Monday, 10 November 2014 - 11:37
Online stores in price war panic
Large retail chains are trying to lure customers with huge discounts at a time where they need to earn their money. "It is total panic," conclude retail experts. Bol.com is offering discounts of up to 60 percent. Bart Smit, Intertoys and Blokker are giving 15 percent reductions. Wehkamp has lowered the price of toys by 20 percent. This is useful to smart Sinterklaas shoppers who want to buy inexpensive gifts, but it is not good for the stores, says retail expert Pual Moers of PMSMS. "While it is now time to earn the money, chains are becoming completely panicked. The turnover is under pressure, reserves are exhausted in many companies and there are no bright spots." Bol.com wants to gain market share, says retail expert Sabien Duetz of Bien. "And that can really only be done by giving hefty discounts. You will see that as demand increase, the closer to 5 December, the less the discount will become." According to a spokesperson for Bart Smit, Intertoys and Blokker, they do these November discounts every year. Bol.com says that their customers work on orientation for weeks. "They look around for inspiration for presents, but also for a good price," says Marjolein Verkerk. "The presale wants to reach consumers who make the choice on where to do their Sinterklaas shopping based on price." According to Cor Molenaar, retail and marketing professor in Rotterdam, the retail chains are worried about the expected arrival of the American Amazon. "It might not turn out as negative for CoolBlue or Bol.com, who are already large, but will for many other stores." Molenaar predicts that Alibaba, the Chinese "Marketplace", will be an even greater threat. "All these discounts seem to me a logical expression of unrest."