Eurolan Research has warned that UK resellers stand to be left in an electronic dark age by both the US and Europe if they do not embrace e-commerce.
A report from Eurolan on the state of e-commerce within the UK's reseller community revealed mixed responses but highlighted concerns. According to the research, carried out between February and March, only 38 per cent of UK resellers are actively involved in e-commerce. About 74 per cent of that group are buying, 58 per cent selling and 32 per cent doing both.
However, resellers acknowledged that e-commerce will become an integral part of the business environment, with 71 per cent planning to use the Net for purchasing - the majority within 12 months.
The earliest adopters were network integrators and mail-order companies, but the group that was resisting the change most fervently was Vars targeting niche markets.
About 93 per cent of resellers perceived the main benefit to be time saving and 36 per cent cost saving. The main worries were lack of security, loss of personal contact with distributors and clients, lack of internal resources to implement a system, time, and a perceived steep learning curve.
Keith Humphreys, analyst at Eurolan, warned that Europe was already outpacing the UK. 'There is a degree of short-sightedness in the UK,' he said. 'Resellers are adopting e-commerce in Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia, but there is a reluctance and lack of motivation in the UK. They have to accept that their role in life is going to change.'
David Kerrell, e-business manager at Hyperchannel Distribution, said: 'Dealers must realise it will allow them to do out-of-hours business, cutting the value chain. They can have an electronic role - they can become the hub or portal of business.'
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