As the father of kids with an interest in science and and overseas family to buy different Australian gifts for I am personally disappointed to see the Australian Geographic retail chain close down. However, there are some interesting lessons for those of us trying to create an Omni-channel for our business or those of our clients. Based on the online presence the magazine franchise is very separate from the retail operation - a function of different ownership structures, it seems. In a practical sense, this means cross selling opportunities are drastically curtailed. I am a customer of the bricks and mortar shop and an avid reader of the Australian Geographic's facebook postings. The postings highlight some surprises in Australia's natural beauty. Yesterday for example there was a posting on the naming of a colourful Queensland spider (no, not one of the newly elected Queensland senators ;-p) after Mao's last dancer. However, in two years of following Australian Geographic on facebook and many visits to their bricks and mortar store I have never been prompted by the postings to buy product or get a discount at the shop. This failure to join the online experience with the offline one may not have sunk the company but they just must have been forgoing significant revenue opportunities which can't have helped. This is a story of how one businesst forgot to ask their followers to buy.
The Australian Geographic retail chain is set to disappear within the next year unless a new owner is found for the loss-making venture. The 67 stores which specialise in educational toys, scientific gadgets, globes and telescopes was once generating close to $50 million in sales a year but have been hit hard by competition and online retailers. Melbourne's Myer family, which founded the department store of the same name, has owned Australian Geographic since 2007 through its investment vehicle but has decided to exit the venture, according to the Australian Financial Review.