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Victoria Webdesign sells sector to Ella Mac Web Solutions
Soaring internet sales spur a shopping revolution
Online retail 'years away' from saturation


20 February 2008


Queenstown business Victoria Webdesign this week announces the sale of its HTML design sector to local company Ellamac Web Solutions.

Ellamac Web Solutions owner Ella MacKenzie has bought the HTML and print design sector of Victoria Webdesign, which has created many websites for Queenstown businesses. Victoria Ludemann will continue to run Victoria Webdesign building complex websites and business solutions for example online shopping sites with its existing local, national and international clients.

The sale, which completes on the 1 March 2008, allows Ellamac Web Solutions to provide complete design solutions for clients offering print, graphic and website design.

Kaja Vetter , Victoria Webdesign's Senior Designer, will transfer to Ellamac Web Solutions, assuring continuity of service for their long standing clients.

Victoria Ludemann says: “I am delighted that Ella has bought the HTML design part of the business which allows her to expand the range of design services she provides. Victoria Webdesign is now concentrating on the database websites and business solutions with existing and new clients.”

Ella says: “Victoria Webdesign is a well-known company in Queenstown, and they have built websites for hundreds of businesses. Website design requires specialist knowledge and expertise, and Ellamac Web Solutions is now able to offer a full range of design services. I would like to reassure all our clients that it will be business as usual, and that we will continue to offer the highest levels of service.”

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Soaring internet sales spur a shopping revolution

11:00AM Tuesday May 01, 2007
By Karen Attwood

ASOS says online sales of mens and womens fashion are going through the roof.
LONDON - The retail industry is undergoing a revolution.

As techno-savvy consumers increasingly go online to shop, internet sales are booming and bricks and mortar businesses are following specialist e-retailers onto the web.

The fashion retailer ASOS, which specialises in selling versions of celebrity outfits online, yesterday posted an 111 per cent increase in annual sales.

Taking aside the fact that last year's comparatives were hit by the explosion at the nearby Buncefield fuel depot, turnover was still up around 80 per cent.

And in March, ASOS recorded its highest traffic levels ever, with more than 2 million visitors to its website.

Research published this week by IMRG, the industry body for global e-retailers, reveals that £42bn will be spent online by UK shoppers this year, which is equivalent to London's West End sales nine times over and also matches the turnover of the supermarket giant Tesco.

Some 860 million parcels will be shipped to the UK's 26 million internet shoppers and each online consumer will spend £1,600 on average.

It is just 13 years since the first secure internet shopping transaction took place in August 1994 with the sale of a CD in the US.

By the time of the dot com gold rush in 2000, internet sales had reached £800m a year.

Despite fears over the future of the internet after the dot com bubble burst and initial consumer concerns about the safety of shopping by credit card online, e-commerce sales have exploded over the past six years, growing by a whopping 3,500 per cent.

James Roper, the chief executive at the IMRG, says that, in much the same way that the concept of self-service transformed the way people shopped from over-the-counter style transactions, self-service online will transform the way people consume.

Traditional retailers have to concentrate on the mass market as they only have the shelf space and time for the best-selling products, he says.

But with the internet, consumers have unlimited choice.

"It is a bigger market place and consumers can find precisely the product they want rather than just what is available in the shops," he said.

"You can get products from anywhere in the world. The traditional retail model is not geared up for that."

As the IMRG reports said: "The internet does not recognise boundaries and is creating a huge global shopping marketplace, worth £250bn in 2007.

More than a billion people use the internet, some 17 per cent of the world's population, of which almost a third live in Europe.

"Developing a thriving e-commerce sector that reaches beyond national borders will become vital for the competitiveness of every country's economy," the report continued.

Nick Robertson, the chief executive of ASOS, said one of the biggest factors in the growth of online fashion retailer has been the proliferation of broadband.

"Due to broadband we are able to showcase our products in a more favourable way, for example with the use of catwalks," he said.

The other key factor pushing increasing numbers online is convenience, he said.

"Girls don't have the time to go to the shops in their lunch hour.

By shopping online they can get items delivered to their place of work." As he points out, 96 per cent of 15-year-olds have bought online.

"Their perception of stores isn't based on what the high street have given them for 100 years," he said.

"It is based on their experience online."In a cash-rich, time-poor society, shopping online would appear to be the ideal solution.

The popularity of eBay, which announced that its annual profits soared by 52 per cent to US$377m earlier this month, has shown the consumer's willingness to search for bargains online.

The Californian-based company said sales in the UK showed the greatest surge last year, with a 26 per cent rise in the number of registered users.

Many of the big names retailers are seeing the internet as an opportunity.

The supermarket giant Tesco said its online sales reached £1.2bn last year while John Lewis, Next, Debenhams and Comet have all seen soaring online sales.

