Obviously, those from America don't get the Australian market and our buying habits from the past. (below are just my thoughts and observations)
Australia does mail order bad. Real bad. So, in the past, before the internet explosion nearly all goods were bought from Bricks and Mortar stores. This involved looking at the products, getting the run through by the sales rep, maybe a little haggling on the price and then buying. From my observations of how my parents and parents of friends did thing, buying something unsighted was not heard of and was fraught with danger. Also, the only time you bought stuff from Overseas was when you did that holiday to Hong Kong or Singapore.
But, since the internet boom, Australian consumers have become educated. We can look at other stores and find out what they charge in other countries, but most still want to have the safety net of looking at and handling the goods before making a purchasing decision. So, yes, it is very common in this country to window shop at the B&M's and then buy online.
The only thing that hasn't changed in the mean time is the Big retailers, distributors and manufacturers. They whine and moan about us buying stuff cheaply overseas, so instead of reviewing their business models, they make it harder for us! What do they expect us to do? I find it really unjust that Corporations want to play the global market place when it comes to sourcing goods, but get upset when the consumers ALSO play the global market place when we come to purchasing.
I always find it surprising that places like B&H have such a huge World Wide online business, but If I was in Down Town New York (correct me if I am wrong), I could just as easily walk into their showrooms. And yes, they do online/mail order properly (I have goods in my hands quicker from them, then when ordering from Melbourne!)
The companies that will succeed in this country are going to be the ones that sit back and look at the big picture, adjust their business models and make themselves competitive on a global market. The big problem is that change will be needed from the Global headquarters down.
As a side note, I do support my local retailers where I can, but only those that go out of their way to help - I will plug Total Photographics in Adelaide as one of those. Sure, their prices are not the same as what is payed O/S, but they always will help and are willing to talk when I need something NOW!