Australia’s big retailers should stop whinging about the net and start competing: Carosa

Both Harvey Norman and Myer have below par internet strategies, so it’s no wonder consumers shop at other websites, both local and international.

Online buying decisions are not only made on price but are also based on user experience, customer service, delivery times and costs, just to name a few.

Myer CEO Bernie Brookes stated earlier this week that the tax revenue the Federal Government would lose if Myer started a site in China was $100,000 per annum in the first year. If my maths is right, that means they’re expecting sales of around $1 million per annum from their online presence.

I know Aussie e-tailers who generate more than $1 million in sales per day. This just shows how little some retailers know about the internet.

Aussie retailers need to stop winging about the competition and start focusing their resources on building a great online experience for their customers.

When you think books, most people think Amazon. So you’d think that Amazon is the cheapest store on the web right? Not always.

There is a website called Booktopia.com.au that is located in Australia, where customers pay GST and yet they are still cheaper than Amazon (once you Include shipping) for a lot of books.

So how can this little website compete with Amazon? By providing a great online shopping experience, a great range, local shipping and local phone support.

With the buying power of the largest retailers, they should be able to buy better than most online e-tailers. Combined that with local service, support and their trusted brands, they could well re-take the lead in the online stakes.

Furthermore, have they forgotten that they can ship their products to customers outside of Australia GST free? The internet is a global channel and focusing just on Australia is just short-sighted.

The message is clear to the large retailers. Stop spending your time complaining about competition locally and offshore and refocus your energy on building a global, world-class online e-tailer.

That way, you and your shareholders are winners, consumers get great prices with local support and the taxman stays happy.

Domenic Carosa is the chief executive of Dominet.

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