02 September 2018

In today’s blog we speak with Dean Salakas, Chief ‘Party’ Dude (co-CEO) at top Australian party supply retailer, The Party People, and board member of annual e-commerce event, Online Retailer.

The Party People shot to fame in 2015 when Salakas appeared on Shark Tank. He pitched for a $400,000 investment in the party supplies business started by his mother, Mala, in 1985, which he and his brother Peter have run since 2007. Salakas walked away from the ‘tank’ empty-handed but said the experience was “only positive” and it lead to a significant uplift in both online and in store sales.

He told Smart Company soon after the show aired, “[We prepared] the website as much as we thought suitable” before the episode and traffic “exploded” on the website overnight.

Asked about how important the website is to The Party People business, Salakas responds: “The website provides important information to our customers before they decide to come and shop with us [in store]. Without our website, our business would not survive.” This is supported by findings by Adweek that 78% of shoppers, at least occasionally, browse online first (showrooming, it’s called) before buying in store. And Google recently shared that “82 percent of smartphone shoppers conduct ‘near me’ searches” looking for specific products which they then go in store to purchase.

Salakas went on to share how important the domain name, thepartypeople.com.au, is to his business. “It’s central to the brand we have built and that people know”. The .com.au extension features in much of the imagery Salakas and his team have created that adorn their colourful stores and website. “Nearly 20% of our revenue is derived from people directly typing our URL into their browser, so it’s very important they know it and can recall it”.

As for the choice of a .com.au domain over, say, a .com Salakas explains: “We are an Australian company targeting the Australian market. People usually assume its .com.au in that case.” This echos the points we talked about in a recent blog on the benefits of a .au domain name: .au shows the world you’re Australian.

Quizzed on his top tip for small retailers that are looking to grow their business, Salakas insists they should understand their variable cost to service a sale. “When you know this you will know how much you can spend to acquire a customer and then you can really scale your marketing”. Great advice and applicable to businesses in all sectors.

This is our first in a series of chats with Australian businesses and organisations that rely on .au. Stay tuned for the next post in a few weeks.


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