Is the retail landscape in the real world any "neater" than the one in the virtual world? Even in SmallTown USA, there are malls and there are many boutique shops spread out over the entire town. Each has their benefit and each has their drawback. Why would we expect something different online than what we experience offline?
Think of it this way... when you move to a new town, the first and most comfortable place to shop is the mall. Easy to find, many options, all brand names. Once you are comfortable with the area you start to get more adventurous. You start to hear things (word of mouth) about a new shop in a strip mall somewhere. You go there and you find the "thing" you didn't find at the mall. This shop now becomes a regular stop for you. You don't abandon the mall, but you have added this new shop to your list of places.
The chaos we feel on the web is driven by the fact that I can have smaller and smaller market share and still make money since I don't have to have a storefront to maintain. If it were cheaper to have a store in the real world, then there would probably be more stores. I for one know many people who would like to have their own business but they would serve such a small market it doesn't make financial sense. The online world is a bit different. I can serve smaller and smaller segments, still make money, and not have the overhead that would stop me in the real world.
The key here isn't the "first-time buyer" but the fifth-time, sixth-time buyer... where are they shopping online?