By Patrick Avenell

The new Dick Smith has immediately demonstrated that it is thinking outside the traditional bricks and mortar box, revealing that from next week, consumers will be able to purchase directly from catalogues via QR codes and that a new Dick Smith app will provide a true “omnichannel” experience for consumers.

Since purchasing the Dick Smith network from Woolworths in late 2012, Anchorage Capital Partners has repeatedly hinted at brining new ideas to the consumer electronics retail space.

Last week it became the first retailer in this industry to hold an open press conference in at least the past five years, showing that it has a proactive approach to communicating with consumers. And now it is demonstrating its novel approach to retailing with the new app, built in partnership with technology providers Sniip.

The app will allow consumers to shop directly from their Apple or Android smartphone and tablet, and will include the ability to scan a QR code from a catalogue to instantly purchase the advertised product.

“We saw immediate opportunity in partnering with Sniip, as its mCommerce innovation perfectly matched the Dick Smith aspirations,” said Dick Smith director of customer strategy and omnichannel Michael Dykes.

“Valuing and listening to our customers is paramount to Dick Smith and we know convenience and time are a huge factor in how they shop.”

Catalogue advertising has traditionally been used by retail groups to drive foot traffic into bricks and mortar stores. Harvey Norman, for example, effectively use centrally created and distributed catalogues to encourage sales activity throughout its franchisee network.

Because Dick Smith stores are all owned by the one private equity firm, as opposed to being a franchise or joint venture operation, it can thoroughly mine non-traditional and centralised retail ventures without fear of upsetting store owners.

“With Sniip, our customers literally have the ability to purchase from our advertising, including our weekly catalogue and newspaper ads, from anywhere, at anytime. It means our media is always on, and that will offer us a massive and trackable return on investment,” Dykes said.

In a veiled swipe at his retail rivals, who often preach the mysterious ‘omnichannel’, Dykes said this was proof Dick Smith was actually living it:

 “With the advent of Sniip, the whole principle of ‘omnichannel’ is more than just rhetoric, and we are leading the way,” he said.

The new Dick Smith app will be available from 13 August 2013 for iOS and Android. Software developer Sniip said they were thrilled to be working with Dick Smith:

“We are thrilled to partner with one of Australia’s top 25 iconic retailers,” said director John Hawker. “With over 325 stores in Australia and New Zealand, plus the opportunity to feature Sniip QR codes in the 6 million Dick Smith produced catalogues and weekly print advertising, the exposure for us is unrivalled.

“Additionally, the retail and marketing opportunities for Dick Smith are exponentially enhanced. It is a win-win partnership.”