Clicks and mortar retailers will win over pure etailers

Cliicks and mortar or .cam retailers will win over pure etailers or .com retailers, said Tony Standley, general manager of sanity.com.

Retailers need to leverage on the Internet as an additional channel, not only to achieve online sales, but to drive retail sales in their outlets, said Standley, who was speaking at the Retail BusinessTechnology conference.

"The Internet is a powerful fulfilment channel which is the perfect addition to space-limited specialty retailers," said Standley.

30 percent of Australians who have access to the Internet use it to research products but complete their purchase offline, according to John Rolland, director of Online Services at Telstra. Customers' reasons forpurchasing offline varies.

60 percent said they are concerned about giving their credit card details over the Internet, 55 percent stillprefer to examine goods before buying them, 50 percent fear hackers accessing their credit card details.

"An online-only retail plan is in the long term fundamentally flawed, in the short term, they probably will have some trouble with the development costs of building the business while waiting for revenue tocome in," said Rolland.

Web shoppers spend 27 percent more in stores, according to Julian Josem, managing director Melhawk Computer Systems. "But this does not mean that they spend it on the Web, they like to do business with their traditional retailers," said Josem. These consumers source information about goods from the Web before buying them in retail outlets, he said.

Other advantages which .cam retailers have over etailers are long-term access to store stock for fulfilment, existing marketing structures, recognised brands and in-store refund and exchange policies.

Standley also cautioned that retailers who do not have an online strategy will lose sales to those who have; lose credibility with connected customers and suppliers who are moving to dealing with retailpartners via the business-to-business e-commerce model.

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