New Zealand is failing to take advantage of e-commerce opportunities available in the global market, says Deloitte & Touche Consulting partner Paul Gadd.
Commenting on a report by Deloittes, called "The Network Value Proposition", Gadd says many New Zealand companies are still looking at the internal possibilities for electronic consumerism, but he believes they should look wider to the global market.
Our geographic isolation isn't a problem because goods don't need to be held or manufactured in New Zealand. "There's nothing to say you can't host the Web site here and be purchasing the goods somewhere in Asia and shipping them directly to the US."
He believes the main reason New Zealand isn't taking advantage of electronic consumerism opportunities is the lack of knowledge around the boardroom table about what IT can do, meaning there's a gap between business strategy and IT. He says the Deloittes' report was written to help CIOs present their case more successfully to CEOs and board members.
He believes the attitude that IT and the Internet can be an asset to a business will grow among top management as time goes on. "A lot of people's introduction to the Internet is when they read in the papers about porn and that sort of stuff." Gadd says once businesses become familiar with e-commerce through transactions with their suppliers, they will feel comfortable moving to direct sales. "At the moment, the business strategy doesn't yet have the comfort to know what to do with it."
The report predicts that electronic rebundlers will be a major e-commerce trend in the future. "A rebundling service aims to provide a type of electronic one-stop shop for consumers by acting as a front end for other vendors' services," it says.
The report predicts re-bundlers will follow on from the process of disintermediation, where suppliers bypass the middle man (retailers) and sell directly to the retailers' customers, putting traditional retailers under severe market pressure.
Gadd says that in New Zealand re-bundlers may be retailers, but he doesn't think they will "take off" at the same rate as in the US, a society which has accepted catalogue-style buying. "The New Zealand consumer doesn't actually buy that way yet. We don't have large megastores in the middle of nowhere where you place an order, sight-unseen. We still like to see the goods before we buy."