Saturday, 3 March 2012

Online But Not On Time

So now that Harvey Norman has entered the online market, albeit 5 years late, they are not happy with it.

Harvey Norman was one of the biggest critics of online shopping, claiming that it was 'stealing' customers from bricks and mortar stores by 'avoiding the GST'.  Even a preschooler can see that the GST has nothing to do with the move to online shopping.  And now Harvey Norman knows it.  There are countless reasons...

All online shoppers know the savings on online shopping are huge, even with shipping fees. Which begs the question, why do we pay so much for clothes and stuff here in Aus?  I don't want to hear any rubbish about GST to explain it.

Of course there's also the range of stuff available online. We are so limited in what we can buy in Australia when it comes to clothes, shoes, books and music (to name a few items).  But if you are lucky enough to find a store stocking your favorite jeans or book, and the price isn't too ridiculous - chances are it wont be in stock. So many times the shelves are empty, and only XXXXXL or XXXXS are left.

And then there is the atrocious assistance you get from the bored staff at places like Myer, DJs, and of course Harvey Norman. If you are lucky enough to find someone to help you, and manage to get their attention, the chances of them knowing or caring about the product you need help with are less than the chance of Harvey Norman admitting that the explosion in online sale has nothing to do with GST.

And lastly there's the opening hours. When will the major stores move to being open week nights? People have been working 9 - 5 for a long time now...

Then there's also the countless time-burglars with their stupid questions who try to pay in coins, and degenerates screaming at their kids you encounter at the shops. And the idiots in their enormous cars which they cant park properly. Stuff of nightmares. But stores can't do much about this...

And this brings me back to Harvey Norman's online adventure. He has claimed on countless occasions that online shopping is popular because of the avoidance of GST. If this was the case, why didn't his foray into the new world work?  If the only reason online shoppers are not hitting the shopping malls is to avoid 10% GST, surely a trusted name like Harvey Norman would clean up online?  I have never used Harvey Norman online, but I hope they have learned that it takes a lot more that dropping the GST to get people clicking on their site.

Have it or eat it, Harvey Norman, you can't do both.

The fact is, online shopping only counts for 5% of retail sales in Aus.

If the current retailers with their huge market share can't deal with a competitor taking 5%, then maybe its their business model that's in trouble.  Lobbying the government and trying to guilt people to stop shopping online isn't the answer.

Here a few tips - drop your prices to reasonable, globally competitive prices, make it easier to get the right size of clothes, and above all, get some staff who are actually going to help. Fire the bored uni students who are too busy updating their Facebook to do their jobs. Bricks and mortar stores have a natural unbeatable advantage over online stores - sales assistance. USE IT!

I'm off to buy some sneakers...  *Alt - Tab, new browser, credit card, boom*

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