One of the small chinks of hope for traditional Australian retailers grappling with the effects of e-commerce offerings is the popularity of Australian e-tail sites among Australians.
Internet research company Hitwise ranks sites according to number of Australian generated hits, and Australian computer retail sites rate well against foreign based competitors.
Adrian Giles executive director and co-founder of Hitwise told ARN out of a total of 2189 "shopping and classifieds" sites, 89 were involved with selling computers or IT equipment.
Giles confirmed the clicks and mortar e-business model dominated the top 100 e-commerce sites in Australia. Although, he added, the top performing sites were all focused on online sales.
"In Australia the clicks and mortar model helps, however, no clicks and mortar sites made it into the top 100 global e-tail sites visited by Australians for the month of August," Giles said.
Phil Harpur, analyst at Gartner's e-market intelligence services, said Australians are more likely to use Australian sites and the greatest challenges facing Australian sites at this stage is providing appropriate logistics support for their online offerings.
"It all comes down to logistics, e-tailers will be successful if they can deliver," Harpur said. "They also want to know that they will be able to contact someone if they need to check the warranty or get service."
Having made a recent debut onto the Australian e-tail market, Fish PC is making sporadic appearances on Hitwise's top 10 Australian PC e-tail sites.
Fish PC CEO Tim Sabre describes the Australian market as very competitive.
"More and more Australians are heading towards the Internet and spending more money online. We have to make it worthwhile for them to spend their money at our site," Sabre said.
When it comes to customer service, Sabre believes that e-tailers have to focus on fulfillment issues and supply efficiencies if they are to remain competitive.
"At this stage we are doing very well, although it has been a little slow over the Olympic period."
Unlike Fish PC, which focuses much of its sales on the Internet, most channel companies are using the Internet as a support and information service.
About 4 per cent of e-tail sites in Australia are focused on PCs or IT products and services. However, according to Hitwise, many of these are advertising rather than retail sites.
"At this stage, most e-tail sites are using the Internet to provide people with information rather then trying to sell products," Harpur said.