This thread is exactly why retail in Australia is being decimated. Internet sales are huge and growing every day and it's not an even playing field. OS players are getting a GST free kick below $1000 (and above as per this thread). Our retailers pay higher labour and operating costs and higher taxes than most OS operators and as a result can't compete with the prices.
Who cares ? All good and well until you realise that retail is the biggest employer In Australia. It gets worse as the effects flow beyond the retailers. Seen how many vacant shops there are in many traditional shopping strips? The tenant mix changes in the strips as the retail stores go broke. You end up with a strip of take away shops, cafes and real estate agencies etc. What happens when you need something urgently, or want some advice? All of a sudden you miss those bricks and mortar stores. I buy online like everyone else; but I always try and give the retail store a shot at the sale. If they are reasonably close I'll support the locals every time.
Not sure what the solution is to all this; but it's not going to go away and ultimately there is a price to pay for killing our retail sector.
I am an avid local business supporter for everything and am willing to pay up to probably 50% more to support a local business but these businesses aren't doing themselves any favours. Crappy opening hours, lazy staff, limited product range, stupidly expensive or the biggest thing I find is lack of stock. I will ring around but there gets a point where it is just quicker to get stuff online than do the ring around. I am not interested in going there to talk to people, I know what I want and just want to buy it.
As far as product advice, I find it far better from the Internet forums, youtube videos from people who own the thing as it is honest, rather than someone who is just either filling in time until knockoff, will tell you anything to close a sale or has only played with it in the store.
I buy a few books, I would diligently go into the city book stores and see if they had anything I was looking for. Nope, nothing. Ask them how long it would take to get in, standard response, a couple of weeks. We need to order it from the publisher and we bundle our orders etc. I gave up in the end and just buy everything from Amazon, here within the week. Last two times I was buying tyres for my car, rang a few places none had stock all had to order it in and would take as long as tirerack to get in and be double the price. I ended up getting the tyres locally though. Next time no way