By Sarah Falson

SYDNEY: Australia’s first ever retail-driven shopping website,, will launch on October 23, in a bid to encourage consumers away from their computers and back into stores.

Based on a ‘reverse-auction’ process, according to a press release distributed on Tuesday, internet-using consumers input the product they want to buy, and the distance they’re willing to travel to purchase it, and registered retailers across the country have a chance to offer the best price they can, within seven days from the consumer’s request.

Each retailer has only one chance to impress, and if the customer accepts the offer they must travel to the store to complete the monetary transaction and handover of goods.

“Everyone wins with,” said managing director of the website, Michael Rihma, in the release on Tuesday.

“Retailers get consumers back into their stores, giving them the chance to close the sales, up- and cross-sell as well as start a new consumer relationship. The consumer gets the best price, safe in-store transaction, convenience and personal service.

“According to research from AC Nielson, 5.9 million shoppers use the internet to save time, money and hassles. With retailers can now finally have a piece of this market.”

Retailers must pay a start-up fee of $2,640, which gives them full access to where they can promote their ‘hot deals’, list their business, sell in bulk (by instigating a ‘quick-search’ that lists 50 customers wanting the same product), and track their annual investment.

The first leg of the launch will be in Sydney on 23 October, with Melbourne and Brisbane to follow in the New Year and the rest of Australia in Q3 2007.