Market dynamics are putting nutcracker pressure on those Australian resellers still debating how to stake a position in electronic commerce.
In their backyards, Australia's largest banks are about to trial the SET technology supposed to guarantee bullet-proof e-consumer transactions.
Meanwhile, knocking on their front doors is the advance guard of a growing swarm of shrink-wrapped e-commerce developers looking for channel partners. For resellers who answer the knock, the problem is how to separate reality from rodomontade when it comes to e-commerce products.
There are several questions they should ask, advises one of the new wave of offshore developers who appears to be finding little difficulty in signing up Australian partners.
The vital point to pin down is what level of support can be expected from the developer/ distributor, said Fergus Campbell, regional sales manager for Melbourne-based Intershop Communications.
"What resellers should want to know -- besides what margins are on offer -- is how fast they can be brought up to speed, how they can be trained in this market."
Since opening sales offices in Sydney and Melbourne last month and launching a hunt for channel partners, Intershop has found it "extremely easy" to get a hearing, he said.
"Eight out of 10 times, we get in the door on the first phone call. These guys don't need to be told there is an opportunity here . . . they are extremely enthusiastic."
Among the first to forge alliances with it are Sydney network and communications specialist Unixpac and Melbourne's Communicat. "We are talking to about 15 resellers about their business plans and how we can enhance them by enabling them to go after electronic commerce activities," Campbell said.
Intershop revenues of the privately-owned, US-based vendor exceeded $30 million last year. The company now employs 250 people.