Queensland-based reseller Byte Power is trying its hand at the e-tailing business in an attempt to capture some of the IT industry's online market.
The company has launched a multimillion-dollar Web site, bponline.net, designed to enable customers to research, buy and finance computers online.
The site will sell consumables, peripherals and networking products, but the company will also offer its own PC configuration service as well as branded computers.
Where bponline differs from other dot.com e-tail sites is in the marriage of its traditional reseller business and its online initiatives. The site will integrate the company's catalogue service and call centre to provide customers with full relationship management services.
"It is an e-tailing site, but also encompasses B2B transactions," said general manager Martin Bicknell. "Although it would be easier to focus on the B2B side, the type of product we offer can support both kinds of e-commerce.
"We have been around for 12 years and as we have an existing business and a good relationship with distributors, we do not have a lot of logistic problems," Bicknell said.
The concept was put forward about 12 or 18 months ago, but it has taken around seven months to get the site up and running. For Byte Power, the site is more about providing add-on services than being a pure e-business venture.
"It is a hard slog just being an online retailer and there are a lot of companies doing it tough out there," Bicknell said. "We view the e-tailing side as, yes we have to be a part of it' but it is more of a sales tool."
Business customers will also be offered products and services through the company's corporate account team.
According to Bicknell, the challenge lay in developing a site that would cater for two disparate markets.
"They are very different types of customers. Consumers are very driven by price. They want to touch and feel the product - which is hard because we are trying to get away from the shopfront approach to minimise overheads - whereas business customers seems to know what they want."
The company will embark on an advertising and marketing campaign to encourage site awareness amongst consumers later this month.
The success of the site rests largely on the relationships Byte Power has with some of the major PC vendors including HP, Compaq and Toshiba, as well as the support from distributor giant Tech Pacific, Bicknell said.
Addressing Web transaction security, bponline.net has forged an alliance with Identikey to become a preferred distributor for the Asia-Pacific region.