By Aimee Chanthadavong

Australian e-tailer is urging consumers to buy from local online retailers this Christmas.

Despite the soaring Australian dollar, CEO Lorenzo Coppa told Retailbiz that buying from overseas online stores may appear cheaper but there are many risks involved, regarding warranties, compliance with Australian standards and damages while in transit.

“Often customers are not aware of the risks associated with buying overseas, which is probably why they continue to shop overseas. If they are aware of the risks, then it’ll most likely change their outlook in buying from overseas online retailers,” he said.

“Buying local gives consumers greater peace of mind, especially knowing that warranty and compatibility issues are not going to pose a problem.  Product returns are also easier if you buy locally.”

According to PayPal’s ‘eCommerce: Secure Insight’ report from Forrester Research and The Leading Edge, the Australian online retail market is set to reach AU$36.8 billion by 2013, up from a forecasted figure of AU$26.86 billion for calendar year 2010.

The report also found that the core driver behind overseas shopping is the wider product choices, rather than price. In fact, it noted that Australians showed preference to ‘buy Aussie’ with nearly a quarter of Australian adults only shopping online with domestic websites.

“In the online environment especially where choice is abundant, it’s important for online retailers to stay one step ahead and be able to offer customers a good variety and range of products.  Doing so will allow online retailers to build up their brand and customer loyalty,” Coppa said.

“Some Australian retailers are cautious about expanding their range, especially after the Global Financial Crisis. Some retailers perhaps are worried that they won’t be able to move their products quickly enough, so they keep to a small range of products.

“If a retailer doesn’t try expanding its product range, it runs into the problem of being stale and can potentially lose customers and marketshare.”

According to Coppa, currently stocks over 15,000 items on its website to help beat the battle against overseas e-tailers.

“We’re constantly on the lookout for new and innovative technology products that will appeal to our customers, and won’t hesitate to increase our product range if we come across products that we feel consumers will want.”