It seems Harvey Norman chief executive Gerry Harvey failed to learn a lesson from talking to the media about overseas competitors stealing from his plate.
Remember Gerry and his ARA mates taking out full page ads in the daily newspapers a few years back, alerting consumers that if they bought from the US they would buy cheaper and avoid paying GST?
The lowering of the GST campaign that retailers rallied for only served to distance them from their customers and alert them to better deals off shore.
Now Gerry wants protection from the “evil” Amazon because they have put so many old school retailers out of business in the USA. His contradictions are breathtaking given he has beaten competitors in building his own empire. Harvey Norman has also created an international footprint. Surely Gerry wouldn’t want other countries making it harder for him by way of raising protection in one of the eight countries he trades in?
Gerry is no dill. In the early days of Australian e-commerce, Gerry was pretending that online was no threat while behind the scenes he was investing significantly in his website and logistics. Harveynorman.com.au is considered by many industry experts a top functioning webstore.
Witness his executive e-commerce team lead by Garry Wheelhouse (who I see constantly on the conference circuit in the USA) working their butts off with a passion to integrate the in-store and online experience for their customers. Australian retailers can learn from the team at Harvey Norman.
Is Gerry trying to insert himself into the debate for brand exposure? Does he really want trade barriers around the world? Why would he alert consumers about better deals on Amazon?
The Trump era shines new light on the tariffs and trade debate: Globalization Vs Nationalism or Free Trade Vs Trade Barriers. Populists leaders of all sides of politics talk of bringing back the glory days of manufacturing while robots and automation are clearly the future.
History shows us that societies that turn inward decline while those that embrace open trade flourish. It is also the world’s best prospect for peace. If we are all trading then we cannot afford war.
The world is changing fast – Australian retailers need to join the global game or die trying to place sandbags in front of a Tsunami.
Gerry and his team at Harvey Norman are ticking all the boxes. Why then rant about Amazon on Channel 10’s The Project TV? Maybe he is trying to scare other Australian retailers to take action? Or does he truly believe he should be protected?
For retails and brands that want to learn about engaging with Amazon, Retail Global is holding a workshop with Amazon executives to assist retailers and brands in onboarding onto the amazon marketplace.
Now is a great time for exporting and finding new markets. The alternative is a fruitless exercise of resistance.