In response to a dire retail climate, Panasonic intends to set a minimum price its products can be sold for online, ensuring a fair playing field between online etailers and local stores while maintaining its brand’s integrity.JB HiFi’s bold move to offer grey imported cameras via its online website has struck a harsh blow to manufacturers, letting them know local retail outlets are competing with global sellers and will do what it takes to remain competitive.
Although many manufacturers believe the move to grey import was in bad taste, mainly because their gross prices have been undercut, Panasonic has recognised the internet has led to global competition, with local consumers purchasing products from overseas.
Since then, Panasonic has been trying to reduce the pricing margins on its products globally in an effort to offer competitively priced products and maintain the integrity of its brand.
In an exclusive interview with ChannelNews last month, Panasonic Australia’s Managing Director Steve Rust, spoke of a vision that would see global warranties and pricing. He said:
“What I would like to see is global warranty and global pricing. You will never get perfect global pricing because of dollar fluctuations and taxes but it would go a long way to resolving a lot of issues that the industry is facing.
“I can accept fluctuations in pricing of 20% but not 40 and 50% which is what is happening with some products.”
In a move to regulate the prices of its products online, Panasonic has nominated a minimum advertised price (MAP) for product lines where advertising restrictions are imposed. Products cannot be sold below this nominated price, levelling the pricing offered in Australia to those offered in other countries.
“The key to our MAP policy is accurate, timely communication to our channel partners, as well as visibility to how we are positioned in the various marketplaces in which our products are placed,” said Judah Zeigler, director of eCommerce for Panasonic.
Trying to regulate pricing on a global scale, recognising the endless reach of the internet, is a difficult task. To successfully enforce more consistent pricing, Panasonic needed a system that could organise its products that are sold online, while taking into consideration various economic influences, such as fluctuating currencies.
Helping them sift through the anarchic web of undercutting etailers is Channel IQ, who will provide visibility to products that breach the nominated MAP, or even non-Panasonic products that carry the Panasonic name and logo.
“We needed a solution that could deliver against our requirements, as well as offer maximum automation. After a review of the various options, Channel IQ was the clear winner,” said Zeigler.
Zeigler claims the solution has been tailor made to provide the best possible results.
“Another significant benefit of our relationship with Channel IQ has been their willingness to work with us, understand our needs, and enhance their platform with additional features that allow us to further ensure that we are appropriately protecting our brand in the marketplace.”
Channel IQ’s CEO and founder, Wes Shepherd believes “if a retailer makes the investment that comes with a trusted relationship, the manufacturer has an obligation to keep an eye on what’s happening in the marketplace and ensure all their channel partners reap the benefits that come with policy compliance.”
Read: Grey Importing: Panasonic CEO Calls For Global Pricing & Warranties
The move to organise global pricing will see less Panasonic products discriminate Australians with pricing that is grossly more expensive when compared to other countries, favourably positioning the brand.