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Game changer?

amazon-no-check-out-dec-2016It is seldom that something totally new and significant happens in retail.

After all, retail has been around a long time and so one could be forgiven for assuming that where we are now is more or less as good as it gets.

But the changing face of retail is almost all technology driven, whether it be the revolution in online sales or the more recent Amazon Go technology. This allows a shopper to register their phone, shop and go, without paying in the traditional way.

And if you think this is about a narrow product range, you would be wrong.  Electronics is likely to be the biggest seller but nothing will be spared including groceries, fresh vegetables, fresh meat and alcohol.

Graph source:


Surprisingly not many people know about Amazon Go despite the hype since last year. JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman are inevitably going to be hurt.  Unsurprisingly Gerry Harvey has been ranting and vowing not to take Amazon lying down but what is he planning to do? Remember it was Gerry Harvey who declared that internet sales were a passing fad and he therefore was a laggard to embrace it.

The Harvey Norman model is already outdated and past its use by date. And to a lesser extent, JB Hi-Fi is also a bit tired. The likes of Myer, Woolworths, Coles, Super Retail Group and many others will all be affected.

So what can be done? One obvious option is to compete. Australians have always been at the forefront when it comes to embracing new technology.  But have we been at the forefront of developing new technology, especially retail technology?

One gets the feeling that foreign entrants like Aldi, Costco, Top Shop, Amazon and many others are swamping us and Australian retailers are slowly dropping to the bottom of the leader board. It’s almost a bit daggy to be seen with a Sportsgirl shopping bag.

The time has arrived for Australian retail to undergo close examination and hopefully enter the 21st century albeit a little late.

Stuart Bennie is a retail consultant at Impact Retailing and can be contacted at or 0414 631 702

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