The Company, who is directing consumers to their own Acer web store as opposed to local IT and consumer electronics retailers, has also set up a direct sell kiosk at Castle Hill.
Investigations by SmartHouse reveals both sites are designed to generate revenue for Acer’s web store as opposed to traffic for local retailers selling Acer products.
When ChannelNews staff spoke to Acer staff at the Bondi kiosk, they claimed they were acting as “brand ambassadors,” but when one chose to buy an Acer product the Acer staff directed customers to the Acer online store.
When questioned about the price at the Acer online store versus a local consumer electronics retailer, Acer staff offered us a $100 discount voucher to use on an Ultrabook, Acer All in One PC or a Windows 8 tablet.
When SmartHouse questioned whether the products being shown were on sale at Harvey Norman the Acer staff assistant said ‘No, the Acer stock at Harvey Norman is old stock’.
When we pushed them claiming that we would prefer to buy the Acer S7 Ultrabook at JB Hi Fi, the staff produced a letter within seconds claiming that they had checked with JB Hi FI and once we had purchased the product and returned to the kiosk we would be given a free gift.
The staff then went back to selling the benefits of buying an Acer product via the Acer Store as opposed to a retailer.
The incentive was a three year warranty on the product purchased via the Acer online store. They also offered a $120 incentive if we recycled an old notebook or PC via Acer.
They said that all a buyer had to do was go to any Australia Post Office drop off their old computer and then redeem the $120 incentive via the Acer online web store.
During our engagement with Acer staff there was no mention of Officeworks or Dick Smith stores as being a retailer where Acer products could be purchased, despite these stores stocking Acer notebooks, Ultrabooks and PCs. Both organisations have stores close to the Acer Bondi Kiosk.
Late last year when ChannelNews claimed that the Company was setting up a kiosk operation to drive traffic to the company’s own store, Acer Australia denied this would happen despite two current serving staff confirming the initiative which is being driven by Acer Australia’s Marketing Director, David Sunton.
Last year Acer Australia suffered a major sales downturn with revenues believed to have slipped below $450M and losses are said to be over $2M according to insiders.
Between 2011 and 2012, the Company stopped selling Gateway Computers, e-machines and were forced to pull out of the smartphone market due to a lack of interest in Acer made smartphones.
What will be of interest is whether Acer Australia removes from their balance sheet the value of the Gateway and e-Machine business to the Australian operation for the 2012/2013 financial year.
Currently Acer notebooks are being sold by JB Hi Fi and Dick Smith. Harvey Norman is not ranging the Taiwanese company’s computers online or in Harvey Norman owned stores.