Australian retailers could well be losing out on millions in sales because they don’t have an online sales strategy.
In the UK Dixons which is the Harvey Norman of the UK is to switch its focus to the web and rebrand 190 of its stores as Currys Digital, parent company DSG International has announced. The move will swell the number of Currys high street stores to 550.
“Dixons’ existing e-commerce operation has recorded on average more than 50 per cent year-on-year sales growth over the past four years,” said a company statement. “The changes will enable Currys and Dixons to more clearly differentiate their approach through two channels to market – retailing and e-tailing – delivering improved levels of convenience, choice and value for customers.” In Australia Harvey Norman has no real online presence and at this stage the group is still coming to grips with selling convergence products side by side.
John Clare, group chief executive at DSG International, added: “Customer buying behaviours are developing with the growth in broadband usage and, as a group, we constantly adapt and innovate to support how our customers shop.”
The conversion of existing Dixons stores to the Currys Digital brand is expected to start in early May. No staff losses are expected within stores. The cost of the rebranding is estimated at $21m, according to DSG. However, the company said the changes would save around $9m in central costs per year.
Daniel Barnett a Director of online retailer Digital Home said “During the past 12 months we have grown our business more than 100%. People who buy online often come back again and again. Many vendors who initally were reluctant to supply online retailers because of threats from High Street retailers are now making their stock available to online traders. If Dixons are an example of what is happening it is only time before it happens here”.
He added”One of the smart moves by Dixons is to split the brand so that the online business is seperate from the high street business. This allows them to shift volume in one entity while holding the price in another”.
David Richards is a shareholder in Digital home.