Harvey Norman Online Shop Not Crowded With Bargains

Harvey Norman dipped its toes into online retailing with its non-tech Big Buys store, but now it is finally offering online sales in electronics and other categories. Has it been worth the wait? From a saving money point of view, not really.

As you might expect from a retailer which had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the internet era, the site is slightly odd. You can choose to have products delivered or pick them up in store, which is a sensible use of the physical store network. But some products can only be picked up in store even though they'd be easy to deliver: the iPad is an obvious example.

Speaking of the iPad, what does it cost? A 16GB iPad 2 is currently on sale for $553, which is well below the $579 Apple itself charges (though Apple will deliver it to you for that price). However, it's not the cheapest deal around: Kogan has the iPad 2 for $519 plus $29 delivery, which works out at $548.

A search on other products suggests a similar pattern: pricing that's competitive but that you can possibly replicate elsewhere. The Canon MX360 printer is $58, plus $6.95 for delivery. The delivery charge in that case makes a difference: I found the printer itself for less online, but couldn't find anyone else with such a low delivery charge. Note though that an additional charge seems to be added for each item that gets delivered.

If you're near a Harvey Norman store, then in-store pickup might be an advantage that makes using the site worthwhile. That said, given how difficult it generally is to even attract the attention of staff in many Harvey Norman outlets, the stress factor might not be worth it. Are you tempted?

Harvey Norman


Comments

    HN seem to be modelling off Officeworks with the in-store pickups. Except Officeworks is even more confusing with separate stock levels of in-store and on-line.

    I'm actually impressed at HN effort though. Beats the Myer attempt at an on-line store hands down. Could be worth watching closer.

    I say boycott. We need to get rid of Harvey. Go.

      Great idea olearymo, boycott Harvey and run it to the ground. Doesn't matter about the thousands of people who will lose their livelihoods - I really hope you do not have a job with any responsibilities.

      On the other hand, back to the website , looks ok and as an entry into the online space is not a bad start. If they integrate some of the BigBuys type get rid of stock deals with free shippings, that would be something to look forward to.

      So olearymo, you going to pay for all the dole checks??
      Why get rid of the largest retailer in this country?
      Alot of the big electronic company's hire from Harvey Norman staff, just based on the training their staff go though for product knowledge.
      Hate to think what the world would be like if Camera company start hiring account managers from JB staff

        okay, okay, guys! All good points! I strongly doubt my comment has the power to start a boycott however. Don't know what you're so worried about.

        But you're entirely right. I just can't stand Gerry Harvey. I suppose I'd like to see *him* fail, and one of the hardworking people under him get a chance to point the company in the right direction.

    Yeah, that makes sense get rid of the competition! They may not be the best competition but competition is a good thing, not something to be squashed!

      meant for old leary man,.. I mean olearymo!

        was that really called for? What is it with you and personal attacks?

          Still no sense of humour eh?

            Judging by your comments, still not seeing one no.

            look never mind ok, let's chill out and start over. and for the record I was thinking more of the dude harvey than the company. I know there are lots of ppl working there.

    I"ve never had anything less then great service from very attentive HN staff - maybe that's just a Perth thing?

      Service isn't really the problem, getting their attention is!

    I'm not one to stick up for Harvey Norman, but comparing the iPad price with Kogan is completely unfair. One company has to charge GST and the other is using a loophole to ship from Hong Kong without charging GST (not that there is anything wrong with that I might add).

      Kogan is an Australian company. They are required by law to charge GST on products they sell.

      ie. You've been blindsided by Gerry Harvey's BS.

        I don't want to argue this point, but Kogan setup a Hong Kong based business called Kogan HK for grey imports (iPads, iPhones, Android phones, DSLR's etc). On all of these products they do not charge GST and you are not given an invoice with GST included. They are shipped direct from Hong Kong. I know this because I bought a SGS2 from them last month.

        See this page for more details on the arrangement and the separate businesses:
        http://www.kogan.com.au/warranty/

          My invoice says different. Maybe you should look into it more before just swallowing whatever crap Harvey spouts?

          25L Convection Microwave Oven with Grill
          Expected Dispatch Date: XX/XX/2011 1 $99 $99.00
          DELIVERY INFORMATION
          Delivery to Postcode: XXXX $35.24
          Total $134.24
          inc GST of $12.20

            I have looked not only looked into it, in fact I was one of the first purchases from Kogan HK.

            As I explained Kogan has two seperate companies. You got charged GST because the microwave is sold by Kogan Australia. The grey imported items are shipped direct from Hong Kong to the customer and are sold GST free.

            You don't have to take my word for it though, this whirlpool thread has many posts that explain the situation:
            http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1775142&p=16#r319

            Many posts on ozbargain also explain the GST free nature of the Kogan HK goods.
            http://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/55247

            If YOU look into it (read the ozbargain thread I linked to) you will find that they don't even supply a Australian invoice!

              Well it's certainly going to be fun times ahead for Kogan come tax time. Especially so as they are using their Australian based company website to sell them.

              I would not want to be Kogan if the ATO decides to engage in a colonoscopy into this practice by an Australian based company.

                That's a good point, given that you need an ACN/ABN to get a .com.au domain, so it could be seen that purchases made through kogan.com.au are intrinsically "linked" to their Australian company and therefore they must pay GST on all purchases. However, thinking about it further, the .com.au restriction wouldn't prevent you from putting content or functionality on your site that isn't directly related to sales, e.g. I could put a blog on my .com.au online store and it's ok, so why can't he put effectively a second online store on his? So long as there still exists something on the site to tie it to an Australian business, i.e. perhaps he couldn't remove the legit Australian sales completely...but where is the line drawn? ....I dunno, I'm just speculating. I'd be pretty confident that a company the size of Kogan has looked at potential tax implications. Anybody have any concrete knowledge of this area?

            Lord Crumplebottom.. Tom is correct, you've bought a locally supplied item from Kogan AU, which they remit GST on. Tom is referring to the branded products Kogan sells which come directly from Hong Kong and bypass the GST where the item is < $1000. Nikon, Canon and Apple products are examples.

    The in store pick-up is most probably to do with the HN business structure as stores are usually franchises not fully owned by the parent company.

    It's harder to do an on-line store when you are a franchise business. You can't undercut your bricks-and-mortar storefronts. If you do you're not saving on overheads but stealing customers. In store to pick up is one way to keep the franchisee happy - the store can get a cut of the sale plus a customer is physically delivered to the franchisee for other potential sales.

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