According to New Zealand country manager Sim Bong, Laser has got off to a stronger than expected start since it opened for business earlier this year.
Bong says business is better than projected largely because of the company’s ability to sell on volume in the mass merchant market. “We’re definitely getting into the right market. We’ve seen success with The Warehouse Group and supermarket chains. This business has become very accessorised.”
Richard Manaton, general manager for marketing at Progressive Enterprises, says people enjoy shopping for technology along with their supermarket shopping. “Our experience is that consumers like being able to browse through and buy technology products while they're doing their grocery shopping. It's a matter of convenience, particularly for people who are time-poor.”
Progressive Enterprises owns the Woolworths, Countdown and Foodtown supermarket chains. The Australian parent company also controls Dick Smith Electronics. Earlier this year Countdown was selling Kyocera printers for less than wholesale price. The supermarket chain has also sold Lexmark printers supplied by Ingram Micro.
Bong says people are beginning to realise they can get their digital fix from supermarket chains. “People selling Coca Cola or candy can make more than people selling computers these days. The margins in these places can be very good,” says Bong. “It’s all about volume.”
Manaton says as long there is a demand for technology products, supermarkets will work to meet that demand. “This is supported by sales of increasing amounts of technology-based products, particularly through our Countdown supermarkets. Progressive Enterprises' purchasing power enables us to sell goods such as TVs, CD players and computer equipment at very competitive prices, and that's attractive to our customers.”
Laser is looking to introduce more computer accessories into supermarkets, says Bong. “I’m working on it at the moment. To us it’s all about selling on volume, and supermarkets know about selling volume. We’re not in the market to target certain brands, we’re here to fill a gap and we’re doing well.”