Harvey Norman’s new online stores promises “best price” – but just read the fine print first. Harvey’s online is operating as an independent body, and will compete vigorously with its retail stores and other online rivals on price, but only on its terms.
Harveys new e-commerce site will undercut retail stores pricing which is now completely separate from the franchisee operation, at the core of his business model up until now.
HarveyNorman.com.au new T&C’s are indicative of how the fledgling online sales website, launched last week, is fitting in with the overall structure of the company.
Harvey’s online is an “an independent franchisee” and operating on a limited licence by a related body corporate of Harvey Norman, the new online terms note.
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“Harvey Norman online is not related to other franchisees,” and the products will also vary between the two operations. “Neither Harvey Norman nor any related body corporate of Harvey Norman sell any goods [on the site] whatsoever.”
In fact, the online operation can even undercut retail stores pricing at will:
“The offer goods may not be on display or available from each Other Harvey Norman Franchisee, and where the Offer Goods are available…,the price for the Offer Goods may vary from the Offer Price.”
In other words, the franchisees have nothing to do with Gerry Harvey’s latest brainchild, which can even undercut the bricks-and-mortar rivals, potentially creating a whole new set of headaches for HN. It is not known the new arrangement Gerry Harvey has with his franchisees.
And the best price guarantees offer, show that the site’s guarantees aren’t all its cracked up to be, as pointed out by Current.
The retailer claims it will “BEAT any genuine competitor’s advertised price on the date you purchase or within 7 days of purchase.”
But only if your claim complies with the fine print of terms of the ‘Best Price Guarantee‘, which stipulates that it won’t apply when the competitor has an online store only or does not have a physical retail store in Australia.
It also excludes pricing associated with products advertised in “classifieds, commercial resellers or distributors who sell direct to the public, parallel importers, grey importers, direct importers, fire or liquidation sales, rack, clearance and warehouse outlets.”
Considering retailers including JB Hi Fi, vendors and other online stores recent moves into grey importing, which is only going to increase in the future, it seems the best price ‘guarantee’ has precluded most instances where a lower price would be available.