Since Amazon entered the Australian market in December 2017, online retailers have been feeling the pressure to retain their client base and remain profitable.

But Booktopia, which was just named 2018 Telstra NSW Business of the Year, has not written its last chapter yet.

Taking on the online giant and its strategy of being the ‘everything store’, Booktopia has hunkered down on its focus of being one thing to one specific group of customers.

CEO and founder Tony Nash said that the business’ vision was to be Australia’s bookstore.

“And we’re achieving that by focusing on our customers and making them the centre of decisions and our ecosystem.”

“We’re going head to head against Amazon. The category where they started, is the same as our business. It’s quite a thing for us to take on. Our goal is continue to work hard, dazzle our customer, spoil them, and hopefully that’ll result in more and more success.

“We’re making customers the centre of decisions and our ecosystem,” he said.

Mr Nash believes that if they do that, then they can win the hearts and minds of Australian book buyers.

Booktopia, which started out in 2004 with a $10-per-day budget, has grown to become a $115 million force to be reckoned with, counting 160 staff and four million customers to date.

The business started as an online portal selling books, with another business fulfilling orders in the background. Things changed for Booktopia after a year, when they started holding their own stock.

“One day, we bought all the stock to this one particular book that was really popular. We had no other books in our warehouse. When customers came back to us with positive comments on how fast our delivery was, we knew there was something we needed to do. So we started to fill up our warehouse and soon ran out of space.

“We never had the idea of being an online bookstore, we were just focused on giving customers the best book-buying experience online. That’s what we did and it just kept getting bigger. This year, we will ship out five million books,” said Mr Nash.

Booktopia has been a Telstra Business Award finalist seven times and won a first Award four years ago. Mr Nash says that when they won Telstra Medium Business Award in 2014, the business looked very different:

“In 2014, when we won the first time, we had $39 million in revenue and had just moved into our new facility. We had no automation, and we had to build everything and learn logistics from scratch. We went from this to a business turning over $115 million. So to have won the Business of the Year this year, it’s a great recognition of where we’re up to in our journey.”

Its strategy to continually seek new ways to invest in innovation and to drive efficiencies is what impressed the Telstra Business Awards Judges the most. Recent automation upgrades in its 13,000 square metre distribution centre have increased its shipping capability from 7,000 to 30,000 items each day.

The business’ fearless attitude in taking on Amazon in the online book retail space made it a deserving winner for this accolade.

“Next for us is going to the Nationals. That’s the next thing for our business. I’m excited!” Mr Nash said.

While Booktopia shone bright on the night, we also cheered three other category winners:

Manly Spirits Co.: Emerging & Energised Award

Founded by husband-and-wife duo, David and Vanessa Wilton, this distillery based in the Northern Beaches produces premium Australian handcrafted gins, vodka and whiskies using artisanal methods.

Flora and Fauna: Small & Succeeding Award

A Certified B Corp online retailer offering a range of 4,500 skin care, make-up, body, home and lifestyle products that are vegan, ethically sourced and cruelty-free. Founder Julie Mathers wants her business to be the most ethical retailer possible with the best customer service.

Foodbank NSW & ACT Limited: Social Change Maker Award

A charity that addresses the needs of the 3.6 million Australians having experienced food insecurity in the last 12 months, by capturing surplus food and delivering it to the people who need it most – including school children through the School Breakfast 4 Health program.

The Telstra Business Awards are an exclusive platform to help businesses thrive in the future, by providing recognition, trusted advice and by opening their doors to an exclusive network.

All 2018 New South Wales Australian winners will join other state and territory category winners at the national 2018 Telstra Australian Business Awards in Melbourne on Thursday, 20 September 2018.

Visit the Telstra Business Awards website for further information about the winners.