David Jones’ new online store a let-down

By Grant Arnott | 04 Nov 2010

The new David Jones online store is up and running, but there are some fundamental flaws that put the retail giant well out of the game as far as the user experience goes. Have your say.

After a hiatus following dotcom armageddon years ago, David Jones has quietly launched a revamped online store at www.davidjones.com.au. According to the DJs media release, the site features more than 1500 products including beauty, fragrance, body care, women’s and men’s accessories, Christmas hampers, toys, homewares, books and small appliances.

The site claims all orders will be sent within one business day, with gift wrapping available and delivery within Australia. Miranda and Megan peer out from just about every page, and there is plenty of product, but a quick examination reveals some serious flaws from a usability aspect.

Miranda Kerr is a man, and a big fan of the Braun Male Shaver

Most noticeable is the lack of attention to the site search functionality and merchandising (eg. 1500 product choices and NO ON-SITE SEARCH!). Clicking onto Mens Apparel, the only filtering available is by Apparel or by Brand. An enticing link in the sidebar offers a special on Industrie shirts, but the link goes nowhere. Miranda Kerr looks alluring, but the experience is a fail and a major disappointment from the iconic retail brand.

Plenty of work for DJs to do if it wants its online store trafficked – a lot of fundamentals overlooked in the five minutes I spent browsing the site.

What are your thoughts?


32 thoughts on “David Jones’ new online store a let-down”

  1. Nigel P. says:

    The site is missing the fundamental basics of usability and design… First impressions are, its Web 1.0 🙁

  2. Tim O'Neill says:

    I agree with Grant and Nigel, the site is pretty basic and a disappointment. It has serious usability flaws which will affect their sales considerably.

    It seems like a project hampered by the technology, although that’s an assumption. It looks ‘out-of-the-box’ to me.

  3. Paul Wilson says:

    I’m not one to kick it while it’s still all shiny and new….. but…..

    1. When you click on the primary category it hides the roll over options. Seems strange that i can’t filter all products for men.

    2. In page scroll bar??????

    3. password required for guest check out? doesnt that defeat the purpose of guest checkout? and your password MUST be 4-10 characters long.

    4. Checkout looks detached from the cart and login, sign up and guest all look the same.

    5. might be me but it feels very slow.

    6. very weird checkout – personally not a fan of white text on black – i wonder how much user testing was done???

    I look forward to seeing round 2.

  4. Peter says:

    Nice to see another major player coming into the online space. Adds credibility to what we are all trying to do. Let’s not lose sight of that.

  5. Costas says:

    I think it is a reasonable start. I think it is healthy they have gone live with an eCommerce presence. It’s a strong indication of what is to come in the Australian eCommerce landscape form the larger retailers like David Jones. I think this is a wake up call to the smaller retailers that have not taken eCommerce seriously. There will be strong challenges over the next few years from the major players who are coming to take hold of what should have been rightly their playing field from the start. Smaller retailers need to take this seriously and start establishing their presence as competition will indeed get tougher. All retailers need to realise that your competitor is no longer the business with in physical proximity and reach but rather the retailer or business that has the capacity to reach your customer. Costas Siavelis –

  6. Costas says:

    Lastly, I encourage all small retailers to consider ways they to can do eCommerce better.

  7. Steven says:

    I don’t agree with Peter. Major retailers putting up b-grade work detracts from credibility, not improves on it. Personally i think that the longer they spend time throwing up this sort of offering and then wondering why its not getting the results the better – leaves more time for pure-plays to get a proper toe hold.

  8. Simon says:


    1. Colour & Layout – The colours are dark and uninviting. DJ’s are traditionally black and white. Black & grey are not suitable for online shopping.

    2. Limited product images & information. No sizing details – When shopping online consumers demand specific product details and the ability to view the whole garment. Like shopping in store, providing specific information reduces the number of returns and calls to customer support.

    3. Customer Support & FAQ’s – No specific number for online shoppers to call. When shoppers have questions they are directed to call their local store. Department stores don’t have time or want to respond to a sales inquiry they aren’t able to review or be rewarded for.
    FAQ’s are difficult to locate and limited with genuine FAQ’s. A guide on how to place an order isn’t a frequently asked question for a online store.

