Australian businesses are doing it tough, so why aren’t we doing more to help? 76

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Things haven’t been easy for Australian businesses lately. Dick Smith was forced to close its doors for good after failing to dig itself out of financial woes, homewares brand Laura Ashley Australia went into administration, and Woolworths posted a huge profit loss and announced its hardware chain experiment Masters to be a colossal failure.

The list doesn’t end there unfortunately. In recent years we have seen the closure of electrical company Clive Peeters, the diminishing presence of Retravision around the country, and one of our biggest retailers Myer post huge profit losses.

But why are so many Aussie businesses doing it so tough?

Woolworths has copped a lot of bad press with customers posting their dissatisfaction with service and products all over social media. Likewise, Masters suffered from similar allegations of poor customer service driving people out of the store.

On the other end of the spectrum though is Dick Smith, whose namesake and former owner is revered across the country for his commitment to Australian-made products and a vast array of charity work.

Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to save the business he began all those years ago, with many customers choosing cheaper alternatives instead.

So who, if anyone, is to blame for the current state of Australian businesses?

Despite numerous campaigns to encourage people to buy Australian-made products, shoppers are more often than not tied to the dollar and if Aussie-made products are more expensive they are forced to go with the cheaper and foreign option.

Does this mean they contributed to the failure of Aussie brands and are partly to blame for their closure and profit losses?

On the other side of the argument are people who say Australian businesses have shot themselves in the foot by failing to deliver the best products and service to their customers.

Walk into Myer these days and you’ll often be left standing there for over 5 minutes waiting for a sales assistant to help you. Is it any wonder shoppers head elsewhere for similar products and better service?

Similarly, Woolworths has recently faced backlash, but this time over products that have been sold mouldy, rotten, or even with a giant spider in them.

While there doesn’t seem to be a clear answer on this argument, we’d like to know your opinion on this issue.

Why do you think Aussie businesses are doing it so tough?

Should we commit ourselves to shopping Australian owned and made? Or, is it the businesses’ fault for not providing competitive pricing and good customer service?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I have always tried to support Australian made goods and food. I feel sorry for them trying to compete with the Asian markets,it’s pretty impossible and I don’t know how we can rectify that! I would hate to see our workers treated like slave labour and paid next to nothing. Then there is the other issue of management being out of touch with the customers needs,like lack of customer service or just not supplying the customers needs. We won’t even mention what management gets paid to mismanage.So in the end we are left dissatisfied and just do the best we can.

  2. Australian business is too often to blame for its own shortcomings. CEOs get paid millions while cutting jobs in service areas. Service is often poor or non existant, the range of goods limited and often very much dearer than overseas. I do look for Australian goods but I won’t necessarily pick them if they aren’t at least as good as the foreign product. In Australia too often business has the attitude this is what we want to make the customer should buy it, rather than this is what the customer wants we should make it. Our car industry was an example. I don’t think local companies show any loyalty to Australia, they’ll source their ingredients or components overseas, have call centres overseas and manufacture overseas so I’m not sure why we should go out of our way to support them.

    1 REPLY
    • Well said. The trouble is it is hard to find Australian made products. Another factor is lack of money, people are sticking to budgets, especially young families buying a home, renting and day to day living which leaves little for luxuries.

  3. Big businesses that have well paid CEOs and understaff their stores have only themselves to blame for customers going elsewhere. I will go out of my way to shop at small businesses that employ a few local staff and where the owners work long hours.

  4. What about all the cheep rubbish flooding our markets from China & thanks to the Unions for Aussies high wages a lot of our products are made off shore because it’s too expensive to be made here anymore

    9 REPLY
    • Dianne Morgan the wages reflect the high cost of living in this country, it also works both ways, when companies source everything from overseas because they don’t want to pay workers a decent wage to manufacture goods in this country, they buy cheap garbage, and you get what you pay for. 🇦🇺🇦🇺

    • Why should anyone who works for their living still be poor, unable to pay rent or feed their families. Wages reflect the cost of living in Australia. Thanks to unions we have shorter working week, health and safety, wages that for most workers enable them to survive.

