David Jones announces intentions to improve online retail

By Grant Arnott | 25 Mar 2011

CEO Paul Zahra announces “more singing, more dancing” in the future of David Jones’ much-maligned e-commerce website.

It seems the much-maligned David Jones e-commerce store is set for some genuine attention from the flagship retailer in the coming years.

Speaking to the media, CEO Paul Zahra admitted the site is “certainly not best practice” and that they are working on a strategic solution. David Jones has been heavily criticised by myself and many other readers of Power Retail as an online laggard – its foray back into the online retail space after many years off was met with ridicule last year.

But I applaud the common sense now of David Jones’ management to publicly recognise the importance of multichannel in its future, even if they are coming to the party late.

“We prefer to be the tortoise rather than the hare and actually learn from other people’s mistakes before we go and invest heavily,” Mr Zahra said. “But we do see the opportunity there.”

“We plan for [the David Jones e-commerce store] to give us more functionality and a more singing, more dancing outcome, but at this point it’s a basic system.”

David Jones’ strategic plan for the years between fiscal 2013 and fiscal 2016 will be announced in calendar 2012. The company stressed it’s eager to become a multichannel retailer in the mid-term.

“Ultimately, we will compete where people are shopping for the promise in our brand from a gifting perspective and ease of return and ease of distribution, so we think we’ll win on that particular path and we’re fairly pleased with our current online business.”

When pressed, Zahra said the company “probably should have started (online retailing) a little earlier”.

“At the end of the day, we’re in the space,” he said.

“It’s still fairly new for most retailers and we’re learning as quickly as we possibly can, but we want to make sure we make the right decisions from a shareholder perspective.”

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