Buying over the Internet, or online, is a no brainer. It comes down to two things, choice and cost.
There are only four and a half million souls living in God's Own, which means the consumer market is no bigger than Sydney's.
If you're a consumer of books for example, and if you read them on the kindle rather than lugging a seven hundred page heavyweight around in your bag, then you've got no choice but to buy them online.
My current read is Stalin's Daughter which you can purchase online here from Whitcoulls for thirty five bucks for a hard copy, with other sites selling the same tome for around the same price, give or take a dollar. No kindle version's available here but it is on international Amazon where, with the click of a button, it's transferred to your portable screen for less than 23 bucks.
Is there any wonder then why local bookstores are doing a starve?
And it's the same with other retailers, like Shoe Clinic for example. They offer a very good service, fitting runners to the right shoe. The customer on many occasions say they'll think about it, go online and buy the same shoe backed up by the free, expert advice at a fraction of the shop's price.
So the cyber highway has become the shopping high street. The goods will inevitably come from a warehouse in a country with cheap labour and low overhead costs which capitalise of the world's hunger for buying off the laptop screen.
It's all a question of cost, and if you're retailing on the net, the cost's lower than if you're selling in the real world.
The taxation net is now about to be thrown over the goods coming into the country. Services, like e-books, music and videos are easy to snare. The likes of Amazon will become GST registered, it's no skin off their nose.
But how to tax the trade in goods being bought on the net and across our borders, is the tougher prospect now being contemplated by the Beehive burglars.
They're currently losing out on about 180 million bucks a year, in foregone GST revenue on purchases that are growing at around 10 percent a year.
It's certainly not a level playing field for retailers here, competing against the ether, which has few overheads and no shops to browse in, other than the computer screen.
But the ether will always have the advantage of choice and variety. Welcome to the virtual world which becomes real simply with the click of your credit card details!