We already knew that Gerry Harvey was deeply unenthusiastic about selling online, but there was a brief moment when it seemed that opening a daily deals site wasn't the dumbest thing Harvey Norman could do to start off in that space. But after watching the Harvey Norman Big Buys site in operation for a few days, it's looking like an ecommerce sequel to Dumb & Dumber.
When I think of Harvey Norman stores, I generally think of three things: furniture, electrical goods, and sales staff who can never be found when you actually want to know something. The Big Buys site delivers on none of these core brand values.
Over the past week, special offers from Big Deals have included mascara, an esky, Ferrero Rocher chocolates, saucepans and golf balls. The ongoing catalogue on the site features soccer balls and a range of "ice boxes". Adding to the general feel of cheapness, the product images appear to have been Photoshopped by someone whose only collection of stock imagery was a bunch of bad background designs from Roger Ramjet.
There's a perfectly logical explanation for this: the site is actually operated by an entirely separate company, eDeal Busters Pty Ltd, which has licensed the name from Harvey Norman. OK, that's a quick way of setting up an online store on the cheap. But it's also a good way of cheapening your overall image, which probably isn't the best idea when you've already convinced half the nation that you have no clue when it comes to the Internet. Anyone want a soccer ball?