Reading time: 5 minutes

Many people talk about the benefits of online retail. While there are a lot of advantages to online commerce, there are also many commercial benefits to making an online store a physical reality. When people can experience a shop in the flesh, they can become more invested in the brand. This article discusses the five things retailers need to know when taking their store online to offline.


Online retailers need to find the right business premises for their store. The location will need to suit both the brand and the needs of the business.

When they have found their ideal location, they will need to verify that local planning laws zone it as commercial. Every local council zones areas within their municipality according to permissible uses. For example, an area could be exclusively residential, commercial or permit a mixed use.

If the premises can support retail purposes, the proprietor needs to apply to the local council for development consent. The council will provide information on this process, either online or in person.

If the business owner wishes to make alterations to the premises or do construction work, they will also need to apply for building consent. This process is typically more complicated and takes more time. For example, the council will require plans before they give approval. Once work is complete, the premises will require local government inspection and approval.

The proprietor also needs to decide if they will lease or purchase the premises. Either option will require them to enter into a formal legal document. The leasing legislations of respective states require that the parties complete certain preliminary tasks before they can execute the lease. For example, in NSW a lessor must prepare a draft retail lease before their agent advertises the premises for lease. The agent must also provide a prospective lessee with a Retail Tenancy Guide.  Further, the legislation provides minimum standards for the retail tenancy relationship.


Every store requires a certain amount of equipment. The nature and quantity of it required will depend on the type of store. Once a proprietor has ascertained what equipment they need, they will also have to acquire it on the most commercially beneficial terms possible.

A proprietor usually has two options for purchasing equipment. The first option is to purchase the equipment outright. Alternatively, they could enter into an asset financing arrangement. If leasing equipment is the preferred option, a business owner must read their contract closely. They need to know what it requires of them and what rights it gives them.

Licences and Permits

Most businesses require a licence or permit of some kind. Of course, this also applies to online businesses. For example, an online wine retailer still needs a liquor licence. However, when taking an online store offline, a business’ existing licences and permits may be no longer be suitable. Similarly, the business will likely require additional ones.

If an online business already has a licence or permit, the proprietor should verify that it applies in the physical retail environment. For example, bottle stores need a different kind of liquor licence to online retailers. Similarly, the proprietor needs to check if they need any other kind of additional permit or licence. For example, if an online cupcake retailer sets up a physical store and would like to have tables on the footpath, they need a local government permit to do so.

Trading Hours

A physical store might also be affected by state or territory legislation governing trading hours. Whether restrictions apply, and what they are, will depend on where the online retailer locates their store. For example, both the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory governments have fully deregulated retail trading hours.

The nature and size of the store will also affect whether restrictions apply because the legislation often exempts particular kinds of stores from restricted trading hours. Online retailers should also be aware that other legislation or another contract might limit their trading hours. For example, licensed premises are subject to restrictions on allowable trading hours.

Employment Matters

Doubtless, an online retailer with existing employees has a knowledge of their legal obligations as an employer. Nonetheless, these might vary and increase as the business moves online to offline.

Every retail store must comply with all appropriate standards concerning occupational health and safety. Similarly, employees must be able to work free from discrimination and harassment.

It is advisable for online retailers to consider what kinds of employment relationships their physical business requires. For example, would casual or permanent staff be more suitable?

If your store comprises a part of the national workplace relations system, you need to be aware of the National Employment Standards (NES). Also, be sure to remember that the NES affects casual staff differently to ongoing staff.

As an employer, you will need to pay your employees their correct entitlements, including penalty rates if appropriate. Also, you must make all necessary superannuation contributions and withhold the appropriate amounts of income tax.


LegalVision has provided many businesses with tailored online legal advice.  If you are considering transitioning your store from online to offline and have any further questions, call LegalVision today on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.


Redundancies and Restructuring: Understanding Your Employer Obligations

Thursday 7 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

If you plan on making a role redundant, it is crucial that you understand your employer obligations. Our free webinar will explain.
Register Now

How to Sponsor Foreign Workers For Your Tech Business

Wednesday 13 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Need web3 talent for your tech business? Consider sponsoring workers from overseas. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Advertising 101: Social Media, Influencers and the Law

Thursday 21 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Learn how to promote your business on social media without breaking the law. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Structuring for Certainty in Uncertain Times

Tuesday 26 July | 12:00 - 12:45pm

Learn how to structure to weather storm and ensure you can take advantage of the “green shoots” opportunities arising on the other side of a recession.
Register Now

Playing for the Prize: How to Run Trade Promotions

Thursday 28 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Running a promotion with a prize? Your business has specific trade promotion obligations. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Web3 Essentials: Understanding SAFT Agreements

Tuesday 2 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Learn how SAFT Agreements can help your Web3 business when raising capital. Register today for our free webinar.
Register Now

Understanding Your Annual Franchise Update Obligations

Wednesday 3 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Franchisors must meet annual reporting obligations each October. Understand your legal requirements by registering for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Legal Essentials for Product Manufacturers

Thursday 11 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

As a product manufacturer, do you know your legal obligations if there is a product recall? Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a commercial law firm that provides businesses with affordable and ongoing legal assistance through our industry-first membership.

By becoming a member, you'll have an experienced legal team ready to answer your questions, draft and review your contracts, and resolve your disputes. All the legal assistance your business needs, for a low monthly fee.

Learn more about our membership

Need Legal Help? Submit an Enquiry

If you would like to get in touch with our team and learn more about how our membership can help your business, fill out the form below.

Our Awards

  • 2020 Innovation Award 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice Award 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2020 Financial Times Award 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year Award 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • 2022 Law Firm of the Year Winner 2022 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards