In the unlikely event anyone needed further proof of the embarrassingly quaint view of online shopping held by Australian retailers, then the public relations disaster that was Click Frenzy has confirmed all fears.
Despite predicting more than one million shoppers would visit the host site during the much-hyped 24-hour event, Click Frenzy fell victim to technological woes within minutes of launching on Tuesday night.
And while it took nearly three hours for would-be buyers to finally access the promised sale, problems were not confined to the host site with the online services of several participating stores also buckling under the strain. So much for assurances from organisers that they were prepared to cope with heavy traffic and that local retailers were finally ready to give their international rivals some serious competition.
Latest 2 of 38 commentsView all comments
Rarely do governments have an opportunity to close a tax loophole and keep people happy at the same time. They’re almost as rare as chicken’s teeth.
That’s why when business groups come together to argue for a change to the tax system, which will raise more revenue, a smart government ought to seize the opportunity.
In recent weeks we’ve heard an emerging chorus of business leaders call on the Gillard Government to close a growing tax loophole which allows foreign online retailers to avoid collecting the GST when selling goods worth less than $1000 over the Internet.
Latest 2 of 86 commentsView all comments
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.
Latest 2 of 23 commentsView all comments
Houndstooth branding, glistening perfume counters and the sound of a piano floating through the lobby in the afternoon. The David Jones department store has always been more than a little up itself. For good reason. It’s a brand synonymous with quality, luxury goods and rarefied notions of good taste.
It’s a powerful and effective retail attitude that’s worked for the company since 1838. But it’s time for a serious revamp. If David Jones wants to survive this slump, they need to make it easier for us to buy their stuff.
The modern consumer wants more than easy access to great brands. We want dynamism, convenience, intelligence and flexibility just as much. Maybe even more.
Latest 2 of 138 commentsView all comments
Thanks to the high dollar, Australians have become the world’s most savvy online bargain hunters. Parcels with cheaper DVDs from the US, computer games from Hong Kong and books from Britain now arrive on our shores in the thousands every day.
Australian buyers obviously know how much they can save by shunning domestic retailers for their overseas competitors. Little wonder when, say, Steve Jobs’ biography is selling for $44 in Australia but for the equivalent of just $18 in Britain. Some British online retailers even offer free world-wide shipping.
What most Australians are probably unaware of is how much more they could save if it was possible to buy other goods internationally. Cars for example.
Latest 2 of 130 commentsView all comments
According to Penbo, the retail union’s anachronistic attachment to Catholic values - keep the Lord’s day holy and all that - spells trouble for the retail industry.
As a card-carrying Catholic, and a former member of (and organiser for) the shop assistants’ union, I thought it might be fair to lob a few thoughts into the mix by way of retort.
As it happens, my mum and sister run a bookshop in Sydney’s CBD (www.portico.com.au), and a mighty fine one at that, so I am no stranger to the challenges faced by retailers in the current market.
Latest 2 of 33 commentsView all comments
One of the joys of multiculturalism is that if you suddenly find yourself hankering for a kilogram of pork belly or some Hello Kitty stationery at 9pm on a Monday, you can head to a suburb such as Ashfield in Sydney’s west and shop until you drop.
If Australia has a restrictive shopping hours regime, someone forgot to tell our Chinese friends. In places such as Ashfield or in the many Chinatowns around the land the shops open pretty much whenever they want – which, with the work ethic that defines this excellent community, is almost all the time.
It’s a different story if you have the misfortune of landing in the centre of one of our bigger cities – worst of all Adelaide – on a public holiday weekend, only to discover that penalty rates and state-legislated restrictions on trading hours have combined to deliver a retail experience which is almost as much fun as queuing for bread in Moscow.
Latest 2 of 124 commentsView all comments
I arrive at The Press Club on Flinders Street a little early. It’s booked solid. Another noisy night. Kara leads me to one of the quieter tables around the corner. Water will be fine, thank you.
Remarkable to think this was once the headquarters of the mighty Herald and Weekly Times. Newsroom into luxury apartments, print shop into cellar bar, foyer into modern Greek restaurant. Marvelous what you can do with some Kalamata olives and Feta drizzled with a hit television series and a celebrity chef.
Bernie Brookes makes his way to my table. The chief of Myer Holdings is all smiles. Always is. The perils of more than 30 years in retail. The last few herding shareholders. The shoulders of his dark suit are a little stooped.
Latest 2 of 28 commentsView all comments
Queensland retailers are revolting. Well, they’re fighting back against the trend of people who enter their shops, try on their stuff and then leave without buying it.
What shoppers are doing is sizing it so they can buy it online.
As an online shopper, I take a lot of risks with my purchases. Ask anyone I know if they’ve been given something I’ve bought online because it was too small or too big.
Latest 2 of 51 commentsView all comments
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and successive governments have failed to curb retailers’ increasing market power, which is why Australians pay more at the store.
Gerry Harvey may be one of Australia’s well known and most successful “traditional” retailers, but he has seriously misjudged the consumer support for online retailing. He is not alone in getting it wrong. Major retailers and shopping centre landlords have also been very unhappy with Australian consumers going online to buy from overseas websites.
Why are the major retailers and shopping centre landlords unhappy with the growth of online retailing? Simply because online retailing offers very strong competition to the major retailers and shopping centre landlords. In the “old” days before the rise of the internet, consumers were basically forced to visit shopping centres and department stores to purchase products.
Latest 2 of 102 commentsView all comments
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!
Latest 2 of 144 commentsView all comments
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…