    4. Navigation & Search. There are two separate navigations for ‘shopping online’ and David Jones stores. As a consumer, I don’t see a difference. As Grant mentioned earlier, site search is mandatory.

    5. Difficult and confusing check out – Consumers don’t need to register before entering their details. You will capture all the information when they complete their check out and payment.
    Showing two subtotals, the dollar total then the total GST amount is confusing and not required.

    6. Expensive shipping & no PayPal option – $8.95 to send a gift card is not acceptable. PayPal not only provides the customer with confidence and security it’s a great form of payment to attract consumers who don’t have access to a credit card.
    Shoppers should be able to purchase online and pick up in store. A in store pick up creates a perfect opportunity to up-sell/cross sell to an engaged audience.

    The positive sign is that David Jones are now selling online. The next stage is to improve the customers experience online to mirror the superior service consumers receive in store.

  9. Kara T says:

    My first impression was “Where is the shopping trolley?” And where is it? I am just in shock that there is a big WELCOME which is the section that actually houses the checkout process.

    I think this is a really lazy job. DJs should have launched online with huge hype and a big bang, particularly after all the bad PR the company has copped this year. DJs has the resources to get an agency on board that knows what they are doing on in the digital space – even the online offering is really quite paltry and bland and really takes away from what DJs actually stands for.

    Take a leaf out of some of the overseas-based high end department stores and what they have done online – although I have to say, the DJs site looks like a very poor rip of Debenhams.com as it is.

  10. Mark says:

    What a let down! There are so many usability and design flaws in this site.

    The product pages are far from best practice, I’m guessing there will be a lot of shopping cart abandonment on this site. For a good example of product page design, check out http://www.ice.com/bracelets/womens-silver-bracelet-prd_bsw_015032.jsp

    Why is it that product pages are so often overlooked by Australian retailers (and their design agencies) with more emphasis being placed on home page design? Sure, the home page is important but with many shoppers arriving at a website through search, the product page are as important. Product pages should build trust and answer all a shoppers questions without having to navigate away from the page.

    In DJ’s case, their product pages fail dismally. When you eventually find the product you want, you need to navigate away from the page to find important information such as return policy, shipping options, product reviews, stock availability, discounts or special offers, etc.

    I think DJ’s will get plenty of traffic being an iconic Aussie retail brand, but the big question is will they convert that traffic into sales? Time will tell!

  11. Matt Hampshire says:

    In addition to previous comments, why offer me a choice of sizes and then tell me my size is out of stock? And having each colour variant as a separate item? Clearly using an agency or home grown platform.

    Unfortunately future investment decisions may well be impacted by the financial return from this site. I just hope DJs realise thata the web store is just one part of the serious commitment required to the new world of cross-channel retailing. Even for the blue rinse set 😉

  12. Byron says:

    How is this even possible? Do DJ’s have a web agency? or is it all in house? Or even is it a couple of kids fresh from multimedia school that are family friends of the marketing manager?

    As a Front end developer this site makes me cringe, they have more CSS and JS files than holes in a fishing net. None of which is compressed. They even have code lifted from Dynamic Drive for the menu and to my astonishment the menu is in a table. Some one please shoot me in the head.

    If i was Megan Gale I would be really embarrassed to have my picture all over this site.

  13. Monty Python says:

    It’s just sad. David Jones is iconic Australia. eCommerce is not new. There are hundreds of excellent examples literally at your fingertips on how to do it well. Sounds like a combination of a poor budget and poor agency. Fire the agency, close down the web debacle, start again.

  14. Andrew Olsen says:

    Gee where do you start. Much of the upside for the site has already been mentioned but purely from a best-practice site and merchandising perspective the absence of site search is a curious choice. Shoppers use it as it adds tremendous efficiency to the shopping journey. And then of course they could benefit from fuzzy search capability that ensures shoppers get a result everytime despite mispelling. If they don’t see a result what are they to buy?

    In terms of navigation, how about faceted dynamic navigation that updates on price and brand, for example, as you search. How about ensuring the left navigation searches stay there throughout the journey to make it easy for the shopper to go back, change their mind, without having to start over or go to the previous page via the browser. Re cross sell and upsell, I find the results presented were only loosely relevant to what I was interested in and in some cases, not relevant at all! A search for a bloke’s t-shirt tried to cross sell me a recipe book from women’s weekly?!

