Just give the consumer what they want

So as Gerry Harvey feels the wrath of the online world, the PR community are rubbing their hands with glee at another case study in the making.  I’ll let my PR friends comment on the fall out.

In a one-sentence summary, Harvey et al have launched a campaign to (allegedly) allow them to compete more fairly with the growing online sales from overseas.

So why are people buying from overseas?  It’s too simplistic to say, “it’s cheaper”.  Price is just one small driver of purchase.

Convenience has got to rate right up there.  It’s a dream to sit in the comfort of your home or office, click around to find what you like, click again to buy, and have it delivered to your door within days.

The breadth of choice is also a driver.  Millions of consumer preferences are catered to with a staggering array of choices that an Aussie retailer is likely to never match.  Just check out wonderful sites like www.etsy.com

Personally, I’ve been ordering make up from Hong Kong for years and years.   I rarely make a trip from the suburbs to the Myer City store (the only place they stock my preferred brand), and with 3 boys under 7, it’s far preferable to shop online.  I would have loved to have ordered it from Myer in Australia (the price differential is negligible), but they just haven’t catered for me.

That’s the bottom line.  Australian retailers need to cater to their consumers’ needs.

Rather than having a one-size-fits-all approach, which is:  “You come to our big store and choose what you want and pay the price we say”, they need to work out how to offer more convenience and better choice.

What do you think of shopping in Australia vs online?