UPDATED: Woolworths-owned Big W appears to be flexing their consumer electronics muscle this Christmas by dropping the price on several hero products including iPads, Wii gaming consoles, tablets and thousands of games, movies and Blu-ray DVDs.
In what appears to be a targeted campaign to take business away from the likes of JB Hi-Fi, the company is running two catalogues inside local newspapers and mass media, one spruiking iPads as cheap as $598, PS3 bundles including starter packs at $548 and the new Wii gaming console (complete with the new motion sensing controller) at $268.
Big W is also selling Samsung 40 inch full HD TVs at $898 and 32 inch TVs for as cheap as $498. Also listed in their catalogue is the new Telstra T-Touch at $299 and a Lumix 14 megapixel 8x Digital Camera that comes complete with an additional 8GB SD card for $288. Also listed is an 8GB iPod Touch for $268.
Terry Smart, CEO of JB Hi Fi, one of the biggest rivals to Big W’s consumer electronics department, told Channelnews that while Big W is becoming a veritable threat, he sees foreseeable problems because of the need for “providing the customer experience.”
“Of course they’re a threat to the market,” said Terry, “but then it comes back to the customer experience, the availability of the product, the ability to be able to talk to sales staff about it and not have it locked up behind glass.”
Big W’s consumer electronics push has come at the expense of its Woolworth’s sister company, Dick Smith (see original story here), who is being outpriced by the recent consumer electronics giant. Listings for products like Samsung TVs are price-cut by more than $200 in comparison.
“From an outsider perspective, they’re definitely are competing with one another. There appears to be no communication between the two,” said Terry.
The latest advertising push follows Big W’s venture into online electronics sales (see full story here) earlier this year with the launch of bigw.com.au. Director of Big W, Julie Coates said at the time that the “launch is not just about extending our range online. It’s about extending our reach to all Australians.”
The mass circulation of their current catalogues looks to be a further extending of Big W’s growing reach, taking on competitors like JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman by trying to outprice their competitors and venturing into e-tailing at the same time.
According to Terry Smart, this is just a sign of the times for a retail industry facing heavy competition.
“This is only a recent aggressive push. It’s simply a reflection of how tough the market is at the moment. Everyone’s sharpening their pencils.”