    • People who knock Unions give me the pip because, in the main, without Unions the big bosses would be richer whilst the workers would be poorer….and conditions would probably be terrible. At the moment inflation and the cost of living seems to be outstripping wages, so no wonder people can’t afford to shop at big stores. Their CEOs should take a decrease in their exorbitant salaries.

    • Don’t start on about Unions..I worked for two unions many many years ago and I know first hand about all their illegal, dodgy, greedy actions. Pretending to be for the worker.

    • Get ready for more cheap imports with the FTA with China. The Chinese can also bring in their own workers for any projects they have going, eg mining and farming. I hope your family can live on $7 an hour Dianne, because that’s what anyone who wants to work will be paid because they’ll be competing for jobs with the Chinese workers. I know you won’t ask the unions for help then will you, because you hate unions

    • Suzanne Oorschot Well there’s the generalisations, where’s the proof? And if you have an 8 hour day, time in lieu, holiday pay loading thatn unions

    • Suzanne Oorschot I worked for an Industrial Relations Manager of a large Company and oh boy did they do some dodgy deals to get out of paying higher wages etc. They ALL do it. It is dog eat dog. This goes for politics, business and unions.

    • Any products that I have either purchased in China or bought here that were made in China have always been first class. A freind of mine recently bought an Electric kettle and said to me it was Australian made, that it was a Sunbeam. He wouldn’t believe me when I told him that it was made in China until he saw it on the box.

  5. I try to buy Australian made all the time but it gets harder when less and less is being made here, try buying Australian canned tuna

    2 REPLY
    • I don’t buy tuna any more, with the misleading labelling you can’t be sure what you are buying. 🇦🇺

    • Exactly most of it comes from Asian countries. We have tuna farms here but can’t buy it, I haven’t had it since getting food poisoning several years ago

  6. This is a direct result of the ‘austerity’ budgets we are currently enduring. Business can’t thrive when people have no money to spend. Add to that the various ‘trade deals’ that sell local businesses short while opening our doors to cheap foreign produce and you have a recipe for disaster. Well done LNP, you are ruining Australia.

  7. The economy never got up much headway after the GFC & although the Labor government got us through that pretty effectively, our economy is still tied to the markets & financial slow downs in the rest of the world, where things are much the same. We now have a government at a loss to cope with an economy that isn’t based on a mining boom, even though this was inevitable & entirely predictable. Retail markets have changed rapidly in recent years & those unable to adapt will dwindle & fail. Personally, I always prefer to buy OZ produce because of the quality, but for other products, our small economy means that it’s often difficult to compete on the scale necessary to maintain a place in OS markets. At an individual level, there’s bugger all we can do, except do the best we can.

  8. We are being flooded with goods made overseas and how many major retailers have set up shop here in the past few years. The government allowed this people shop there, they do employ Aussies but the profit goes back overseas, please don’t complain about it, it’s too late. 😩🇦🇺👎

  9. The $$$ is the main culprit. Many Aus manufacturers use O/S ingredients in their products because it is cheaper. And Aus products are more expensive than their Asian counterparts.
    Maybe we have priced ourselves out of the market, seeking higher profits.
    Service has become non existent in just about every way. Self serve has become a way of life and I find I can go shopping and come home without the product I want because I can’t reach it or I can’t find it and there is no-one to ask for it.
    And my pet hate, is standing forever in a queue just so I can pay.
    In this age of technology, we are spending more time standing in line, or waiting on the phone. I have even had a checkout line close up with people still waiting. No apology, and when the boys were small, I have more than once left my shopping behind as the queues were so slow and I had to pick them up from school.
    I have always tried to buy Australian made, but the quality of affordable clothing often leaves a lot to be desired. The only thing I make sure to buy Australian made is fresh food.
    And I never buy packaged fresh foods. I go to a butcher who owns his own farm and a green grocer I have been going to for ever. Both give good service and quality, and always tell us if the product is not Australian grown.

    2 REPLY
    • I totally agree with you. As far as decent affordable clothing is concerned, there is none. The profit margin is huge and I definitely can’t afford to buy them. Maybe if they lowered the price a bit they would sell more. I would prefer to buy at the Op shop rather than be ripped off big time for overpriced rubbish.

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