Attempting to maximise its stake in the consumer rush for PCs, electrical retailer Bing Lee is undertaking renovations at many of its stores across NSW. Additionally, the Sydney retailing institution is also set to open its 24th store on May 1 this year, at brand new premises in the Sydney suburb of Castle Hill.
The focus of Bing Lee's current shop makeover and internal reorganisation is the convergence of digital home electronics technologies. The renovations have now been completed at both the Fairfield and Parramatta stores, with a new floor plan that is more representative of the closer ties between computers and home entertainment.
"The way we see the future, they are pretty much the same thing," said Gordon Chan, Bing Lee's purchasing manager, IT and brown goods.
"All of these technologies are getting closer to each other and the lines between where they fit into the traditional retail format is blurring.
"We already have Internet TV, and in the future I don't think you will see a computer department as such but more of a home entertainment department," Chan added.
Chan said computer sales have been a "significant growth area" for Bing Lee and that its "Best Advice and Best Price" slogan and challenge to consumers to negotiate on all goods has adapted well to the computer market.
"We are striving to offer customers something more than just a computer at the best price. We are offering solutions to small business and home users," Chan said. "Although we don't try to sell everything, we do have all the PCs, software and peripherals that is needed to make sure the customers can do what they have to do."
According to Chan, the retailer's recent and ongoing investments in its bricks-and-mortar sites are not at the expense of paying attention to emerging Internet sales.
Bing Lee Online (www.binglee.com.au) is operational and offers secure credit card transactions for the retailer's broad product range, but Chan sees it being a fair way down the track before it rivals the walk-in stores.
A lot of Bing Lee's customers like the idea of bargaining on purchase prices, Chan said, and with negotiable prices being advertised as a corporate image, he suggested that "you can't negotiate as well on the Internet" as you can face to face.