So, basically the Aussie retailers want to ensure that GST is charged on goods purchased overseas online which, at the moment, is GST free if the value is less than AU $1000. They are arguing that the cheaper online shopping is costing them business.
Let’s see. I can order off the Internet when I want to. I don’t have to just go during shopping hours. When I order something, the online shopping system is polite. Many places have a real person who can take inquiries when you are shopping. It is also designed to be helpful to me. I order the goods, pay for them and generally the delivery charges are reasonable and they deliver to my home as soon as possible.
Compare that to shopping at Myers or Harvey Normans, for example. Walk into a department and stand around looking lost for 10 minutes as Mrs Slocombe talks to one of the other staff about her pussy. Or be unable to ask a question as there is only one staff member on in the department and they have a queue of 6 people to serve at the cash register. Even worse, have to ask a question about some technical gizmo because the store is too ignorant to put complete information next to the gizmo. Then when you buy something, be told that delivery will be next Tuesday as that is when your area is serviced.
I like shopping at Officeworks (who don’t appear to be calling for this change) as I can do my shopping there at 11:00 pm at night, after dinner, when I have time. There are staff there to answer my questions and they can. Bunnings, I can go to after dinner as well for my hardware, certainly up to 9:00 pm week nights. Woolies, Coles, same story.
Here is an example of what the retailers are not saying about their current problems in selling stuff to Aussies over the counter:
Bose QuietComfort® 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headphones – their Australian price $499. That is, the Recommended Retail Price if you buy them in Australia is $499 and that is what most places charge. However, I can source them in the USA for the price of $299.
OK, let’s add the 10% GST on and that makes the international price $329. Add another $20 for shipping and that makes it, hmm, $349. Still $150 cheaper than the price in Oz.
Yep, getting the GST added on is going to make a difference … not!
It’s time the retailers stepped back, looked at their business model and instead of looking for excuses, looked for solutions.