Its only been some 6 months when JB Hi-Fi launched their online Digital Home concept and less than a few weeks when the company topped 90 stores nationwide, but all of a sudden they now have had the gauntlet thrown down at them by Queensland electronics retailer, Wow Sight and Sound.
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JB Hi-Fi, whose total combined sales will surpass the $1.2 billion mark this year, will now be going head-to-head with Queensland-based electronics Wow Sight and Sound, a company that although primarily operates only 12 stores at present is aiming for bigger and better things in the not-so-distant future.
The first reincarnation of Wow, which has been described as a cross between JB Hi-Fi and a Dick Smith Powerhouse, is its new communications and commercial division, which not only sells AV products, but also whitegoods and office fit-out products as well to the trade vertical.
This new division is designed to give the company an extra dimension over its rivals in the form of the business/trade sector.
Wow’s Director of Retail Con Nicolas said Wow Corporate will be one of Australia’s most exciting and trusted suppliers of telecommunication, commercial and trade solutions, and was formed due to massive demand from both company’s customers.
“The acquisition of Wireless Co. has enabled the creation of the ultimate communications service,” he said. “Our customers wanted ‘a one stop shop’ for their communication needs and through the strong partnership we have with Telstra, Wow Corporate’s Communications Division will specialise in delivering Telstra services, telecommunication products, office phone systems, wireless modems and GPS tracking solutions.
“The Commercial and Trade Division will offer the very best in high quality audio/visual, whitegoods, building products and office furniture.”
Nicolas said the Commercial and Trade Division had already completed significant developments and they were a prime example of the combined services Wow Corporate could supply.
“We’ve completed major projects for some of Qld’s largest Companies and are currently servicing the Transport, Mining, Construction and Hospitality industries ” he said.
“We’re aiming for Wow Corporate to be the Australia’s number one supplier of telecommunication services and products and to give commercial and building projects the solutions they require without fuss.”
But more worrying for the likes of JB HiFi will be Wow’s new online offering, set for launch this week, which should add some more competition into what has become a very competitive sector.
According to Nicolas, the time is ripe for Wow to move more into the online space.
“With the upcoming Beijing Olympics and the growth in the home AV sector, our online offering is just another vehicle with which we can service our customers”, he noted, adding that, in terms of a long-term strategy, “clicks and bricks is the way to go”.
And in line with this move online, Nicolas notes that the company has ‘opened up a presence in Western Australia and a new large warehousing facility in Auburn in NSW to cater for the expected surge in online orders from around the country, and especially from NSW.
But not that this has stopped Wow from opening new stores around the country.
Soon, says Nicolas, there will be a new store in the ACT and Shepparton in country Victoria, with “more new stores in other locations, being announced later this year”, according to Nicolas.
And although Nicolas did not want to be specific in terms of what products are at present adding to the company’s ever-increasing bottom line, he did note that, “TV’s in all their shapes and sizes are doing very well”.
Wow, it seems is moving ahead in all directions at once, both in terms of online and in store locations, making the likelihood of an eventual head-on collision with the likes of JB HiFi inevitable.
However, all this frenetic activity seems grist for the mill for the likes of Nicolas, who admits that not only does the pace and ever-increasing change not phase him, but rather, gives him more reason to succeed. “Retail is in my blood and I really enjoy what I am doing”, he says, adding that, “if I didn’t enjoy it so much, I wouldn’t do it”.