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Australian store charges customers a $5 'just looking' fee

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#1 +techbeck

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 15:12

A speciality food store in Brisbane, Australia is charging visitors a $5 AUD (roughly $5.25) in an effort to stop them from "showrooming." Celiac Supplies, which describes itself as "Brisbane's only glutenfree and wheatfree store," became internet famous yesterday when a Redditor posted an image of a sign announcing the policy. The Australian Associated Press tracked down the store owner, who said that she was forced to put up the sign after spending "hours each week" giving advice to people only to see them leave and buy a similar product elsewhere. "I'm not here to dispense a charity service for [large supermarkets] to make more money." Customers will apparently be refunded the $5 charge on making a purchase.

A fairly new term, showrooming describes shoppers that examine a product in-store before looking online to find the same item cheaper. Although no US stores (that we know of, at least) are levying a tax on perusers, some retailers have implemented new policies to try and keep their customers loyal. Best Buy introduced an internet-price-matching offer and free delivery on out-of-stock items for the holiday season, and last month decided that it would keep the offer in place, declaring the deal "the end of showrooming."

http://www.theverge.com/2013/3/26/4148564/australian-store-charges-customers-a-5-just-looking-fee-in-bid-stop


#2 MikeChipshop

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 15:29

Fair play, not sure how it'll pan out for them but we all know there's a little bit of marketing at play here.

#3 +Nik L

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 15:33

I have no problem with this!

#4 .Neo

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 19:06

I honestly wonder how this will hold up in a courtroom.

#5 CJEric

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 19:12

I actually think that's a fairly sensible idea.

#6 +Nik L

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 19:16

Should stand up just fine in court. It's going to be down as an entrance fee if she genuinely charges it "to browse", but I'd suggest she would be better off charging it for her "consultation fee"...

#7 ShareShiz

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 19:16

Glutenfree. I LOLed.

My friend works at a glutenfree store. They charge ~$10 for a box of cereal. I'll buy my cereal for $2 a box thank you very much.

#8 articuno1au

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 19:17

I honestly wonder how this will hold up in a courtroom.

Over here? Perfectly fine as she is selling a service.

Only issue she would have is that she must pay GST :p

I think she would be better off trying to win customers by better customer service. I'd be one of the ones who would straight up leave if I saw the sign.

She'd also struggle to enforce this. If she demanded the $5 from me, I'd grin and wonder out the door. It's a written agreement. She can only enforce it if she can demonstrate costs to the court (she'd have to sue to enforce it), and the court would toss it out as it's $5 and a waste of their time >.<

#9 jakem1

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 19:18

This has been going on in Australia for a couple of years now.

#10 shakey

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 19:22

First rule of business is to do what it takes to get customers into the store and looking at the product. If people are not buying from that store, then there is something THAT store is not doing correctly. Maybe lower prices, raise customer service, or do some promotions. Nickel and diming customers only goes so far.
If she thinks her store can do such a thing and still profit, she is of course able to try it.
But IMHO, this is a tactic that will only backfire on them.
The business I bought out was doing horrible. Storage can be pretty competitive. The property was making at most, 22K a month. They were spending a thousand or few a month on advertising as well. I don't spend anything on advertising, and through customer service and correct promoting, have boosted this property now up to 34K a month.
But those with little business insight will just try and nickel and dime their way through business. A good business though knows how to bring in revenue, without having to resort to tactics such as this.

#11 +Aheer.R.S.

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 19:24

I agree, now that I read the post, fair enough, she is a business afterall, and like all businesses, needs to make money in order to stay in business, if 'customers' were actually buying from her store after recieving her advice, she wouldn't have needed to do so.

#12 Geoffrey B.

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 19:26

at least they deduct it from the price of any product you purchase which is nice.

#13 Hurricane Andrew

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 19:27

All of the "warehouse club" stores in the United States (i.e. Costco, BJ's Wholesale, Sam's Club, etc) charge an annual membership fee, which ranges from $30-$40, higher for business memberships. Pretty much the same thing. No big deal.

#14 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 19:27

Bizarre. I'd never support such a business.

#15 M_Lyons10

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 19:30

I honestly wonder how this will hold up in a courtroom.


Why would it not? It's their business, not a recreation area, and they can certainly charge an admission if they so desire...

I actually think that's a fairly sensible idea.


I agree. People have no issue with wasting a company's time... As a whole, I think people need to be more respectful of other people's time. I always try to be very considerate of this when dealing with companies myself and see nothing wrong with people paying for this time if they have no intention of doing business with the company...



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