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JB Hi Fi Boss Raises Concerns About Online & COVID-19

JB Hi-Fi chief executive Richard Murray claims 80% of their customers start their journey online.

Last month JB Hi Fi attracted 25.6 million visitors to their web site according to the SEMRush Analytics of which more than 11.1 million were unique visitors in comparison Harvey Norman only managed to attract 14.3 million visitors.

Speaking at the Australian E-Commerce Summit Murray warned that lockdowns in Victoria have forced shoppers to go online that could be falsely inflating the popularity of shopping digitally.

Mr Murray added that there were always pressures on retailers to spend up on e-commerce tools.

JB Hi Fi and The Good Guys both use the Syndigo content engine this engine is used by 80% of the mainstream retailers in the USA including Walmart, Costco, Best Buy and more than 900 other retailers who want to cut the cost of posting rich interactive content from brands while delivering an enhanced content experience for their customers.

The engine is used by brands such as Samsung, Apple, LG, Belkin and more than 1,500 leading retail brands.

Murray said that online remained a crucial pathway for shoppers to get to his stores.

“The reality for a bricks and mortar retailer is 80 per cent of your traffic is starting online.

“I think for people like Jack (Gance) (the CEO of Chemist Warehouse) and I, we are sitting there saying we want to delight customers however they shop with us and sometimes they have a low involvement purchase and that may well be online and other times they have a high involvement purchase that needs service and experience and that’s more likely to be in store.’’

The Australian reported that Murray was quick to counter that popularity of online with the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic which he said could be inflating the natural level of online shopping, especially in Victoria which has been struggling under curfews, the forced closure of non-essential retailers and highly restrictive limits on social mobility.

To be blunt, shoppers didn’t have an alternative.

“I’m 100 per cent online in Victoria because I don’t have a choice.”

“Now in Victoria at the moment, or in Melbourne, customers don’t have a lot of choice, they can’t shop in-store and so when I hear people saying ‘wow my online sales have gone through the roof!’, …. Well I’d love to see what everyone’s online sales are this time next year.

“What we have seen is forced outcomes …. but where does the water settle at, passed some unique periods with COVID where we have had Victorian retail shut, will be really interesting.”

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