I visited a Canberra photography store in search of a particular item because I wanted to support a local retailer before venturing online. Being a specialist outlet and part of a large chain, I was certain they would have it.
Quoting a hefty price and saying it would take several weeks to arrive, the salesperson sensed my interest waning. Realising they were losing a sale, he tried recommending a product on special in the corner instead. It was old stock covered in dust that they needed to clear, still very expensive and nothing like the product I had asked about.
I chose to order it online instead from a retailer in New York charging half the price and able to deliver in later he same week. Not only was the overseas retailer more competitive, their advice was invaluable; the staff member knowledgeable and attentive. This example is far from unique.
ED NOTE: Apologies, a technical hiccup meant the comments on this post were not open previously. You may now comment.
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If a tree falls in a native Australian forest, should anybody care?
That’s the question effectively being asked by critics of GetUp’s ‘No Harvey No’ campaign. The campaign was launched in partnership with Markets for Change following a year long investigation into the journey of timber sourced from native Australian forests in Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia.
The investigation found Australia native forests were being logged, with the resulting timber being shipped off to China where it was being made into furniture which was then sent back to Australia to be sold in places like Harvey Norman stores.
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Gerry Harvey spends a whole stack of money on advertising.
I note this as a disclaimer for the article which follows, which is not intended as a sop to a bloke with deep pockets who helps keep our business afloat. Indeed given the serious trouble I have had as an editor over the years with sooky chief executives at our gouging banks cancelling advertising in protest at editorial content, it’s a novel thrill to write something which an advertiser might enjoy.
Gerry Harvey has become something of a hate figure in Australia today. I’m kind of puzzled as to why. He has probably left himself open to attacks because, unlike other chief executives who prefer to fly under the radar, Harvey speaks his mind and is always prepared to front up for a fight. Apart from having committed the apparent sin of working hard and making lots of money, Harvey is disliked for two reasons.
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If you’re in a Harvey Norman store right now preparing to buy a video game, put it down. Gerry has commanded you.
The CEO of electronics chain Harvey Norman Gerry Harvey has admitted defeat and will finally be opening an online store.
But he won’t be selling fridges. Oh no. Nor will he be selling fans, or air-conditioning units, or iPods, iPads, televisions or cameras.
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Harvey Norman boss Gerry Harvey has dramatically decided to step away from a campaign to regulate the purchase of goods online from overseas. Harvey has blamed a torrent of social media abuse as prime reason for his departure.
Harvey said the attacks were “vicious and hateful” and, as for the campaign, well, it was “bad timing”.
However, Harvey really bells the cat when he says ‘you might have got a nasty phone call or a letter back in the old days but now anything slightly controversial, these people, whoever they might be, they go for you zealously and with hatred all over Twitter”.
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Change and innovation are always feared, and therefore always resisted.
When the first ATMs were introduced, the banking unions fought against them because they feared it would mean the end of tellers (who can forget the lines we used to endure at banks in the bad old days). Instead, we saw the rise of electronic banking with the banks now involved in almost every transaction. When the video player was first introduced, film industry experts predicted the end of cinemas, but today we are seeing a resurgence in cinema attendance numbers because the industry was forced to become more innovative, and now delivers a significantly enhanced customer experience via new developments such as 3D.
In recent weeks, some of Australia’s larger retailers have vigorously argued that the ability of Australians to buy online will destroy retailing in Australia, with thousands of jobs going off-shore, and that we need to tax the internet to “create a level playing field”. This is despite the fact that less than 3 per cent of all retail sales in Australia are transacted online!
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Sometimes you’ve just got to laugh in the face of brazen hypocrisy and insincerity. It can be pretty funny, after all.
One of my favourites was last year’s public campaign from the ‘Alliance of Australian Retailers’ railing against the mooted introduction of plain cigarette packaging.
Their hilarious (but deadly serious) message was “It won’t work so why do it?” Which, for me, prompted two questions: 1. Shouldn’t that question have a comma in the middle of it? And, 2. If you’re so sure it won’t work, why are you wasting around $9 million on an ad campaign to try and stop it?
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