By Patrick Avenell

Logitech Australia director George Saad has challenged Australian retailers to match consumers in the cleverness stakes, saying that some retailers are lagging behind others in adapting to changing conditions.

Last week, Saad revealed that Logitech will now be selling directly to consumers via its online site, a move which brings the Australian office in line with the Swiss brand’s North American and European presences. Saad said established retailers needed to create value propositions to entice consumers, and that social media was a big part of that.

“Shopfronts are going to have to start to create a true value proposition for the consumer as a lot of consumers are not getting that experience they once got,” he said.

“I worked in retail for six years at Harvey Norman — I was a sales guy on the floor, I was at the frontline — and in my days, the knowledge avenue to information was very difficult, because back in those days…the internet wasn’t as big.”

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Saad said it was very easy for consumers to gather and share information amongst themselves — he calls it the modern day version of word of mouth — and this has presented a challenge for some of the established retailers.

“If you don’t…have a point of interest, you’re going to struggle as a shopfront, because consumers are far cleverer today than they used to be.”

When asked if retailers have been smartening up at the same rate as consumers, Saad was honest in his assessment.

“Some have — some have done a very good job with it, and some haven’t. I’m not going to specifically outline who hasn’t, but it is noticeable.”

Retailers who wish to learn more about online retailing, or e-tailing, can attend the Engage in E-tail seminar hosted jointly by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and the Australian Sporting Goods Association (ASGA). The seminar is on Tuesday 2 August 2011 at the Moore Park Golf Club in Sydney. This seminar is free for ARA or ASGA members, or $200 for non-members.

“Engage in E-tail will answer questions for retailers wanting to embrace the online space such as: what is e-tailing, how much do I need to invest, what skills do I need and what technology do I need, how can I increase my online presence and ecommerce capabilities?” said ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman.