Australian tech giant JB Hi-Fi unveils new initiatives for

igger, bulkier items online, JB Hi-Fi’s online sales also jumped 52.8 per cent, to AU$1.6 billion, representing 17.6 per cent of total sales. 

And while customers are becoming increasingly picky with where they spend their money, CEO Terry Smart said JB’s business is strong due to its position as a reputable, budget-friendly retailer popular with younger Australians – as well as the growing reliance on technology in everyday life. 

“The tech categories, like phones and computers, are very much so integrated into our customers’ lives these days, and they’re no longer a ‘discretionary’ purchase – they’re a must-have for a lot of consumers. We’ve definitely seen [those purchases] become less discretionary as time goes on,” Smart said. 

Another advantage is that while many of the business’ products have had price increases of around 5 to 10 per cent, electronic devices tend to last a relatively long time between purchases, so customers haven’t really noticed.

And while the business’ past year was fairly impressive, Smart flagged a number of upcoming initiatives that could set JB Hi-Fi up for an even stronger FY23.

Firstly, the business is investing in and will soon launch a delivery partnership with Uber to allow roughly 90-minute, same-day deliveries. It isn’t clear if the service will have product category limitations, but it will exist alongside JB’s next-day and standard delivery options.

In its stores, JB Hi-Fi will aim to improve the speed of its click-and-collect option to one hour, meaning customers will be able to pick up items more quickly after placing an order.

Additionally, JB will invest in a new home delivery centre that will house and deliver bigger, bulkier goods. It isn’t yet clear where it will be located.

A focus on serving businesses

JB Hi-Fi is also planning to split its commercial operations into three distinct channels – tentatively titled JB Hi-Fi Business, JB Hi-Fi Education, and The Good Guys Commercial – along with a dedicated commercial telecommunications channel.

Through these channels, JB Hi-Fi is expected to step up its focus on serving enterprise customers, as well as providing technology options for education providers around the country.

“Commercial continues to be a focus for us, and now it’s about sending our commercial operations to the next phase of growth,” Smart said. 

“The team has done a great job restructuring the business to allow these three key [channels]. We are repositioning [and] evolving the offer to align much more clearly with the brand.”

Alongside the three new channels will be a commercial-focused e-commerce portal that will aim to provide an “improved user experience” for commercial customers, from onboarding a new order to fulfilment, and make it easier for small to medium-sized businesses to use its services. 

A focus on small businesses seems to be a growing trend among certain retailers, with Ikea and Woolworths also having recently launched their own offers to reach small businesses.

ESG ramping up

Last year, JB Hi-Fi made a number of commitments to improving the sustainability of its business – both environmentally and socially. 

In an effort to reach net-zero scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030, JB Hi-Fi fitted out 15 of its 199 Australian stores with solar panels in FY22, and has another 10 ready for installation. The business also completed a number of carbon assessments to determine further reduction initiatives. 

JB has also worked with suppliers to create a more ethical supply chain, providing feedback where necessary. The business has halved its use of plastic bags since FY20.

The business has also continued its focus on creating a safe and diverse workplace for all staff, following a damning report in 2021 that alleged the vast majority of its workers surveyed (83 per cent) had experienced at least one form of gendered harassment during their employment.

Over half of the retailer’s staff had received unwelcome advances, including touching, while 81 per cent had caught fellow staff or customers staring or leering at them.

To improve culture across its workplaces, JB Hi-Fi kicked off its ‘Speak Up’ initiative this year, which encourages team members to bring forward any concerns relating to inclusion, respect, and safety in the workplace. Additionally, JB Hi-Fi extended its parental leave policy to cover parents regardless of gender, rather than covering only mothers, and doubled the period of support available from six weeks to 12 weeks.