Dixons Carphone chief exec Sebastian James has told PCR that the firm is more competitive on price this year than ever before, having launched a sale to rival Amazon’s Prime Day yesterday.
James was talking to the press today during a face-to-face media briefing, following Dixons Carphone’s first full-year trading results which were announced this morning.
"I’m really pleased that customers care about our service levels and they care about our prices," he said. "And we think that if we’re going to build a long-term sustainable business, we need to be very competitive against all comers including Amazon and others. And secondly we need to be providing service which is exceptionally good.
"I think we’ve seen good progress in all of our key metrics on service this year, and we’ve also seen our price become ever more competitive this year. We still have a long way to go on service – we still make mistakes sometimes with customers and it’s hard to do, but we have to eliminate that."
He added: "We’re making progress on all those areas where we think our competitors have the edge over us, so where John Lewis has free warranty, we’ve extended our free warranty proposition and will do so again this year.
"Where other competitors have had more flexible delivery options, we’ve now brought ours into line, and of course we have our core strength which is our service in-store and our ability to show and display and explain products live face-to-face, which other competitors do not have. So we need to continue to drive that."
On Amazon’s Prime Day of deals, which ran yesterday and claimed to offer more deals than Black Friday, Dixons reacted by running its own ‘Flash Sale’ yesterday.
"You didn’t have to be a member or anything [to access the sale], James said. "It was great. It went really well, we’re pleased with it. The fact is we do really well on promotional events, we’re able to market them, we’re able to push them out to the customers and people come to us. We’re known for them – we grow market share on promotional events.
"If Amazon would like to make a new Black Friday in the middle of July, we’re thrilled."
James also reaffirmed Dixons Carphone’s intentions to stock the Apple Watch by the end of the year, but wouldn’t get too drawn into a debate over whether it will be Dixons or John Lewis that stocks it first.
"If I were a betting man, I’d say where you see the beatiful new Apple Stores, that’s where you’d see the Apple Watch next," he added.
"I’d be very startled if John Lewis got it before us, but I expect they’d say the same about us."
When asked by PCR about Ebuyer and Overclockers and their intentions to potentially open High Street stores, which could rival Dixons’ physical Currys/PC World/Carphone Warehouse stores, James said: "Best of British luck to them.
"It’s surprisingly difficult to sell tech on the High Street, particularly if you’re very small. But it’s interesting – what I think that shows is that pureplay online players who find it difficult to make money online think that the solution is to start giving customers service and displaying products in stores, and upselling and cross-selling, and fancy that – that’s what we do. And we’re very big in it."
Dixons also revealed a price comparison chart, which displays how expensive Dixons’ products are on average in comparison to four of its major rivals.
This is in terms of a percentage (so 100% would mean Dixons’ prices are on par with its competitors – anything above that would mean Dixons is more expensive than a rival and anything below 100% would mean it is cheaper than a rival). You can see the chart below:
(Competitors from left to right: Amazon, AO, Argos and John Lewis).