Catch Of The Day, Clicks n Mortar vs Bricks n Mortar and Harvey Norman

I’m a fan of Catch Of The Day – the famous ‘one deal, every day, midday’ website which started out doing just that and has since evolved to sell a lot more.

I only started buying from there in 2010 when my wife pointed out some really great products as were moving into a new place and many items would come very handy (a pot and pan set from Korea is easily the best thing we’ve bought from there).

In the early days, I didn’t bother because a lot of the items were stuff I either had no interest in or did not need or the price wasn’t that great.

Or my favourite reason is that a lot of the stuff is out of date – I once looked up reviews for a headset and found out it was released a few years ago (and was pretty average). Seems a lot of things on there are overstocked/end of line and not necessarily the latest stuff.

Their catchathons are pretty good, especially with gadgets and random items which you don’t see in regular stores – and that’s the kicker, a lot of things on there aren’t mainstream and you often get drawn into an illusion that you’re always getting it at an unbeatable price.

Imagine my ‘delight’ when I stepped into an Overflow store to kill time waiting for my takeaway meal from Nando’s, and I saw a cereal and milk container (all in one) which I had recently bought from Catch Of The Day.

I had never seen it before and at the time had to resort to eating brekky on the go and this seemed like a great enhancement to my life.

It was for the same price and in abundant supply yet when I bought it from Catch Of The Day, it had almost sold out (that day) and I panicked, worrying when I would ever see this deal again. I should also add that I waited about 2 weeks for my delivery too.

And this is the thing with Catch Of The Day – they’re so damn busy and overloaded, they clog up the damn postal service! *tongue firmly in cheek*

Seriously, I once waited about 3 weeks for an order and it wasn’t even a big one.

It wasn’t an urgent purchase but nevertheless it made for a pleasant surprise when it eventually arrived and jogged my memory (is this perhaps yet another ploy of Catch Of The Day?!)

I follow Gabby on Twitter – he’s one of the masterminds behind Catch and he often goes into self-promotion mode, comparing COTD to bricks and mortar retailers and how they could only ever dream of moving stock the way he does it.

This is true – without a doubt because they certainly do move like the world’s about to end any moment now.

I don’t think it’s entirely fair to stick it to conventional retailers in this manner though – online retail and regular retail are so very different that it’s hard to compare.

Don’t for a moment think I’m having a go at Gabby and his crew or that I’m defending people like Gerry Harvey.

People like Ruslan Kogan and Gabbie Leibovich are online retailer revolutionaries who are minting it and thumbing their nose at the slowpokes for good reason.

If and Harvey Norman retail outlets were to both have a huge sale on manchester for 1 day only at 80% off minimum, COTD would win hands down.

I don’t care much for manchester but I’d rather buy online than go into the store.

Sure, feeling/seeing the product in person is something online can’t always match or beat (some videos are very very convincing!) but like other customers, online just works a whole lot better for me because:

– I don’t want to waste time driving all the way to a store

– I don’t want to fight for a parking space.

– I don’t want to fight others for items. (waking up early is a good way to avoid missing out but what if I can’t get there early? or simply don’t want to?)

COTD actually put out news updates from their techies, loaded with jargon about how they’re improving database loads, call times and other infrastructure that powers their website so you know they’re taking things seriously – you don’t get that big by having a sluggish website that no one is able to load.

You’ve got about 8 seconds to get someone’s attention online (factoid from recent Google Engage seminar I went to) and their site loads fast every time.

Yes, you could well miss out online as much as you would in store due to slow load times etc but if this happens, the loss in time is far less when shopping online than if I had to physically visit a store.

I’ve missed out on some of their really awesome deals by mere seconds but I would have lost about 5 minutes tops.

If I went to the store, that’s easily 30 minutes+. Big difference in a time poor world.

Where am I going with this? nowhere in particular.

I wanted to share my perspective and perhaps answer Gabby’s question as to why conventional retailers can’t match online (at least in the way COTD does it) though I suspect he knows that and is aware the likes of Myer and Harvey Norman are too slow to innovate and ever pose a threat to his business despite their significantly larger budgets and other resources.

Online is the way to go.

It’s been this way for a long time (so the recent spat about GST thresholds and people buying online instead of in store etc came as no surprise to me).

Invest the time to understand how you can actually go online and make a difference.

And above all else, if your competition is already online and you’re not, you need to WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE.

Otherwise you’ll just fade away like a fart in the wind and be nothing more than a shadow of your former self.

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