Battlelines have been drawn, and covert operative Miss Terry Shopper goes deep behind lines for the ultimate e-commerce showdown – David Jones versus Myer. Tragically, there aren’t any winners here, except overseas retailers.
Let’s face it – it was only a matter of time before I weighed in on the debate surrounding David Jones’ second foray into online shopping. But rather than brazenly bag the site, I decided to see how it held up next to the e-commerce site of its number one bricks and mortar enemy…Myer!
I am in the market for a swim suit, and keen to check out Megan Gale’s Isola range sold by David Jones and Jen Hawkin’s brand Cozi, which of course is stocked by Myer. So now is as good as time as any to test Australia’s two leading department stores’ online skills.
Wow – did somebody die? The Death March starts playing in my head as I begin to navigate the doom and gloom that greets me. Megan Gale’s smile even manages to look apologetic and consoling, like she’s about to pat me on the back and tell me everything will be alright. Maybe she knows what I am about to get myself into and maybe she is really sorry.
With Isola in mind, I immediately go to the top right hand corner to the site search…or at least to where it should be. I am so accustomed to doing this on any site I shop at, that it takes a second to register it’s not there, nor is it anywhere to be found on the David Jones’ site. What? “1500 products online”, the sites boasts…and you expect me to scroll through every single item to find what I want? Or is this a new method of cross selling?
Eventually accessing the brand through the menus, it’s disappointing to see not even half of the Isola range is available to buy, online. In fact, what’s available is probably the blandest mix of the entire collection – just boring block colours and no prints. The site has two scroll bars on it – frustrating – and the brands aren’t separated. It’s only later on, during the check out process, I find my swim suit of choice belongs to another designer altogether – I’d scrolled onto an entirely different brand!
When selecting a size, there is absolutely no product information nor sizing information to be found. However, useless information is readily available on gift wrapping, gift cards, how to order online, and even something on the benefits of shopping online – well duh, I’m here aren’t I and so far none of the benefits I’m accustomed to have been afforded me.
There is however, a suggestive sell under the guise of ‘products I may like’, but even this is a strange combination, without much relevance. I am buying bathers, so why suggest a leather wedge shoe clearly not suitable for either the beach or poolside, rather than a beach towel?
I browse the site some more, but am put off by all the clicking and scrolling in order to find specific brands and products. Time to check out. Again I look for the shopping trolley in the top right hand corner. I find the DJs logo instead. Clicking this will take you back to the landing page. I enter the online store again and have a Pauline Hanson ‘Shopping trolley. Gone’ moment.
Finally, I realise a black bag that blends into the black background, placed sort of in the vicinity of the top right corner of the site, is the check out. It’s only made more confusing by the fact it’s in a boxed area headed with a large ‘WELCOME’ placed next to the shopping bag – to me, this says “Let’s go shopping’ and not ‘let’s check out’. It’s also odd that the text for check out is in grey, which is again lost in the dark background. When online shopping, one wants to easily gloss over a site, find defining and recognisable global online shopping icons, and feel comfortable an online retailer knows what it’s doing and can deliver.
I do have to give DJs kudos for the three levels of check out that are offered – returning customer, new customer and guest check out, although the only visible option is returning customer and the rest is hidden beneath the fold. Gift wrapping, swift delivery and returns policies are also readily available throughout check out. At least I thought they were – turns out this is just text. Would be great if this linked back to some information, considering check out time is when most consumers have these kinds of queries.
Delivery information does become available, although it’s not in an obvious position. A flat delivery fee is charged, which will be great for those who buy up big, and delivery is promised to be dispatched the next business day. I also have the option of changing the delivery date if I need to.
Next step – gift wrapping. I’m not sure why gift wrapping has to be a step in the check out process. Shouldn’t it just be an option to tick when filling out other delivery details? This is one extra click DJs could do without, particularly when something like an easily accessible returns policy would fare much better.
I enter in credit card details and get my confirmation. I wonder how Megan Gale will feel knowing I went online to specifically purchase from her range, only for the DJs site design to get in the way and sell me a swimsuit from another brand altogether?
Surprisingly, the page renders well in the iPad. What I mean by that, it looks exactly how it does on my Mac browser. At least that’s consistent. I start checking out bathing products and this is where it comes to a crashing halt. I am unable to physically scroll through the products. The page simply ends with cut off product images.
DJs, I can’t be bothered anymore. Fail.
