Retailers are ignoring the Internet challenge and starting to become concerned about the millennium bug issue, according to survey results released last week by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and the Australian Centre for Retail Studies (ACRS).
The research covered retailers which collectively account for more than 40 per cent of retail sales in Australia -- including small, medium and large players -- and was not just restricted to the IT industry.
According to Alan Treadgold, executive director of ACRS, survey results show that just 14 per cent of respondents nominated e-commerce as a major issue for the industry.
"Contrary to all the discussion we are seeing on e-commerce, retailers don't appear to be very interested," Treadgold said. "Those who are interested see e-commerce as primarily offering a means of communicating with their suppliers -- not as a way of winning new customers."
Other results from the survey show that retailers are concerned and confused by millennium bug issues, according to Tony Leibowitz, retail leader of PWC. A clear majority of 57 per cent reported that they are not yet Y2K compliant while close to 75 per cent of them are uncertain as to the compliance status of their suppliers.
"Time is running out and any complacency at this stage is a recipe for disaster," said Leibowitz. "Retailers do say they are assessing their problems but they have no way of knowing what is being done by their suppliers."