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Another Slap in the face for Harvey Norman.

Now Harvey Norman likes his business model and up until now it has been very good for him. Very very good indeed. yet it has its limitations. For one the business model is predicated around the shop and only the shop. The online presence of the store is woeful as best and down right atrocious at worse (for example the site doesn’t even work if you don’t put the www in the domain name!). But there is a reason for this. If you can shop online you don’t go to the store and the franchisees would not be happy. Of course this stops a lot of the “add on” sales as well that you get from the sales person. Although I would argue that a well designed e-commerce solution can more than compensate for this.

So what brought on a rant about Harvey Norman. Well it is not just about them, but most of that kind of shopping experience. See I got a bit of junk mail today. In with all the crap for Harvey Norman, Woolworth’s. the local IGA and some other shops I can’t remember, was a pamphlet for Deals Direct.com.au.

Yes an online store only. The catalogue looked about the same quality as your average K-mart or Target bit of junk mail, but has one major difference. There is no store front. For me I believe this is the first time I have ever received a bit of junk mail for an online property only.

So know people get a bit of junk mail which says buy this item on sale. Now however instead of getting of the couch and going out to the store they can impulse buy the product from their living room.

I think getting this one bit of junk mail is more important that most people receiving will have realised. Every page has the URL emblazed upon it and all you have to do is walk to your computer. So read the catalogue with your Sunday paper and then go and buy things.

So I will listen as Harvey keeps giving out his weekly sales figures showing the decline of his stores and listen as he blames the economic downturn for all his ills. And I will keep reading the news articles online showing all the data as I have done for the last 15 years now. And then when I want to buy something I will skip straight passed his store and buy what I want online.

I just wonder what the weekly sales figures for DealsDirect.com.au are like this week…. somehow down I don’t think is the direction they are heading.