According to new research carried out by the IMRG on shoppers' habits, around half prefer to purchase consumer electronics online with just 30 per cent preferring to buy them in store.

Similarly, more people want to buy gifts via e-commerce (42 per cent) compared to 28 per cent of consumers who want to buy gifts from a shop.

However, for clothing, footwear and jewellery the majority of people still prefer to visit the high street (63 per cent) as opposed to shop online (24 per cent).

Yet, in a similar way to window shopping, consumers will research products on different websites before hitting the high street with their credit cards.

Nick Bubb, retail analyst at Pali International, said: "A lot of people still want to look at things before they buy.

They will do the research online and then go and shop outside."Another analyst added: "I don't think we can assume a mass shift to online. People like to browse and impulse buy."

And as Mr Bubb pointed out, ASOS, as steep as its growth has been over the past couple of years, is still relatively small fry.

Around half of UK retailers did not have an online store at the beginning of 2007, including the department store Selfridges, the supermarket chains Morrison and Somerfield and the low-cost clothing retailer Primark.

Instead, their websites are being used to showcase products and give details of stores.

"Retail is about serving consumers in the way they want, but a lot of retailers think it is about having brick and mortar shops," said Mr Roper.

Certainly when it comes to convenience, online appears to win hands down, certainly for products that are easy to post or that consumers wish to buy in bulk.

DVDs, CDs and books are the perfect example.

Shoppers know exactly what they want; it is simply a case of finding the cheapest retailer online.

However, when it is a question of something more personal, such as the perfect dress and piece of jewellery to match, consumers often prefer to see the item for themselves.

They enjoy the whole experience, the pleasure of trying products on or simply browsing and planning a future purchase.

One retail analyst said that the traditional retailers that may prove ultimately more successful are those that go multi-channel by integrating their website with their brick and mortar operations.

"That is the next logical step," he said.

"Websites will become more sophisticated. You will be able to order online, then arrange to go and pick it up yourself from a distribution point."


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Online retail 'years away' from saturation

8:42AM Tuesday May 15, 2007
By Alexandria Sage

LOS ANGELES - E-commerce is moving "full steam ahead" and is years away from saturation, with double-digit growth expected for several years, according to an online retail industry report published today.

The survey by Forrester Research for Shop.org, the US National Retail Federation's digital division, also showed that 2006 was the first year consumers in the United States spent more money online buying clothing than buying computer equipment.

The industry's 25 per cent growth in 2006 to US$220 billion was above expectations of 20 per cent and matched growth seen in 2005, the report found.

"The channel continues to move full steam ahead while capturing a larger share of total retail sales," said the study, the first of two industry reports compiling data from 170 retailers.

Internet retail growth has been fueled by more consumers each year using fast Broadband connections and the profusion of easier, more navigable websites that encourage browsing and buying online.

Slicker websites, with better use of imaging that lets consumers see up-close views of fabric and detailing helped propel a 61 per cent rise in apparel, accessories and footwear sales in 2006 to US$18.3 billion, making it the No. 1 category in the industry, excluding travel.

Computer hardware and software, by contrast, rose 20 per cent to US$17.2 billion.

Retailers are doing a better job of identifying the hurdles keeping people from shopping online and addressing them, said Scott Silverman, executive director of Shop.org.

"They're making the shopping experience more natural," he said.

One example is the preponderance of free shipping and return offers. They have fueled a robust business in online shoe sales, with retailers such as Zappos.com, Gap Inc.'s Piperlime.com and Amazon.com's Endless.com all competing for a share of the market.

Despite ample room for growth, annual growth rates of more than 20 per cent will not last, said Silverman. The industry is expected to reap sales of US$259 billion in 2007, he said, representing an 18 per cent gain over 2006.

"At some point it's going to have to slow down," Silverman said. "Online retail is now in its 13th or 14th year, it's beginning to mature."

But while growth rates might be decelerating, retailers are still in the early stages of recognizing the positive impact a sophisticated online strategy can deliver, he said.

"Retailers are just beginning to see what that potential is," Silverman said. "But a lot of them are fairly far behind in terms of having an appropriate investment level to take advantage of that opportunity."

One leader in investment has been Amazon.com, which has been upgrading its systems and adding new features to its website to enhance the online experience. Wall Street has been critical of a 47 per cent rise in spending on technology and content in

2006, but Amazon claims that investments will pay off in the long run due to the loyalty of consumers.

But it is not quite time to shutter that brick-and-mortar store. The online retail industry still only accounts for 7 per cent of total retail sales, excluding travel. But certain categories represent a much higher percentage, like computers, where online sales make up 44 per cent of the total.

The food and beverage category, by contrast, represents only 1 per cent.


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