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COMMENT: Is The CSIRO The Answer After Harvey Norman Dump GFK

The decision by Harvey Norman management to stop supplying GFK with key sales data is not surprising especially as Amazon is set to launch in Australia.

ChannelNews understands that the decision was driven in part by the pending arrival of Amazon who are masters at collecting and interpreting data and the fact that GFK was suppling weekly sales data to Amazon partners was of concern to the mass retailer.

When JB Hi Fi decided to pull the plug on supplying data to the German research Company I was told that the Company was concerned that “valuable” information was walking out the door straight into the hands of their competitors every week.

ChannelNews now expects The Good Guys to follow both JB Hi Fi and Harvey Norman in stopping the collection of data that allows suppliers and retailers to find chinks in their competitor’s armour.

GFK data is as much about sales as it is about price points. It allows brands to easily assess whether they can lift prices or discount.

Now the CE and appliance industry is facing a real dilemma because there is no competitor that has access to key CE and appliance data.

The exit of GFK from Harvey Norman could see a new research model emerge whereby vendors must supply data direct to a research Company who in turn will analyse the data and write a report, however this model is seriously flawed.

Several years ago, we suspected that data and subsequent research relating to the PC market was flawed. When we approached the Australian customs office, we discovered that the so-called numbers supplied by vendors was in out by up to 50% in some cases. Shipments of monitors and certain PC’s were being tracked by customers according to make, model and size.

What could be an option is for the CSIRO who do projects via their big data unit and working with the Australian Bureau of Statistics to produce sales data monthly.

They already have the modelling tools all they need is the data.

They are also in a position to check shipments with Australian customs.

Done properly this could be a major revenue earner for the CSIRO while also providing vendors with information that allows them to continue making commercial marketing decisions based on accurate data.

It would allow vendors to know how much stock is being shipped into Australia and sold by Amazon.

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