Channel players are being urged to invest in an online storefront as web-based sales in the UK soared through the £3.5bn barrier last month beating London’s West End’s takings for an entire year.
According to research from the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), the industry body for e-tailers, this took year-on-year sales growth for the second quarter of 2007 to 52.5 per cent – significantly higher than Q2 2006 (35.3 per cent), 2005 (30.8 per cent) and 2004 (35.4 per cent).
Online sales of electrical goods also rose 92 per cent for the month, the industry body claimed.
James Roper, chief executive of IMRG, said: “Consumers are embracing the internet now – they no longer need to plan their lives around when the shops are open and, for many, queuing at the till is a thing of the past. It is a trend that will definitely continue – perhaps not at the same pace, but certainly at a high level. Any firm without an online store just won’t be able to compete.”
However, for smaller channel players, setting up an online store can be costly. Software developer Redbeck Group launched its X2tek service in May, which provides resellers with their own branded online shop for a set monthly fee. JLT is currently the only X2tek distributor, but Redbeck is looking for other distributors to take the service on board.
Paul Roberts, founder of Redbeck, said: “X2tek is a doorway to allow VARs to put JLT’s product lines on their own site. It saves them the cost of operating a web site, packing orders, holding stock and dealing with customer emails.”
Andrew Scofield, purchasing manager at JLT, said: “We have signed 15 VARs in the past month. Resellers can choose which of our products they want to feature on their X2tek site.”
Michael Meredith, owner of VAR A1 Computer Solutions, said: “We have had a web site for some time, but not a facility to enable customers to buy online. X2tek is great and particularly useful for taking customer orders if we do not have a product in stock.”
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