Following 14 months of deliberation, national electronics and computer retailer Dick Smith Electronics (DSE) has gone live with a comprehensive e-commerce Web site trading about 12,000 items in the DSE inventory. At a development cost in excess of $50,000, this includes nearly 5000 products and services that would fall into the computer and communications category.
The new site http://www.dse.com.au was constructed in partnership with prominent Web development company Zivo.
Zivo's executive director Martin Lindstrum said complex issues needed to be addressed in developing DSE's site which is one of the largest in Australia in terms of the number of products on offer. He indicated the major hurdles encountered were in linking DSE's mammoth AS/400-based product database - consisting of some 20,000 products - to Microsoft's Back Office tools, SQL Server (V6.5) and Site Server (V3).
As well as being able to place orders from an extensive online catalogue, consumers can now design and purchase the DSX-branded PCs and notebooks sold by DSE, and access all sorts of current technical and product information.
"With this Web site, our aim was to make every Net-connected computer a Dick Smith store," said Lindstrum. "It is a different e-commerce site to what you normally see. It was an enormous project to get all the products on the site and address security."
Lindstrum states current trends show retailers need to change up to 90 per cent of their Web site content every month.
"The real 'wow' factor from this project is that it is focused on making sales and being rapidly updated. For consumers, it is fast and functional to use and they can get a huge array of products and information."
Rex Callaghan, DSE's technical services and product development manager, said the e-commerce site has already been taking orders. He thought it would revitalise a strong mail-order business that has "shrunk" under recent retail expansion.
All Web-sourced DSX PC orders will be dispatched from undisclosed "prominent local assemblers", with other orders handled from the central mail-order warehouse. Flat rates for delivery apply to all capital cities depending on weight and method of delivery which can be nominated from the Web site.