Safe Sourcing for E-Commerce


Steps you can take to avoid being derailed by a problem product

E-commerce revenue is projected to exceed $55 billion in 2024. That’s a vast number of individual products entering Australian households and offices through the convenience of online.

Anyone who supplies products in Australia, at any stage in the supply chain, is legally responsible for product safety. That includes products which are subject to mandatory safety standards and it also includes those which are not.

An engineer carries out a factory quality inspection

Safe sourcing the stock for your e-commerce store can prevent the very significant costs of:

  • Recalling unsafe products.
  • Compensating your consumers.
  • Fines levied by the regulator.
  • Lasting damage to your store’s reputation.

To protect your business against issues which might arise from supplying problem products, here are some measures that you should take when adding products to your store.

Sourcing

When sourcing a new product, you should:

  • Check that the factory from which a product originates has been properly audited.
  • Check that the raw materials have been tested and that none are banned in Australia.
  • Make sure that quality checks are performed during production.
  • Make sure pre shipment inspections are being properly carried out.

Testing

In general, it’s not enough to safety test a pre-production sample without further quality assurance or control during production.

  • You should request test reports from your supplier, whether they are a factory, a wholesaler or an agent.
  • If necessary, you should commission your own tests by an accredited laboratory to ensure a product complies with Australian standards.

Pre-shipment

To make sure the products you’re supplying in Australia are of sufficient quality, you should:

  • Request a pre-shipment inspection at the factory that complies with international standards.
  • Clarify anything on the inspection report that you’re uncertain of.
  • Make sure any issues that come up are actually addressed before shipment.

Other measures

Some further steps you can take to protect your online business are as follows:

  • Develop documented quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) processes.
  • Perform random stock audits in distribution centres or stores.
  • Commission factory audits or request evidence of standards compliance.
  • Purchase recall insurance.
  • Engage professional help to ensure compliance with mandatory standards, QA, QC or all three.

Better Consumer Engagement

Consumers are more likely to engage with online markets, products and services if they have a positive experience of buying safe and reliable products online. With regard to consumer safety, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) currently conducts broad market surveillance to detect dangerous products and address non-compliance issues.

The basic measures described above will not only help your online store to develop a positive reputation, they will also help you to stay on the right side of mandatory standards and Australian consumer law. If you need any help or clarification with QA, QC or Product Compliance, please contact us.


This communication (including any attachment) has been prepared by BWES and is based on the available information at the time of publication and is believed to be true and accurate. The information contained in this communication should be used as a guide only and may cease to apply if applicable regulation or the product’s design or application is altered. BWES does not take responsibility for any Injury, Loss for damage suffered by any party’s interpretation or decisions made by any party on the information provided in this communication.