“I think inevitably e-tailing is a space we’d be interested in,” Naish said. “Our focus is to drive customer traffic back into our stores but we know ultimately that customers do want choice and know that will be something we need to address.”
In the meantime, the franchiser is boosting training to give customers a reason to make the trek into its physical stores.
“We have an e-commerce site, which I require everybody to participate in whether they be staff, managers or franchisees. They’ve all got to do at least eight e-learning modules online every single month,” Naish said.
He claimed its single biggest difference was the quality of customer service delivery. “Today’s consumer is far more knowledgeable, far more proactive and far more comfortable in purchasing from a variety of different sources so the challenge for companies like Harvey Norman is to remain relevant and keep lifting the bar,” Naish said.
It may be hard to believe the bar could rise any higher in this uncertain financial climate, but fortunately the general manager foresees a positive year ahead. He labelled it a process of evolution, not revolution.
“I’m very confident with the opportunities available and what we need to do to reach our potential. I think the global economic crisis has been a good been a positive thing for us because I think it’s brought in a more disciplined, more focused approach to how we do things internally,” Naish said.
“We’re going to revamp our Web presence to update and reinvest in the store layout and we’re going to continue to lead the market with new technologies, which we always have, whether it be the launch of Windows 7 or our photocentre.
“Next year, we’re also launching a certificate in business sales for our frontline retail staff. That’ll be the highest retail qualification for any retail staff and will be the first in Australia.”