Launching an all-new online computer superstore takes more than just putting up a Web site and hoping traffic and sales will come.
With good sites already operating in Australia, Michael Glezerson, managing director of new local e-tailer ozbuy.com, said the success of a new venture depends squarely on the ability to differentiate from the competition.
Having gone live last Wednesday, ozbuy.com is a serious attempt to become a force in online computer sales of the future, according to Glezerson, who claimed that SOHO and SME customers will find nothing else like it out there at the moment.
`What we did to differentiate was to build a special compare engine,' Glezerson said. `These allow people to compare similar products to each other and then make a decision on which one is the best for their needs.
`We see a gap in the avail- ability of this information. Medium-sized enterprises that can't afford to have a full- time IT department still need to make educated buying decisions. Those are the customers we are aiming at.'
Glezerson said it is not easy for these people to find out all the technical specs they need but now they can go to a single Web site at their convenience and start comparing to see which products are suitable.
`We see ourselves not only as a retail store, but as a resource and that is a huge differentiator between what we are doing and the other top sites at the moment.'
Glezerson added that the investment and management team behind ozbuy.com is experienced and impressive. He himself and fellow director Michael Smith have been in the industry for 12 years, during which time they turned a business in South Africa from a single retail store (Software Connection) into a listable company (The Connection Group).
Glezerson and Smith sold out of that operation and moved to Australia where they were working for Sega Ozisoft and HP respectively until commencing this operation in January this year.
Other investors in ozbuy.com include advertising mogul John Singleton and businessman Bob Mansfield.
`With investors like that, we are here for the long haul,' Glezerson said. `Everyone involved recognised what we were about and that we knew the industry.'
Pricing on the site will be `competitive and aggressive', which is possible because of the low-running overheads, according to Glezerson. The 55,000 computer software and hardware products on the site are sourced from five different distributors who will also be handling fulfilment for them with a variety of options including same-day and low-cost delivery.
The ozbuy.com Web site is hosted off-site as the best way to ensure quality of service in the foundation stages, according to Glezerson, while CamTech is delivering the payment gateway using SSL encryption technology.
`We store no credit card information,' he said. `Every card is scrambled at our end and details need to be re-entered for every order.'
Costs involved in setting up the Microsoft NT-based infrastructure behind ozbuy.com were being kept close to the chest, but Glezerson did let out that it was a `very expensive task to get it performing the way we wanted it'.