News / Site Optimisation & Design

Relaunched: The David Jones Website

David Jones homepage screenshot

After becoming known as one of Australia’s greatest e-commerce laggards, David Jones has finally released a website worth taking a thorough look at.

For an embarrassingly long period of time, the David Jones website was treated as a joke among online retailers. For a high-end department store brand, its e-commerce portal spoke little of elegance, let alone function.

As of just a few weeks ago, all of that has changed.

Following a horror sales period and the closure of its iconic Newcastle store, the C-level at David Jones decided to go all-in on an updated omnichannel strategy at the beginning of this year. This strategy involved partnering with IBM to provide an e-commerce platform on which the retailer would upload 90,000 SKUs, multiplying its original online inventory by ten.

The result of this gargantuan undertaking is the recent iteration of the David Jones website – as much alike to its previous iteration as a racing yacht is to an inflatable life raft. Clean lines, a cogent aesthetic and a healthy helping of on-trend e-commerce principles places this website streets ahead of the one that stood before it. There are some further tweaks to be made that may further improve conversions, but it’s safe to say this iteration is a vast improvement on its predecessor.

“We are delighted that we are able to launch our new online store with such a strong representation of our Australian designer brand portfolio,” says Group Executive of Merchandise for David Jones, Donna Player. “For the first time, customers anywhere in Australia will be able to access the breadth of brands you would find in one of our flagship downtown doors.”

Of course, an undertaking of this scale and speed could not occur without developing a few gremlins and the issues that can be identified on David Jones’s new site can be squarely blamed on human error, with perhaps a few performance issues thrown into the mix. Developing content and copy for tens of thousands of SKUs in six or so months is no easy task, and so it’s no surprise a few hitches have developed.

These errors include issues with sorting products (sometimes they take a long time to re-assort, or they just won’t at all), mislabelled items and identifying stock levels (which can result in the odd error message when selecting an item to be placed in the cart). David Jones also seems to be working through a number of SEO-related issues, as some pages and tags continue to display generic information.

However, the most glaring of these issues are the mislabelled items, which can result in poor customer feedback as well as negatively influencing conversions. During our initial appraisal, we discovered the following example within five minutes of visiting the site:

Mislabelled fragrances on the David Jones website.

Spot the difference: the price of these two items has been miscommunicated in the process of uploading their SKUs to the David Jones website.

Taken on its own, this error isn’t exactly catastrophic. However, it isn’t the only example lurking on the new website and the e-commerce team is sure to be working very hard over the coming weeks to rectify anything that is pointed out. It’s safe to say that by the time you read this, many problems will have already been eliminated.

Overall, this release from David Jones demonstrates just how far the retailer has come, revealing a true dedication to an omnichannel future. While problems still abound, the retailer has proven that it understands the online space by embracing the ‘don’t let perfect stand in the way of good’ ethos, which also encompasses the ‘fail, but fail fast’ principle of e-commerce.

David Jones now has an opportunity to test its new offering, analyse feedback and continue to improve. It will be interesting to see how this offering evolves further in the coming months.

What do you think about the new David Jones website? Have your say in the comments section below this article.

10 Comments

  • I am sure the team worked hard to create it & who knows what their constraints were. But for my money there is way too much below the fold – and I doesn’t do a good job of communicating the DJs difference.

    Ultimately it will be how the site is used – and I haven’t done that. Yet.

    Reply
  • It is a vast improvement over what they had before but it is still pretty ordinary really. I would not call it an enterprise level deployment. Some menu items come as as blank but still have headings, search delivers some really strange results and is so slow. There are areas where some content words seems to be duplicated like Gift Baskets. The site uses a lot of Dojo and I don’t like the top line message that comes up when you add to basket. The dark grey writing on light grey background is hard to read and I think will be a problem for anyone with poor eyesight. The checkout process requires a lot of scrolling up and down.

    With the resources that they have available I am a little surprised at the quality. I don’t subscribe to the “quick is good” or “don’t expect perfect” concept for a large retailer with a trusted brand.

    Reply
  • Snorefest! It’s flat and lifeless, bland bland bland. If you cover the logo you’d have no idea whose site it is. Where’s the personality?

    Reply
  • I agree its a better looking website for sure! Good job to DJ’s on getting this up and running. My only comment is how regular/plain it looks based on the amount of money spent with IBM. You can get all of this functionality for just a few thousand. Best of luck and hopefully the sites pushes some good sales this Christmas Season!

    Reply
  • It’s certainly an improvement, but it’s so vanilla! I get that their branding is classic and minimalist, but if you think of the flagship DJs store – and their iconic check print – none of those elements are represented. The web font is nice but a serif one would have worked better with their branding, and been less of a weird contrast with the Arial font. Readability of light grey text on light grey background is a problem, especially for older users who are one of DJ’s key demographics…

    Pluses: I do like the dropdown menus, their layout is very nice (even with the blank columns that have come up in Women’s). And I like the layout of the product pages.

