Harvey Norman to open online store


blog Well, well, well. Looks like Harvey Norman founder Gerry Harvey has admitted that it’s time to come down off his high horse and admit that the internet has some legs when it comes to retailing. Writes the Herald Sun:

“By this time next year you’ll see Harvey Norman with a pretty sizeable internet presence. My heart’s beating very strongly on whether we make any money out of it,” Mr Harvey said. “I haven’t got any choice. I’ve got to cannibalise our stores.”

It will be interesting to see how well Harvey Norman’s online store stacks up against existing favourites like AusPCMarket, UMart and of course MSY. And we look forward to seeing Harvey Norman listed in staticICE.

Image credit: Delimiter


  1. “like AusPCMarket, UMart and of course MSY.”

    You can’t compare Harvey Norman to these sites, these are PC parts shops. Where as Harvey Norman sells branded complete PCs and shit load of other stuff.

    • Well, there is significant overlap. Perhaps a more valid comparison might be Dick Smith? But I don’t know many people who buy stuff from Dick Smith.

      • Yeah I have to admit, that the store comparisons you made to MSY are completely different to what an online version of Harvey Norman would look like. Different markets, and even products that are sold

        Its the whole JBHIFI/Dicksmith etc etc, as noted before, that would be a more apt comparison

      • Heaps of people buying things from big names like DSE, Big W and JB Hi-Fi, online — especially their on sale items as they are operating at a margin where smaller PC parts retailers simply can’t compete. And their willingness to be loss-leaders to off load old stocks. Just search for “JB Hi-Fi deals” or “Dick Smith deals” on Google…

        Interestingly you brought up MSY. Until recently they have an even worse website :) And you still can’t really do online shopping there as they don’t do delivery.

    • The great thing about the internet is it allows for almost perfect competition. I can be in multiple “stores” at the same time, just by opening a new browser tab, and can compare prices instantly. If Harvey Norman “online” can’t or won’t compete in that kind of market, then their online adventure will surely fail.

      Besides, most of the stuff Harvey Norman sells (furniture, white goods, etc) I don’t want to buy on the internet anyway. I’m never going to buy a couch before I actually see it in person, so it’s certainly going to “cannibalize” his stores in that sense. What it does do, however, is it lets me compare HN prices with other retailers before I even step out the door. Or, if I’m in another store, I can check HN’s prices before buying in the other store (and vice versa).

      That’s where Harvey Norman “online” will start to “cannibalize” their retail stores. If they keep their seriously marked up prices, I’ll know without ever having to step into a HN store again…

  2. A Harvey Norman online shop may canabalise sales, but remember that each area in a HN store is a franchise. So HN makes it money on franchising fees and rents. It does not rreally have to worry about store sales, more brand name reconition

  3. Who launches an online presence while simultaneously telling the public that he has been forced into it, that he is scared of it, and doubts it will make money? That’s a really great way to get people enthusiastic about your website Gerry!

    I think it’s time to go take your millions and retire. You’re offering too little, too late and after your recent campaign to try and tax everyone that shops from overseas, you’re also extremely unpopular.

    • i agree with simon, but cmon simon you have to admit he is smarter than the average joe

      • Sure. He’a obviously a retail and marketing genius to have gotten to where he is today. However is attitude to new ways of shopping are rather antiquated. He should be launching a website with a positive attitude and confidence. His current stance seems to be “if you can’t beat them, join them”. And he’s already predicted he’ll probably lose money on it. Hardly inspiring.

        • He said he doubted he’d make money and that *ahem* “no-one has made money on the internet”

          if that’s the case why would you do it? is there something wrong with his brain?

  4. The Harvey brand will make a big difference in how well this goes for him. It is such a strong brand that I can’t see it doing anything but well.

    They have a challenge in pricing considering everyone will be expecting it to be cheaper that retail so that will be an issue but maybe they can restrict stock to particular lines to restrict the cannibalisation.

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