I thought David Jones would have cause to celebrate its website launch with fanfare, gusto, colour, and cheer – or at least make it look like some dosh was spent – considering that lawsuit was settled, with an extra $36 mil still in the back pocket. Instead, I can’t help but feel as though I’ve been blindfolded, lead into a dark cave, spun around a few times and then unmasked and left alone to fight my way out.
Where am I? Myer is white, bright and light. The stark contrast from the DJs site makes me reach for my sunglasses. And what’s this? Hark the herald, Jen Hawkins is an angel and I feel like I have been saved – although, I will put the skids on now. I’ve been looking forward to my Myer experience about as much as being shot in the foot. Last time I dared venture on to Myer’s excuse for an e-commerce site, it was all gifts and no guts. In fact I am not even sure I can buy Cozi online from the retailer.
From the outset, it’s not looking good. Again, ‘gifts’ are the only item visible for purchase online. And why oh why do Australian retailers insist on putting catalogues online? It’s outdated and shows no creativity or offers anything to ease the customer experience. Why not list product online and utilise site search?
I’m about to close off the site altogether when I realise there is a tonne of information below the fold. So I scroll and scroll, and right at the VERY bottom, lies “More from Myer” with a Swim Shop underneath it. Again, why do retailers ignore the fold? If you have something important to share with potential consumers, get all above the fold – and test it in different browsers to see how it translates. I’d have much preferred to have this Swim Shop button clearly visible on the landing page over an angelic Jen Hawkins. Interestingly, Myer places a whole lot of information including guides on Christmas events and planning, as well as Facebook and social media information, before it offers up its Swim Shop. BIZARRE!
I click on the Swim Shop option, only to be brought to another page where I must click the option again.
Finally I feel like I am in an online store! There is a product search where it should be and product with prices. So why did it take me two clicks to get here? The landing page gives no easily identifiable factors that this site is indeed set up for e-commerce, like this one does.
I spy the “Your Cart” details – however this is not embellished with a shopping cart or shopping bag symbol and is easily overlooked.
Although Cozi is the first range listed, I still go for the product search and get all of the results I need. What I don’t understand is the first bathing suit I spied on the Swim Shop landing page – the swim suit positioned in the top left of the image, clearly identified as Cozi – does not come up in the search. Makes me wonder what else I am missing out on. Jen are you reading this? You might be losing out on sales too! I go back to the landing page and select the first bathing suit.
Myer also suggests other products I might like, which are relevant – i.e. other once piece swim suits. There is some social media interaction too, via Facebook feedback, indicating four others like this product, but really some product reviews would be better.
Again, there is no sizing information, and delivery and shipping information lies below the fold. I am very surprised to learn shipping will take five to seven working days – so remember to add that weekend on and it blows out. Looks like Myer is snoozing on the fulfilment front. Here’s an idea: express post me my togs and I can get them in two days and for about $4 cheaper!
I can’t find any return policy information either. This I need considering there is no sizing information, which increases the likelihood I will have to return or swap the item.
I add the swimmers to my cart and check out. There are no different check out options. When I enter card details, I’m given a chance to opt in to receive Myer emails but no opt in to become a member which would eliminate time during the check process if I returned.
Myer on the iPad
Please look at this image and please tell me where to shop.
Enough said. Well nearly. I chose to view the full site via the iPad and was pleasantly surprised to see the full landing page download above the fold. Sort of. The entire “More Myer” section was missing, along with the Swim Shop.
While I got off to a good start, it didn’t last long. Myer shouldn’t make consumers landing on its site seek out the available shopping. That should be obvious. I feel the site misses the mark of what it means to be an e-commerce site completely. Don’t get me wrong – the extra information is great, and it’s good to see this content changes too. However, this information should supplement the purchasing and not the other way around. It’s almost like Myer considers shopping on its site as a secondary option.
Myer came out in front for me, but only just. This was mainly because the site was a lot easier to read (no black or grey on black!) and also had a (albeit limited) site search.
However, both David Jones and Myer leave a lot to be desired in the customer experience stakes. While there is brand image to think about, making an online shopping experience convenient, simple and easy to use doesn’t mean this needs to be compromised. Look at Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys, and Bloomingdales. The only vibe I get from both the DJs and Myer sites is that both department stores are a tad out of touch with the real world and the consumer of today.
Offering online shopping isn’t a unique, exclusive point of difference. Online shopping is a way of life. If neither of these big name stores can keep up with the digital age, consumers won’t even be bothered to think “I’ll just go in store to buy that” – they will simply click elsewhere and purchase there.
What do you think?