By Claire Reilly

At the opening of the retailer’s newest shopfront in Sydney last week, Dick Smith’s new CEO Nick Abboud was busy talking up growth, boasting that the retailer could open as many as 25 new stores per year for the next three years.

But while Abboud was certainly focused on bricks and mortar, he was also keen to emphasise that a growth in store footprint would allow his company to expand its online offering.

Painting a picture of the future of Dick Smith, Abboud spoke of increasing the retailer's store network to 400 shopfronts across Australia and New Zealand, becoming “the most innovative in the electronics category” and a strong omnichannel presence that would help the retailer beat out its rivals.

Tied in with Dick Smith’s departure from the Woolworths group and plans to expand bricks and mortar store numbers, new owners Anchorage Capital Partners have switched to the Magento e-commerce platform (owned by international retail giant Amazon) to help it increase its distribution potential.

“We’ve been live just only a few weeks now and the thing that we’re very excited about is we’ve moved to fulfilling out of a group of stores where previously we were fulfilling out of Chullora [Dick Smith’s warehouse in Sydney’s west],” said Abboud.

“If you talk about omnichannel and look at the international best practise…leveraging the store growth program is linked to online. So look out for Dick Smith as we grow that platform very quickly.

“The strength of online will be that you can click-and-collect from Kalgoorlie, if you live there, or in Cairns, because we’ve got stores in those locations. We don’t have to freight from a central location like other retailers or pure-play [online retailers]. Our strength will be that we can also deliver to those locations on the same day for the customer.”

Abboud said Dick Smith’s growth towards a model of “every store fulfilling” online orders would also help it to iron out other problems often faced by clicks-and-mortar retailers, such as “out of stock issues”.

“Today if you’re online and a SKU is out of stock in Chullora or the one store in Queensland [that provides stock fulfilment] it doesn’t convert. But if I had 75 available stores that had that stock, then [the online sale] could convert.

“A lot of online players are still shipping out of the one location. For me to ship a TV from here to Kalgoorlie costs me about $300 and I don’t make $300 on the TV. So that’s the opportunity that we’ll have when we go to full store fulfilment.”

With more stores fulfilling orders, Abboud hopes to grow Dick Smith’s total online business. Eventually, the business aims to have a network of 400 stores with the ability to fulfil online orders from every store, bringing online sales up to 10 per cent of Dick Smith’s business.
“When I first took over the business, I said I’d like [online] to be 10 per cent of our sales,” he said. “At the moment, including click-and-collect, it’s sitting at around 4 per cent.

“I see it getting to the 10 per cent when I get to the 400-store fulfilment.”

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