Dick Smith Rises From Ashes As Online Retailer

The Dick Smith brand name will live on as an online store owned and operated by Kogan. The resurrected Dick Smith e-store will launch on 1 June. So what does this mean for existing warranties? And what happens to Dick Smith’s existing customer information? Here’s what you need to know.

Online retailer Kogan today announced the purchase of Dick Smith’s online retail business which will continue to operate under the Dick Smith name.

“Dick Smith is an iconic Australian brand and we’re thrilled to be able to keep it alive, as well as Aussie owned and run,” Kogan founder and CEO Ruslan Kogan said in a statement. “We will invest in building and nurturing the Dick Smith community, and honour the great legacy of this Australian business.”

The Dick Smith business will return as an online-only consumer electronics retailer in Australia and New Zealand from 1 June 2016. All of Dick Smith’s 363 brick-and-mortar stores will still be shutting down.

Kogan outbid several other companies to acquire the online business. According to Dick Smith’s receivers, Kogan, which is Austalia’s largest pureplay online retail website, is a “natural and logical” owner. The purchase includes the entire Dick Smith online business, including goodwill and brand.

If you’ve ever done business with Dick Smith, there’s a pretty good chance your details are stored on a database somewhere. Does this mean you’re about to get spammed by Kogan? Probably. However, under consumer law, all customers must be given the option of having their details removed prior to an ownership transfer — so keep an eye out for a Dick Smith email if you want to opt out.

According to Kogan, the new Dick Smith e-store will concentrate on “the most in demand electronics products”, which suggests the focus will be on big brand items. Then again, it could just be a re-skinned Kogan website with more emphasis on affordable electronics. (For what it’s worth, Kogan has stated that the company will be employing a “dual brand” strategy with no plans to merge the brands together.)

In terms of distribution, Kogan is looking to optimise Dick Smith’s online supply chain, with fulfilment occurring from distributions centres based in Australia. It will also work on rebuilding consumer trust.

“We acknowledge that consumer trust takes years to build and can be damaged very quickly,” Kogan said. “Ultimately, a brand grows when it delivers on its promises. We will work tirelessly to exceed the expectations of every Dick Smith customer with a beautiful shopping experience.”

So how does this affect existing product warranties? Details are currently sketchy, with Kogan stating that this is still being ironed out. If they want to rebuild consumer trust in Dick Smith, we think honouring warranties would be a good place to start. We’ll update the article as soon as we hear back.

Incidentally, we’d be very interested to know what the real Dick Smith thinks about all this. The Australian entrepreneur hasn’t had anything to do with the retail chain for years, yet it’s his name that keeps getting linked to shop closures and shonky business deals. Given their uneven reputation, Kogan’s resuscitation of the brand probably doesn’t bring him much comfort.

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