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Digital River and Netsales branch out into UK

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Warwickshire-based retailer Software Warehouse announced its deal with a US company to sell software over the Internet has so far proved a major success. The electronic software distribution (ESD) agreement, with Digital River -- which boasts the world's largest online database of software and other digital products -- has boosted Software Warehouse's online sales by 25 per cent in just four weeks, the company reported. Software Warehouse claims to offer prices that are on average 40 per cent cheaper than manufacturer's recommended retail prices. Consumers visiting Software Warehouse's site can browse, review, compare and then download products from Digital River's site. The Minneapolis company will also handle the financial management of the order. News of Software Warehouse's deals coincides with an announcement by Birmingham-based start-up PC Crazy that it has joined forces with another US online computer store, Netsales, to create an Internet shop selling 53,000 computer products. As well as being able to download software, Netsales has said it will create a UK distribution centre to supply consumers in the UK and possibly Europe. As further evidence of the emerging e-commerce market these latest announcements are to be welcomed. But Tim Waggett, managing director of DNA, the UK's first on-line ESD company, believes the sale and distribution of software online is going to take off in the new year. Moreover, this electronic model of doing business could threaten traditional software channels. "In the IT market the software industry has a real opportunity to exploit the commercial benefits of e-commerce," he said. "While existing distribution channels have taken the first steps by offering on-line ordering, for physical distribution, the real and profitable opportunity lies in true electronic distribution. "[If this takes off] the existing methods of distribution are made redundant overnight," he said. ®

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