its capital city. CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith explains how Business Events Sydney brings far-reaching benefifits to its partners.
What’s something about Business Events know Sydney Sydney that people may not know?
We’re renowned for securing large business events for Sydney and NSW but most people don’t know about the various commercial outcomes that come as a result. We drive what’s called legacy benefifits. We partner with the NSW Government and the private sector to drive trade and inward investment and we encourage business migration for corporations that want to set up an offiffice in Sydney or regional NSW. We also have a talent attraction program; we’re trying to convince the best talent coming out for congresses to live and work in Sydney. Where talent goes, innovation and capital follows.
In what ways can securing a conference or congress help industry?
We’re bringing the best people to Australia and we’re also showcasing our best. That drives new ideas, knowledge and techniques that increase industry productivity. It also boosts the brand of the destination – Sydney is positioned as a hub of innovation. Dr Pia Winberg, for example, used conferences in Sydney to get the support and funding she needed to turn seaweed into a sustainable food source and is now taking that to developing countries to help combat chronic malnutrition. She’s also doing trials with it in our corrective services system.
What does it take to secure a hosting bid?
Four things: a vision for what we’re trying to achieve with the event; a highly regarded industry leader to head up the bid; a business case outlining advantages we have over our global competitors; and a compelling destination, Sydney. We win about 70 per cent of our bids – that’s 70 events out of the 100 that we bid for each year.
What exciting event do you have on the horizon?
The Global Summit of Women in April, where 1000 women from all over the world – including Kazakhstan, China, South Africa and Canada – will be coming to Sydney. The focus is on the economic empowerment of women, and both personal and professional solutions will be discussed. Women can do it all but we need support around us and we need to learn from one another.
IDENTIFY KEY GROWTH MARKETS
The United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand languaghavehavesimilarlegalandtaxobligationsandnolanguage barriers, making them the traditional markets for Australian online businesses. While these three eCommerce markets continue to expand, the major growth opportunity is in China and, increasingly, South- East Asia, where marketing, regulations and distribution are more complex.
Australia Post’s expanding range of partnerships and joint ventures helps Australian businesses develop strategies to enter new markets, navigate local laws and deliver parcels safely and securely to customers. Its collaboration with the Alibaba Group gives local companies access to China’s dominant online marketplace, Tmall Global, via the Australia Post flflagship store. Other key partnerships include China’s second major eCommerce hub, JD.com (and its 500 million registered customers), as well as Lazada, the premier online shopping destination for South- East Asia.
For businesses mostly selling via an overseas marketplace, remember that your “. au” website is where your global customers will go to research products. “Optimise for language as well as mobile and use geocoding to work out where searches are coming from,” says Ben. “The marketing efffforts on your home site are critical, even if customers buy your products in an external marketplace. If you are really investing in targeting Chinese consumers but your website is in English, you’re missing out. Use your app, chatbots and artifificial intelligence to suggest products and services based on previous choices. Instant gratifification is mandatory when you’re building your brand.”
GET A LEG- UP
Australia Post’s technology solutions for Australian eCommerce businesses make it easier to tap into data analytics to help them grow their company overseas. The national carrier has a strong presence at eCommerce forums, both locally and internationally. Ben says an integral part of Australia Post’s role is education.
“When you’re launching outside your dominant region, we suggest online marketplaces are the way to go. Australia Post has marketplace services to allow local businesses to do that with a low-risk, low-touch model via our flflagship stores on Tmall Global and JD.com, rather than going headfifirst into China, which can be complicated and costly.”
BE PREPARED FOR INCOMING ECOMMERCE
“One in three eCommerce transactions in Australia takes Australiaplaceplaceonaninternationalsite,”saysBen.“Australian consumers are buying more from overseas than ever before, regardless of foreign- exchange impacts.”
Online shoppers favour three regions: China for consumer electronics; the UK for fashion and books; and the US for fashion and beauty products. Australia Post and StarTrack’s joint ventures with Sai Cheng Logistics International (SCLI) in China and Aramex Global Solutions (AGS) in the UK and the US are designed to “help Australian consumers get access to goods from these three main lanes in a smooth and cost- effffective manner”, he says. UK-based online fashion store ASOS and sports retailer Wiggle are two popular merchants that use the network.
JOIN A GLOBAL LOGISTICS NETWORK
Australia Post’s joint ventures are about facilitating shipping to and from Australia, as well as connecting with each other. “We connect AGS with Sai Cheng, which enables Chinese consumers to get the same end-to- end experience when they’re buying from those places,” says Ben. It’s a service that competes with major international freight companies but has the bonus of combining the commercial solution of the initial overseas shipment with local postal partnerships.
JUST THE BEGINNING
“If you’re starting an eCommerce company in Australia today, begin with an ‘I’m born global’ mindset,” says Ben. Australian-made vitamins, beauty products and milk powders have led the way and he believes the big wave of global eCommerce is yet to come. “Many eCommerce retailers in Australia still don’t ship to the world. We haven’t yet maximised the opportunities overseas but we are supporting businesses to help them do exactly that.”
Ben Franzi, General Manager, eCommerce and International at Australia Post, shares some insights about eCommerce growth markets for Australian exporters and how merchants can expand their business to take advantage of global markets.
Business Events Sydney CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith