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Call to be “proactive” in price war

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
Albany Retravision owner Russell Hare
Camera IconAlbany Retravision owner Russell Hare

Regional businesses need to be proactive in the fight against online retailers, according to one shop owner, who says that means going beyond price-matching.

Albany Retravision owner Russell Hare said his business’ new 60-day price-matching policy was the company’s way of taking on big online outlets.

“The stats are 70 per cent of customers – probably higher now – have already checked the online price before they come in the store,” he said.

“Six months ago I led a bit of a project for the entire Retravision group to sort out our entire ticketing system, which allowed a centralisation of the pricing.

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“Our pricing is (now) done centrally by somebody who checks it against web pricing daily and moves it in line with that.”

Mr Hare’s idea means his business has a fighting chance against big online retailers like JB Hi-Fi, The Good Guys and Harvey Norman, and he believes more regional retailers will need to be proactive against the major competitors.

“In years gone by in country areas, there was a situation where you would pay more and expect to,” he said.

“But the market has changed, and really pricing is totally transparent now. Often the same model we sell is available with four or five large competitors — we have to be at market price all the time.”

He said the company had been forced to introduce generous price-matching policies, including a 60-day price guarantee, and pushing home the benefits of shopping locally.

“The internet is really separating the businesses that will survive,” he said.

“The medium-size business is becoming scarce, caused by the internet and consumer expectations.

“Consumers now expect a bigger range. If you’re going to compete you have to be larger than you ever have as far as stock holding … if you can’t provide that, consumers will shop on the internet.”

Australia Post’s 2018 e-commerce industry paper reported Australians spent $21.3 billion buying goods online in 2017, a 16.2 per cent increase.

However, traditional retail spending still trumped online spending at $267.4 billion — growth of 2.5 per cent in 2017.

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