Retail Solutions Briefs: Inform, Harris, RentSmart,

Retail Solutions Briefs: Inform, Harris, RentSmart,

Get real with online retailing, says InformOnline retailing is a business best left to the experienced players, according to Inform analyst Hakan Alac.

Established retailers can leverage off their existing operations and infrastructure, thereby bypassing the enormous set-up costs associated with many e-tailing operations, he said.

"Too often we hear how an online retailer is shutting down due to lacklustre sales, poor performance or they're out of cash," he said.

Clicks-and-mortar operations are in a better position to remain on top and profitable, but success will depend on a company's target audience and the maturity of the market. Corporate end users that are au fait with catalogue buying for standard and bulk items are more willing to use online services, Alac said.

Harris and RentSmart offer spending vouchersHarris Technology and RentSmart are running a special promotion during June, offering a $200 Coles Myer voucher to customers who rent computer equipment with RentSmart.

To be eligible for the voucher, they must use the RentSmart facility for more than $2000 worth of equipment in one transaction with Harris Technology. Customers must shop at Harris - either online, via its call centre or through a retail store. The offer is available until June 30 for approved shoppers use credit cards despite concernsA large majority of online shoppers give out their credit card numbers over the Internet despite concerns about the practice, according to an annual credit card tracking study conducted by CF Group in Canada.

CF Group reports that their study found six in 10 Internet users, and one-third of recent online buyers, are "very concerned" about giving their credit card number over the Internet. However, three-quarters of online buyers paid for their most recent purchase this way.

Rhonda Grunier, vice-president of CF Group, said that the results reflect the fact that paying for goods online by credit card is often the only payment method that is offered by retailers on their Web sites, forcing shoppers to put aside any anxiety they feel about this practice.

However new developments in online payment, such as single-use credit card numbers and person-to-person e-mail payments, should help to overcome the security concerns of many Internet users, Grunier predicted.

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