The appliance industry is facing a major shakeup, with several retailers set to launch new online appliance stores, and at least 3 appliance vendors looking to set up their own online stores according to ChannelNews sources.According to John Winning, the CEO of Appliances Online, appliance vendors, who move to sell online will struggle because “they don’t understand customer service, they will fail”. he said.
Winning said: “Vendors are wholesalers and the service levels that we offer our customers is far greater than what these vendors offer us as retailers when it comes to transparrency, basic delivery, information, or even basic information such as stock levels.” He said.
According to ChannelNews sources, the vendors looking to move online, are vendors who are struggling to get floor space in mass retailers.
According to Peter Russell, the Marketing Director at Fisher & Paykel, the issue of online appliance retailing has become a “contentious” issue.
“I don’t want to say too much as there is a lot of hype around the issue” he said.
He did admit, that he was aware that some vendors were looking to sell appliances directly to consumers online.
Two other appliance vendors told ChannelNews that they have been approached by mass retailers to restrict supply to online retailers, in particular, JB Hi Fi who is believed to be planning a new appliance online operation as part of their Clive Anthony restructure.
Grahame Cunning the new CEO of Betta Electrical said that he will have his new online store up and running “within two months.” He said that consumers will be given the choice of either buying their appliances online and having the goods delivered directly or buying in store”.
“We believe that consumers will still shop for appliances in their local neighbourhood. We also believe it will take time for them to move to online to shop for appliances” he said.
John Winning said: “Vendors trying to go online will fail because quite simply they don’t understand customer service. What I am hearing is retailers saying that they are going online because of a threat from overseas web sites or they are going online because of discounting in the market. Some retailers are saying that they are going online because of online threats from other retailers. No is saying that they going online to better serve their customers or because they want to give consumers choice and a new level of service”.
When ChannelNews approached Miele to ask whether they planned to sell online, a senior executive of the company said: “This is not an issue I want to talk about. We are addressing online but I am not prepared to discuss it with the media”.