Big retailers, you have missed the ecommerce boat!

I have read with interest all the commotion in the media over the last 48 hours surrounding the big debate:

Australian retail vs. overseas online shopping; who should the Australian public support?

I think that the big winners this week are actually Australian based online shopping sites like us: Today’s article on Inside Retailing (CLICK HERE to see) summed it up well: “The overriding message in consumers’ minds? ‘Have you tried shopping online yet? You’ll save a fortune!’ If you live in Australia and you were considering popping into your local mall to check out the post-Christmas sales, you’d be mad not to have ventured online first to check out the treasure chest of bargains on offer just a few mouse clicks or Google searches away.”

Only 1 in 5 of these online shopping transactions are actually going out of the country. The other 4 are going to the many fast starters (like ourselves) that set up shop in the early days of ecommerce and now are reaping the rewards.

Gerry Harvey and his mates are asking for a level playing field. The fact is that the whole concept of online shopping has already levelled the playing field for everyone. It seems that “new kids on the block” like us are getting more online traffic and probably executing more online transactions in a week than all the 22 retail market leaders (that signed on the open retail letter) put together.

Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that the newspapers owned the classifieds – see what happens when you snooze?

This Christmas was a major turning point in the media’s perception of online, which in turn has put the attention on the struggling retail industry.

It’s clear to see that consumers have broken down all the barriers of the past and online shopping is here to stay. It’s quite simple – the prices are always better online, the information is often clear and accurate, and the safety is certainly is no longer an issue to be concerned about. Add to that good customer service, fast delivery and an unimaginable variety and the choice is clear.

Online shopping has grown by 19% this past Christmas in the USA, and at Catchoftheday we are selling, on average, one item every 14 seconds! Plus we’re looking to grow revenue to $130m this year; that’s 120% growth on the previous year.

Christopher Zinn, the Choice campaign director said “The big chains should recognise that it’s their high prices, limited range and poor customer service that increasingly encourages people to use the internet.” How true! Speaking for ourselves, we’ve grown in the last 6 months from 40 to 80 staff, and business is getting better by the day.

So to summarise, Australia has some unbelievably innovative online retailers that are doing extremely well. Forget the dodgy camera sellers from Asia. You don’t have to shop online on overseas sites to find a great bargain – support local ecommerce!