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E-commerce

David Jones returns to ecommerce

David Jones has rejoined the world of ecommerce after briefly testing the waters in this area a few years ago. The new site according to David Jones CEO Paul Zahra has been launched with over 1,500 products,from beauty supplies, perfumes and colognes, women’s and men’s accessories, toys, homewares and books to apparel and small appliances. The site launch has been timed to coincide with Christmas, so as to reap the benefits of increased consumer shopping prior to Christmas. There is a claim that all orders will be shipped in a day, and gift wrapping options are available.

Within days of launch of the site there has been some harsh commentary about what features the site lacks. What’s important though is that David Jones has actually launched an ecommerce enabled site in a channel that has been shyed away from by all the big retailers (except for Big W which launched a few months ago). Anyone that has started an ecommerce business  will know the issues that have to be faced in getting the look and feel of the site right, managing content, warehousing, backend systems and order fullfilment and a myriad of other things. It’s easy to be an armchair critic and comment on the features that are missing on the site, which will come in time. What everyone in the online space should be saying is; “well done and welcome to the online space”. Every succesful online retailer welcomes with open arms, national retail players, as this helps grow the online customer base for all.

In doing a quick review of the site, the David Jones trademark black is omnipresent, and there is a very clear invitation to shop online, which would be a welcome surprise to regular vistors. Offers of swift delivery, an “excellent” returns policy and gift wrapping are clearly visble on the main page. Navigation is simple and its relatively easy to move through the site. The site offers all the basics that are required for an ecommerce site and nothing more. It was a bit surprising to see an inner page  scrollbar, this is a remnant of the early ecommerce sites.The shopping cart does its job, there is no upsell at checkout. It was intriguing to see the option to ship different items in the cart to different recipients. I chose five items and had to manually choose my home address for each item – bizarre yet I guess this could be useful if shopping for the family in one go. I then wanted to go back and continue shopping. I could not see a return to shopping icon, so I clicked back on the browser and.. oh dear, I had to reselect the delivery address again for each item! I must admit I did like the option to delay the order being send within a day, and an option to schedule a delivery date.

It is very possible that the ecommerce team had to work hard to provide something to the management and board that was understandable and not over the top with features, bells and whistles, and would make sense to a conservative management and board. From experience bricks and mortar retailers always make the first mistake of applying their knowledge of retailing to the online space. Instead of taking a step back and asking those in the know (pureplay online retailers) how to tackle this space. The project management team was in all likelihood, the meat in the sandwich as such, espousing ecommerce best practice and having to come up with compromises to meet the requirements of management. It happens time and again with most bricks and mortar businesses wanting to go online.

In summary this is a basic site with ecommerce features enabling David Jones shoppers to order products online. A good effort simply by having an ecommerce presence prior to Christmas and for this David Jones management should be applauded and now; listen to the wise words of those in the industry, and more importantly listen to your online customers. They are more savvy than you think and they will tell you what your site is missing. You should already be planning the next version of your site.

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