Dymocks stands by bricks and mortar retailing

Rise of e-readers and pure-play online retailers not a long-term threat, says the book retailer's CEO

Book retailer Dymocks believes its bricks and mortar business will outlast the current trend toward online retailing, as well as the vogue towards e-books and e-readers.

Despite arch-rival Borders expanding the online sales side of its business, and mounting competition from the likes of online-only players Book Depository and Amazon, consumers still valued the in-person retail experience of browsing and buying books, Dymocks CEO, Don Grover, told Computerworld Australia.

“The great majority of books are purchased in stores,” Grover said. “Online is an important and growing channel that compliments our stores, [but] we believe that a well executed multi-channel model will outlast online pure play.”

Grover’s comments follow the launch of a new online tool aimed at providing consumers with near-real time information on the availability of a given book at their local Dymocks outlet.

The website tool queries a central database that contains inventory information for Dymocks 97 stores across Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. The database is updated throughout the day with information fed from a unified point of sale system (POS) from Advance Retail used in every Dymocks outlet.

According to Grover, a number of rival book retailers had adopted multiple POS systems, restricting their ability to feed and integrate inventory data into similar online stock availability tools.

“In some franchise systems each store has its own server,” Grover claimed. “Having a unified POS system across all stores makes it feasible to give the customer an up to date view of inventory.”

Grover added that, despite the potential threat to its bricks and mortar business from e-books and e-readers, the company would continue to offer both to the market.

Additionally, Grover said he was not bothered by the emergence of the iPad or Borders’ recent release of e-book reader, Kobo. Instead, Dymocks would continue to offer a wide range of devices – 16 at last count - and let consumers decide what the preferred format for an e-reader should be.

“There will be a flood of e-readers in the market, more than what there is now, at various price points,” he said. “It will be up to the customer to choose what suits, similar to the mobile phones. We will stock a range that best suits our customer needs.”

Dymocks is also understood to be working on a number of mobile applications for e-books, similar to that offered by Borders.

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