Online retail fails Gen Y impatience test

Online retail fails Gen Y impatience test

Summary: As much as I love online shopping, internet retailers really haven't found a way to satisfy my Gen Y, I-want-it-now impulses when making purchases.

TOPICS: E-Commerce

As much as I love online shopping, internet retailers really haven't found a way to satisfy my Gen Y, I-want-it-now impulses when making purchases.

A few weeks ago, I was contemplating buying the PlayStation3 game Fallout: New Vegas. Despite it not being the newest game around, it was still relatively highly priced, up to $69.95 in some bricks and mortar retailers. The cheapest in Australia was $49 at, unsurprisingly, JB Hi-Fi.

I decided to turn to online, where I found I could buy it from the reputable UK online retailer Zavvi for £12.99 or roughly $22 Australian, with shipping included.

A bargain, I thought, and so I ordered it.

This was 17 days ago. Zavvi emailed me 10 days ago informing me that the item had been shipped. As of this morning, it has still yet to arrive.

In the meantime, in aiming to cure my boredom with my current selection of games, I went out and bought another game I was looking at from a bricks and mortar JB Hi-Fi store.

Not all online retailers are this slow, but there is generally at least a week of waiting between purchasing and receiving goods from overseas online retailers, and this points out one of the many reasons I disagree with Gerry Harvey's call for the GST to be added to goods bought from overseas. There already is a tax on these items and it is called time.

While low, low prices from online retailers come about as a result of the high Aussie dollar as well as a lack of GST and outrageous retail mark-up, domestic shopfront retailers will always have the advantage in that I can walk into the store, pay my money and walk out with the item I've purchased and start using it right there and then.

Instead of whinging to the government about how unfair it is that Australian consumers don't want to pay higher prices in their stores, Australian retailers could adjust their prices with just a slight mark-up over their online counterparts and it would be much more attractive to consumers to pay a slight bit more for a product instead of incurring the tax of waiting for a cheaper overseas version of the same product.

Topic: E-Commerce


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • You really don't have an idea do you! The cost of doing business in Australia is high due to the lifestyle we all enjoy and our small population.

    Buy local and the money will return to you in the way services or goods you sell and not to OS companies.

    You may think your immune to this, but when they outsource your writing job to India because advertisers like HN, JB, HP, Telstra etc can't afford to spend money with your site.

    This makes me think of the time I saw a Microsoft banner advert on a major Bittorent site right above where you could DL Office 2010 for free... STUPID!
    • Are you sure they aren't the ones with no idea?

      Distributers are the ones who put on the high markup and provide slow service, as well as limiting the range of options we have available in Australia - relics from a past where no Fedex existed. They are the ones who need to get lean and fast.

      However, that is not an excuse for retailers that don't properly design their online store and don't support it with the appropriate efficient systems.

      Like it or not, we live in a global economy, but there are still many examples of Australian businesses that thrive despite overseas competition. They seem to rely on looking after their customers and staff and not trying to screw them in every way possible.
  • Not just price.
    My last two online items were not even available in Australia.
    So it wasn't like I can see the item in a shop and then buy it cheaper online.
    I'm usually prepared to buy it now for a higher price rather than wait for it.
    But price is moot if it's not available.
    Importers don't import every item.
    I'm also paranoid about waiting months for something but this can happen in a store too.
    I ordered a CB radio in the late '70s and waited months in vain before giving up.
    Seems that importers order one shipment only and ignore orders for more. Probably, they are waiting for a certain number of requests for that item to order in quantity. Or they're not interested in quantities under say 1000.
    People blame retailers for the high prices but I blame importers whom the retailers buy from. The only answer is to import it yourself
  • The key to buying online is to do your research about the suppliers. eBay provides a lot of info for this, and reading what people complain about can say a lot. You get the occasional sour grapes, but patterns of good or bad aspects of their service can be easily discerned.

    For other than eBay, I often search for the sellers name and the word 'problem'. You soon see if they have a 'reputation'.

    For electrical/electronic goods, I prefer to get them here, so they are covered by a warranty. However, some grey importers now provide 3rd-party Australian warranties for their goods. However, one must still read the fine print for what they cover.