Harvey Norman launches daily deals site


Retail giant Harvey Norman today confirmed it had launched a new website to promote daily deals on products to customers, following a trend set by dozens of other companies over the past several years following the immense growth of sites like LivingSocial and GroupOn in the United States.

The site – Harvey Norman Big Buys – is currently advertising a Revlon cosmetics pack with lipstick and eyeliner for $53, which it describes as “unbelievable value”. It’s common for daily deals to be shared around through social media channels, but the deal – which is listed as being sold out — has attracted relatively little interest – with no re-tweets on Twitter and just eight recommendations on Facebook.

A spokesperson for Harvey Norman confirmed the site was legitimate and owned by the company, but declined to comment further.

The news comes just a week after Harvey Norman founder Gerry Harvey promised to set up a strong presence for the retail giant online. The company has long maintained that if it was to sell goods online it would be cutting the grass of its franchised stores distributed around Australia, and has recently been embroiled in a bitter battle with international online retailers, who enjoy exemption from certain taxes when selling into Australia.

At the time, Harvey said the company no longer had any choice. “My heart’s beating very strongly on whether we make any money out of it,” he said. “I haven’t got any choice. I’ve got to cannibalise our stores.”

Dean McEvoy, the co-founder and chief executive of group buying site Spreets, which was recently bought by Yahoo!7 for about $40 million, said in an interview that it was ironic that Harvey Norman had entered the market, given the company’s recent perceived antipathy towards the internet in general. He also was puzzled by the Revlon sale, given Harvey Norman’s traditional focus on product lines in the electronics and furniture areas.

The executive said the group buying space was attractive because it was currently generating high revenue figures for many of the companies competing in it. Some of the major companies operating in the area in Australia include Spreets, Cudo (backed by Ninemsn and Microsoft), GroupOn (through its StarDeals brand), LivingSocial-backed JumpOnIt and more.

“You’ll find a lot of people jumping into this space,” said McEvoy.

However, the executive said the model chosen by Harvey Norman – delivering a daily deal on one product per day – was fundamentally different to where much of the market was currently. The ‘daily deal’ style of site had been around since about 2001, he said. In comparison the new style of sites similar to GroupOn had been successful because they were actually offering discounts to services, inspiring people to try “something interesting and different” in their home cities.

“Just delivering a bargain or discount to someone is not really that empowering – it doesn’t have longevity,” said McEvoy. “When you’re out there trying to inspire people to try different parts of their city, that’s what we try to do.”

McEvoy said when Spreets was being built, it was important that the company grow a quality database of customers, so that it could take that database to merchants, as well as getting quality deals from the merchants to push to customers. If you sent a merchant bad customers, he said, they might not deal with you again.

Image credit: Delimiter


  1. There’s a couple of other “deals” on the HN site, but they’re all similarly strange: seat covers for $32; a Meccano set for $32; some kind of garden bed for $88… all nothing to do with HN’s traditional product line and all apparently “SOLD OUT” as well.

    If this is Harvey Norman’s “pretty sizable internet presence”, then it’s a strange definition of “pretty sizable”. Maybe the plan is to just give up in six months so that Gerry can say, “see, I told you it wouldn’t work.”

  2. Since there are so many daily deal sites, there has to be a market place for people to sell their unwanted deals. I use http://www.sellmydeal.com – im a serious shopoholic and i make a lot of thoughtless purchases on groupon.. then when i have my buyers remorse, i just sell them at sellmydeal and get some money back. It works for me!

  3. According to the Privacy Policy page, it says

    This privacy policy applies to eDeal Busters Pty Ltd ACN 145 985 851 (trading as “Harvey Norman Big Buys”) of Unit 1, Building B, 164 Adderley Street, Auburn, New South Wales (“us”, “our”, “we”, “HN Big Buys”). We are an independent franchisee that has been granted a franchise by HN Online Franchisor Pty Ltd ACN 148 935 808 (“Franchisor”), and a limited licence by a related body corporate of the Franchisor, to trade as “Harvey Norman Big Buys” from the website.

    So basically this “Harvey Norman Big Buys” site is no more than just another independent franchiser that was licensed by Harvey Norman. I can’t even find a link from HN’s main website.

  4. When I hit this site up yesterday, there was like 49min left for the current deal, which was the makeup. So when it came around to 12 I thought I’d check out the new deal…well it still showed up the makeup.

    So it will be interesting to see if a new deal shows up today.

    Only thing really linking to to HN is the on the privacy policy page where it has a HN email address…. privacy.officer@au.harveynorman.com

  5. Yes quite a weird selection of goods on there. Not really sure what they are trying to prove here or if they are testing the waters to see what they can do. Given their size and brand equity they should really do this properly. HN selling makeup is really sending mixed signals to the market, is this where their 2011 stock is going?

  6. yeah saw the site seems a bit weird with what they are selling online, i think big harvey has a bit of catch up to do, cudo and deals and that new one zoro seem so much more user friendly. Looks like one of the franchises set it up. I thought Gerry harvey was against internet sales progression. Interesting.

  7. Is it really a “Daily Deal” site when there is no indication of the % discount, and the item is still for sale the next day via the links in the footer? LAME

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