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?