Big Retailers Take On Kogan The ‘Media Whore’ As Consumers Warn ‘Beware’

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EXCLUSIVE: Whatever Kogan can do, we can do better, seems to be the new strategy of several mass retailers, who are planning on using house brands to take on the “loud-mouthed” online retailer who loves bragging about the failure of mass retailers like Harvey Norman & JB Hi Fi.
Ruslan Kogan, the CEO of Kogan Technology who will do anything and say anything to get himself in the media, last week  claimed that Apple was set to dump JB Hi Fi and that 30% of JB Hi Fi’s revenue, came from selling Apple products.

Now companies like JB Hi Fi are set to hit back by offering similar products to what Kogan sells, for the same price or cheaper. The big difference, say retailers, is that the products will be available immediately to be collected or shipped from online stores, and that consumers “will not have to wait two months to get a cheap TV” or “be asked to pay up front.”

According to JB Hi Fi, the company plans to use their Soniq house brand to compete with Kogan’s LED and LCD TV offering while using other brands to compete with digital cameras.

Soniq executives, who have discussed the strategy with JB Hi Fi, believe that they have a superior product to what Kogan is offering and that they can deliver “any day of the week.”

Terry Smart, CEO of JB Hi Fi, told ChannelNews that he will not comment about Kogan but did admit that house brands like his Soniq TV range were a key part of his strategy.

Song Su, General Manager of Soniq in Australia said: “We have spoken to JB Hi Fi about Kogan. We can deliver a superior product that has better specs and is either the same price or cheaper than what Kogan is offering. We can also make it available immediately.”

A Dick Smith executive pointed out that they were already selling their ViVo house brand TVs cheaper than what Kogan is offering his TVs for in Australia.

Scott Browning, the Marketing Director, said: “Soniq is a great brand. They are a big company in Asia who supply to the likes of Wal Mart in the USA and big retailers in Europe. We can match what Kogan is offering.

 

“House brands are well protected by consumer laws, they have to be of good quality today and consumers are recognising this. Consumers will often buy a mainstream brand and then a house brand TV for a second or third TV purchase,” he added.

Talking about Kogan, Browning said: “While a lot of people in the industry are talking about him I doubt whether he has much legitimacy among consumers, which is where it counts.”

A Harvey Norman franchisee said: “Kogan is a cheap bottom end player. I think that you will find that over coming weeks several stores will be offering similar consumer electronic goods for immediate collection in Australia and cheaper than what Kogan is currently offering.”

A visit to the the Trade Leaks website, which is operated by Kogan, reveals some odd comments about his recent rantings, and various media descriptions of Kogan as a “media whore.”

After reading a previous SmartHouse story, one visitor wrote on the web site: “Media Wh0re: 1. A person who has a psychological need to get into TV, Film, Radio or Print. 2. A person who becomes aroused almost sexually by seeing or hearing themselves or about themselves in the media.”

Another visitor wrote: “feel sorry for the media goat – things not going well obviously and people waking up to being ripped off by cheap products.”

Recently Kogan announced that he was launching a LivePrice service that saves consumers money by getting them to pre-pay for goods prior to them being purchased.

Shortly after launching the service Kogan said customers had saved a total of $370,000 on goods ordered so far. Consumers responded wit the following comments.

“Sounds like he likes taking lots and lots of liberty with the truth,” said one visitor to the Trade Leaks site.

Another visitor said: “Getting consumers to prepay is a sign that business isn’t going too well and they need extra cash injection to survive – beware of this company going under and taking liveprice warranty customers with them.”

Another visitor said: “Jerking off to the media for attention seems a sign sales are slowing and consumers realise the product is inferior – not a good long term strategy.”

One visitor warned consumers with this message” “Be wary….of product price drops after you have “pre-paid” into Kogan bank account.”

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