Carphone Warehouse and Dixons merger won't beat internet
Could the £3.8bn merger of Carphone Warehouse and Dixons – to create Dixons Carphone – save the hides of both ailing retailers, and lead to a long and happy conjugal corporate life?
A strong and confident strategy will be needed from those who do not fool themselves how drastically the retail landscape has changed since both businesses were founded – in 1989 for Carphone Warehouse, and 1937 for Dixons.
Anecdotes abound online of the failings of staff at Dixons, which owns Currys and PC World, to inform customers about technology and which is the best gadget to buy for your own purposes.
But the new entity hopes to present a one-stop shop to punters, where you can pick up smartphones, tablets and big-ticket goods like fridges and boilers, as well as your home broadband.
It sounds very modern yet also old-fashioned, because do we really need such stores to sell us our technology?
Many people who are truly in thrall to gadgets now buy them online instead of going near the high street, and instead of relying on the occassionally patchy knowledge of a shop assistant, they can turn anew to the internet for information.
YouTube is filled with instructional videos by diehard experts in gadgets, who are only too eager to pass on their hard-won knowledge of how to get the most out of your new camera, for example.
Their encyclopedic, first-hand knowledge cannot compete with the jack-of-all trades in an ordinary retailer, who possesses a smattering of knowledge of all types of gadgets.
Arguably, the rise of such videos could encourage the re-emergence of very specialist shops staffed by true aficionados.