How to alienate customers and run foul of the ACCC- that might be the title of a movie based on local Australian importers recent decision to try and block Australian consumers buying cheaper products overseas.
Local importers happily posed in photos splashed over the front page of the daily papers in their boutique shops trumpeting their idea to make buying their products ‘impossible’ from overseas websites or more expensive – citing the need to protect their profits.
I place the word impossible in inverted commas – because it is just that – to stop an Australian based customer buying from an overseas site is well…impossible. There are numerous businesses today that exist with a sole purpose to help customers outside of the USA to buy products – that are supposed to be limited to US shores. Savvy online buyers know these companies – and more will spread the word soon – what is disturbing is that local importers don’t know about these sites to give Australian customers a US based PO box to ship to, and then on to Australia. So before we even get risking losing a customer base and upsetting the ACCC – we know that the idea was also going to fail anyway.
In this modern age of growing internet penetration of society, where more aspects of daily life involve the internet it is amazing to think that importers may not be aware of such offerings from US based business. The internet opens up so many opportunities for business and engagement; to try limit the reach of the internet would be difficult or impossible (there is that word again), a waste of resources and may ultimately lead to customers black listing a business.
Which brings me to my next point – alienating customers – trumpeting the grand idea that consumers will be ‘forced’ to pay higher prices for their products and not expecting a backlash is crazy! Consumers don’t exist just to serve up business profits and protect them – businesses need to change, innovate and move with the times to stay relevant, showing consumers a value for the price they pay – customers aren’t a given and shouldn’t be treated with such disrespect.
So with the local importer’s head firmly in the sand about what options are available online, alienating customers – they were able to complete the trifecta by running foul of the ACCC. To act in a way to protect profits and business with the way the importers openly describe – is in effect to act like a cartel and stop competition – one of the exact reasons the ACCC exists – so that consumers aren’t taken for a ride.
Local importers and local retailers should be able to get on the front page of the national papers through innovation and embracing the online world – imagine the good PR for a business – that invested in the future, revolutionised their business to grow with the changing world and making it the first point of call for Generations X,Y and Z.