​Dick Smith's online business goes live on Kogan

Dick Smith is back in business, launching online in Australia and New Zealand thanks to Kogan.com.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Dick Smith's online retail business has relaunched on ecommerce retail website Kogan.com a month ahead of schedule.

The new dicksmith.com.au and dicksmith.co.nz websites were initially scheduled to begin operating from June 1, however Kogan said its team was able to build the Dick Smith platform in under two months using the existing operations and logistics infrastructure of the Kogan business.

During the period, all Dick Smith customers were contacted and given the option to have their details removed before getting transferred to Kogan, with the exception of customers who provided their information to Dick Smith after receivership on January 4, 2016, who were assured by Kogan that their details would not be disclosed.

David Shafer, executive director of Kogan.com and Dick Smith, said the relaunch of the Dick Smith online business will have the full backing of the Kogan.com business.

"Dick Smith's recent history has been disappointing for many Australians, but for millions of us, it is an iconic brand we all know and love. We will work hard to restore the faith Australians have put in the Dick Smith brand for almost 50 years.

"Our digital efficiency will help to make the latest products more affordable at Dick Smith, and rebuild the legacy of the brand as a leading destination for the latest technology.

"It is early days and we are only just getting started. We are a customer-focused business and we are here to serve our customer," he said.

The announcement comes after Kogan said it was going to acquire Dick Smith's online retail business following the electronics retailer entering into voluntary administration in early January. Dick Smith was unsuccessful in securing a funds injection from its banks after suffering financial woes on worse-than-expected sales and cash generation in December.

As a result of this, Dick Smith expects to close 363 Australian and New Zealand retail stores, which will see a total of 2,890 staff lose their jobs.

Dick Smith was sold by Woolworths for AU$94 million to private equity firm Anchorage Capital Partners in 2012. At the time, Woolworths noted that it spent AU$420 million on restructuring Dick Smith before it accelerated the process of selling it off to Anchorage. This was despite Woolworths having previously stated that Dick Smith's online presence was one of its more successful avenues for revenue.

At the time of purchase, Anchorage said it was going to support Dick Smith through additional cash investments and guarantees, and intended to keep all 325 stores, which employed 4,500 people throughout Australia and New Zealand. Anchorage also had intentions to expand the retail network.

A year later, Anchorage floated the company on the Australian share market at AU$2.20 per share, valuing it at AU$520 million.

In the same year, Dick Smith announced its adoption of Google Apps to aid communication and collaboration between its workers across Australia and New Zealand.

Linda Venables, director of IT at Dick Smith, said at the time that the use of Google products would help build a sense of community between employees and the company.

"We have been looking for ways to improve collaboration because, until now, communication in stores has been a hierarchical one-way process through the manager," she said.

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