Gizmodo has spoken with online retailer Ruslan Kogan today about his company’s purchase of Dick Smith’s online retail business.
Kogan will “continue the legacy” of the Dick Smith brand and run the Dick Smith businesses as an online-only consumer electronics retailer in Australia and New Zealand.
“Dick Smith is an iconic Australian brand and we’re thrilled to be able to keep it alive, as well as Aussie owned and run,” said Kogan. “We will invest in building and nurturing the Dick Smith community, and honour the great legacy of this Australian business.
“I remember as a kid always visiting Dick Smith to look for parts to upgrade my computer. There is a strong history of passion in the Dick Smith community for how technology can improve our lives, and we look forward to helping make it more affordable and accessible for all.”
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The receiver for Dick Smith Electronics Pty Ltd, James Stewart said “after a thorough process with multiple bidding parties we are pleased that Kogan is the successful acquirer of the Dick Smith online business. As Australia’s largest pureplay online retail website, Kogan is a natural and logical owner of the Dick Smith online business and we are particularly pleased that the Dick Smith brand will continue under its stewardship.”
There will be a transition period during the closure of the bricks and mortar store network, and Kogan will operate the online business from 1 June 2016.
Customer information currently held by Dick Smith will be handled in accordance with the requirements of Australian and New Zealand privacy law during the change of ownership, with customers being contacted as of today. They will be provided with the option of having their details removed prior to the transfer to new owners.
Customers who provided their information to Dick Smith after the appointment of receivers on 4 January 2016 will not have that information disclosed to the new owners, Kogan said in a statement.
When Dick Smith entered into voluntary administration back in January, Kogan was one of the first retailers to say they would honour Dick Smith gift cards.
Dick Smith eventually announced it would be closing all of its stores on 25 February. Reports after the fact stated that a little help from the banks could have saved Dick Smith as it stood.
Rusan Kogan has gone on to reveal more details about the acquisition.
When asked about exactly what was included in the purchase, he replied “Kogan is buying the entire Dick Smith online business, including goodwill and brand.”
He says the motivation to purchase Dick Smith was “To save the legacy of this great Australian brand,” which he plans to do “by transitioning the business to an online only model, and providing Australians accessibility and affordability for the most in demand electronics products.”
“Dick Smith is one of the most iconic Australian retail brands and we will be able to leverage the millions of dollars we’ve invested into online retail systems and architecture over the last decade to sustainably run the business.”
He would not disclose the amount that he paid for the business.
There are no plans to merge the Dick Smith and Kogan brands, with Kogan saying “the Dick Smith brand is one of the most iconic Aussie retail brands and we will operate a dual brand strategy, continuing the legacy of the Dick Smith business as a pre-eminent technology retailer.”
There are improvements to be made, though, and Kogan plans to do this by investing in the brand and rebuilding consumer trust. “We acknowledge that consumer trust takes years to build and can be damaged very quickly,” Kogan said. “Ultimately, a brand grows when it delivers on its promises. We will work tirelessly to exceed the expectations of every Dick Smith customer with a beautiful shopping experience.”
When asked if the Dick Smith range will change, Kogan said “the Dick Smith business will transition into a more innovative, online only, business model. This will allow us to leverage digital efficiencies to provide more accessible and affordable product ranges than what Dick Smith customers may have experienced in the last few years.”
“The business will continue to focus on consumer electronics and appliances, offering a variety of private labels and the world’s leading brands. The combined buying power of Kogan and Dick Smith will provide a compelling proposition to the world’s leading brands and suppliers. This will enable us to trade on more favourable terms and pass on those savings onto consumers.”
There are plans for changes to the backend of the business, as well. “The supply chain will be optimised to a more innovative, streamlined business model, ensuring competition among suppliers, and logistics efficiencies, to deliver Australians the best value every day,” Kogan revealed. “Fulfilment will occur from distributions centres around Australia, with Aussies offered fast dispatch straight to their doors.”
While Kogan says he is “not in a position to forecast at this stage” the future of the business looks promising.
“We do know that by leveraging our existing systems and infrastructure, we are in the best position out of any retailer in Australia and New Zealand to run Dick Smith as an online only retailer. The Dick Smith online offering will soon be better than ever.”