The news that five large electronics manufacturers have been accused of dual pricing by the Interactive Media in Ret-ail Group (IMRG) has been met with a mixed reaction from the channel.
Dual pricing is a mechanism recently introduced by electrical consumer goods manufacturers whereby online resellers pay more for wholesale goods than high street retailers.
IMRG is believed to be calling for urgent talks with Sony, Panasonic, Philips, Hitachi and Sharp. However, all five were unavailable for comment.
In a statement, IMRG said it recognised the complexity of the arguments for and against dual pricing, but it intended to ensure that any such practices, should they persist, are lawful and not unduly prejudicial to smaller online retailers.
“IMRG will, in cooperation with the Office of Fair Trading and European Commission, establish a process whereby the implications of dual pricing can be fully assessed, with a view to establishing principles and trading guidelines, in order to optimise e-retailing’s sustainable commercial development. All relevant parties, including manufacturers, will be invited to participate in and contribute to the IMRG input to this process,” the statement said.
Jonathan Wall, EMEA marketing director at e-tailer dabs.com, said: “All consumer electronics manufacturers have preferential terms for high street retailers, but it is totally unfair that online retailers have to pay more than high street stores. Price variations should only be done on volumes.”
However, Darren Lewitt, divisional director at distributor Midwich, welcomed dual pricing. “The reason behind the different pricing terms is to keep people in business.
“Manufacturers want people selling again not just acting as fulfilment agents. All the electronic manufacturers have done is change their discount structure for consumer goods, which I know a lot of people in the channel would welcome happening on business products,” he said.
David Gould, trading director of PC World Business, added: “We have the same prices for online customers as we do instore – we don’t differentiate. Most high-street retailers have a web presence as well so most wouldn’t qualify for the special rates with manufacturers.”
Vendor's announcements include AI-powered Microsoft Office, a move away from password verification and an alliance with Adobe and SAP
Vendor claims hackers are hijacking machines to mine for cryptocurrency
Nearly half of SMBs are planning to invest in digital workflows to reduce their paper-based processes by 2025, according to Quocirca
The charter has pulled together the biggest names in tech in an unprecedented attempt to address the tech industry's lack of diversity. Tom Wright asks how it plans to do it