By Patrick Avenell

MELBOURNE, VIC: Clive Peeters’ expansion into online trading has opened up the possibility of it moving more thoroughly into new categories, in particular, gaming, software and IT.

Although it is most closely associated with whitegoods and other big ticket home appliances, Clive Peeters’ online division has exceeded expectations during its infancy, with the retailer now looking to expand its portfolio to take advantage of this positive customer response.

Chief operating officer Gary Dunne told that the decision to move into online trading – something other established competitors are resisting – has opened the brand up to opportunities it hadn’t anticipated. We asked Dunn to outline the advantages of this move.

“I think that it gives us the scope to play in products that we otherwise wouldn’t normally consider for our bricks and mortar stores, that’s one of the opportunities that presents itself to us,” Dunn said. “We’re not recognised for software, but having the potential to move in that direction gives us brand recognition in those areas, which we currently don’t have.”

Although there were some sniggers over the prospect of people buying large appliances over the internet, Dunn reported the site has exceeded sales targets since launch. Due to its strong performance since launch, targets have had to be adjusted upwards to better reflect this activity.

“It’s gone exceptionally well, we’re well ahead of our targets at this point in time. We only opened the website in August for the Clive Peeters brand and in September for the Rick Hart brand.”

Dunn said the majority of sales were of the smaller items in the $300 to $400 range. That said, a surge in certain categories has been a welcome surprise.

“To our surprise, we’ve been able to sell large panel TVs and also air conditioners, and we’re very excited by the prospects of that. We’ve sold pretty much anything and everything on there at the moment. Some not in huge volumes, but we’ve been able to sell refrigerators, especially replacement product.”

Research conducted by Clive Peeters shows that more established online sales sites from overseas bricks and mortar retailers have been able to generate roughly 25 per cent of all sales revenue. Dunn said the Clive Peeters site wasn’t near those figures yet, but that ratio is currently the long term goal.