    Reply
    • TM
    • 8th November

    It’s nice and clean, and has a fairly large range of their product offering, which is what I like about their stores, along with the brands. If their pricing is competitive, I’ll definitely shop! What a massive improvement from the old site, kudos to the team that worked on it!

    Reply
      • TM
      • 8th November

      p.s. I liked the iPad app with the stories and options to click and purchase items featured in them. Great integration of shopping into content.

      Reply
    • Paul Donovan
    • 9th November

    There’s frankly so much that needs to be sorted here it’s hard to know where to start. Do you have search on this site I wondered? I had to work hard to find out you do, search is almost hidden in the top right hand corner. Why? You have a mass of real estate to the right of “David Jones”, that’s where it should be front and center so it’s obvious, it would probably be the most used area of your web site as it is for most ecommerce web sites. Have you actually tried searching for something? It’s woeful in terms of speed and results. It takes over 30 seconds, in some cases longer to get any results back – try searching for Paul Smith for example. There’s only 176 items related to Paul Smith in some way, but it takes the better part of a minute to get the results back. Hey, guess what I’m gone in that time, gone somewhere else because frankly that’s ridiculous. Let’s take a look at the results that get returned, hmmm, the first one, which should be what, you tell me, that’s a book by Peter FitzSimons – what on earth has this to do with Paul Smith?? Oh hang on I see, it’s got the word Smith in the title, but this comes up first. You have brand selection on the left hand side as a drop down filter, why when I search are you not firstly doing a brand match to see if what I entered does an exact match to a brand and if so then display that? The order of the brands on that filter by the way seems to be random to me, perhaps by popularity, but that wouldn’t make sense there are 4 Paul Smith “brands”. That’s going to make it really hard when I’m searching for a Paul Smith product using these links to find what I want, looks to me like you haven’t sorted out your product hierarchy yet.
    While we’re on the product results page please tell me, why does your sort filter have the options “product first” and “non-product first”. What is a “non-product” is this something you actually sell, non products?? You also have the options “newest” and “oldest”, I’m going to be pedantic here, because people will wonder, what is an “oldest” product and why would I want to sort by this? The sorting btw doesn’t change the order of the results, so doesn’t appear to be working.
    There is as I said a lot that needs work, I haven’t the time to go into everything here, but I’ll list a few things quickly:
    – I spent ages trying to find out how I return something and struck out, it’s got to be one of the most critical considerations when I’m buying clothes, how do I return it if it doesn’t fit or I don’t like it, this info needs to be on and/or linked from every page, in the footer for example and close to the CTA on product pages and in the checkout. You should be aiming to emulate Nordstrom and look what you’ll find when you search for them online “Nordstrom… free returns. All the Time” – they get it
    – Your online store will drive traffic to stores but it would do that so much better if you had features like store inventory online and click and collect. These are easy to do, particularly store inventory if you don’t do C&C (which will require a lot of involvement from store operations)
    – The article mentions free shipping not being highlighted, as soon as you delve into the site, search results, product pages it’s not there – this is a critical call to action, you know the number 1 barrier to purchase online is shipping charges, given people may be arriving at your site from SEO/other links the message needs to be everywhere. And btw why is this only going until 14 December? There’s plenty of other ways to push people into stores once past Aus Post’s last date for Christmas delivery. Online should either be free all the time or when you spend $x as an incentive to increase basket size. Do you know how much a product you sell instore costs to get there (add up logistics, store costs, employee costs, etc.) and you’ll get an idea – stuff sold from your warehouse doesn’t incur these store costs, so do you discount that off your online prices that sell straight from your DC?
    – Details, details, details – you don’t do this well at present and it speaks volumes to me about your approach to your web site, it just feels so rushed;
    o On Chrome & IE the “Brands” link in your mega menu doesn’t work
    o In the create an account page it says “Complete the field to create your new account” – I hate typos, more to the point I find them inexcusable, you don’t have that many non-merched/search pages to check now
    o Why when I search for “Summer Fashion Basics” do I get over 2,800 products when your merched page has 43, search should find the merched page
    o When I move the cursor just below “Sign In” the shopping basket comes up
    o There’s plenty, plenty more…
    This site does not inspire me, it looks like a work in progress and it shouldn’t be, you should have taken the time to present something that can stand up in the market rather than rush out something that just ticked the box that said DJs does online so your CEO can say it’s done at the next shareholders’ conference, and btw shareholders this has little chance in its current form against the likes of ASOS, Nordstrom, Amazon, DJ FAIL.

    Reply
    • You should send them an invoice for testing and quality assurance:-)

      Reply
    • James
    • 21st February

    Had a quick peek at a mens suit campaign DJ’s are currently running, it appears the title tags still have dummy text in them….Kennedy Wool Suit | StoreName… Nice

    MREC links to a catalogue with no pricing and way too many clicks to purchase.

    Reply

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