Disruptive online retailer the surprise buyer of Dick Smith brand

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Ruslan Kogan to Revitalize Dick Smith Retail Brand
It’d be tough to find two hotter topics in the world of brand and marketing than ‘new thinking brands disrupting’ and ‘old thinking brands imploding’. The latest move by Australian online retailer Kogan combines both. The move displays the same foresight and understanding of the new consumer market that has fueled Kogan’s growth from selling televisions from his parent’s garage a decade ago into one of the countries most successful and astute retailers.

Dick Smith had over the years turned into a brand that meant little of anything to anyone. The Dick Smith business grew substantially over the last decade in terms of retail locations and turn-over, but in the process lost all understanding of it’s own brand positioning and with it, any sense of unique consumer value proposition. There are few things more dangerous for a retailer than growth for revenue sake. A quick glance at the most successful retail brands in the world – Apple and Lululemon top the leader board – show businesses with very clear value propositions and brand identities. These are brands that not only command intense consumer loyalty, but leverage that into astounding sales per square metre.

Rusland Kogan, founder and visionary entrepreneur behind the brand clearly understands the new world of retail, how consumers fluidly shift between digital and bricks and mortar. Kogan’s play for the Dick Smith brand is not about buying cheap stock or snapping-up retail sites, but about leveraging the remaining goodwill associated with it in the online space. Whilst the Dick Smith brand has lost it’s way over the last decade and received a dump-load of bad press in the last few months, Kogan is smart enough to know the equity built up by the brand over thirty-odd years retains plenty of value in the market. With the intent to leverage the brand and Kogan’s ‘sweet spot skill set’ to sell a range of branded and own label electronic goods online, Kogan will ironically shift the brand back to its roots as an entrepreneurial, electrical retailer.

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Mr Kogan said “DickSmith.com.au would continue to sell branded and private label consumer electronics and appliances, but prices could be cheaper as Dick Smith and Kogan pooled resources to secure more favourable trading terms with suppliers”. With annual online sales of around $95m, the brand will deliver a significant boost in sales and customer numbers to Kogan, a timely boost to the business as it prepares to go public through an upcoming IPO.

We wrote an article back in 2010 about the missed opportunity with Dick Smith’s re-brand. Little did we know how far off-track the brand would stray. You can read that article here…

Dave Ansett
Truly Deeply Founder & Creator of Brands
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Kogan photo courtesy Simon Schluter

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