  15. jason says:

    Equally as bad as the Myer site. Why should I have to click to get into online shopping. David Jones seems to have lost the point. I don’t care about your card, your services, your wine club etc etc….Just like a physical store I go there to shop.

    Sell online and do it well or don’t bother…..classic fail!

  16. Luke Hilton says:

    Great to see another big retailer online, but very disappointed with what I’ve seen of this attempt so far. Online Retail in Australia is taking great strides, but efforts like this are a big disappointment. Tier one retailers such as DJ’s have an obligation to the public to roll out a top notch eCommerce presence. I guess the goal of going live before Christmas was the driving factor, but in reality this website should not have gotten out of development.

    All other Tier 1 and Tier 2 retailers thinking of rolling eCommerce should take this website as a warning. Your incumbent agency (no matter how slick) or internal ICT teams may not be the right people for the job. Have they rolled out an Enterprise eCommerce platform before? If not then find someone that has. Does your internal head count have eCommerce and Multi-Channel Retail experience? This is a specialty skill and working with amateurs will only produce amateurish results. More than happy to make some recommendations to whoever wishes to listen for the good of the retail industry.

  17. Sam Jones says:


    way to represent the organisation and totally miss the requirements of the user. It seems to me like the buyers and department memeber took to this project like a trial by commitee…A great site smashed by a thousand paper cuts.

    Youare a department store first and everything else second…

    So do your best to get inside your users head and sell stuff..I for one am not going to sepdn ages thinking aobut the categroy only to get there and discover the products I want aren’t available…

    It looks to me like they had to meet a deadline and went live with half the suite of products.

    there’ no on site customer support, no search, the strucutre is a bit more like a magazine with no content than a department store with loads of products.

    Large australisn retailers have to act like their global counterparts given the partity of the dolllart and the ease with which their customers can shop internationally, get free shipping and reduce their total cost of sale.

    DJ’s you have done youself no favours here..You could have done somethign amazing, instead it was so so and does the job..

  18. Dagwood says:

    Guys — it’s version 1.0.

    They’ll be back with 2.0 soon enough.

    Better they launch and learn than never launch at all.

  19. jason says:

    Dagwood, what do you mean launch and learn?? This is launch and restart all over again. Wasted money if you ask me. Would have been better keeping to the basics rather than rolling out a complete mess.

  20. Philip Grech says:

    This is very rare for me to comment on an implementation that I had nothing to do with but as David Jones enjoys an iconic business life here in Australia I would I would throw my 2 sense into the pot.

    The main menu is difficult to use and not in line with current industry thinking
    The products shown can only be viewed from one angle. ie. cannot see other sides or in other colours
    If something is out of stock you will only find out if you click your size
    There is no zooming functionality but there is a option to view the product via a large file
    No product recommendation or answer engine. Even when I reviewed a book all the expected functionality that is now common place could not be found.
    Not so friendly URL’s
    Hello. Has anybody heard of Amazon?
    No address validation. Not only will this impact deliveries but it’s a receipt for disaster when their marketing teams will attempt to run a campaign. You know the old saying, bad data in, bad data out…
    There is no mapping function for store locator. ie google maps
    No sharing of product via social media? What the???
    They are not utilising open authentication standards like Open ID, etc
    There is no sense of creating an account where credit cards and addresses can be managed
    Very curious how the cross sell functionality works. I viewed the iphone and my cross sell products listed were all over the place. Even more curious how their upsell works? I couldn’t find evidence of it.
    Maybe it was my browser but when I clicked the wine club link it gave me “page not found”
    The returns policy is extremely vague. a) There is no expiration date b) it basically states that if you open the packaging you will not be able to return the product in question. Hmmm…..
    They are “mum” about PCI compliance or the security it uses to insure your credit card is in safe hands. (David Jones are by far not the only ones guilty of this)
    and on a last note, a gift card will cost you a whopping $8.95 to shipping!
    Please note that I honestly did try to find something good about the site but I simply couldn’t. While we should be encouraging all Australian retailers to go online and I applaud the David Jones effort, they should be doing so with the understanding that owning a big name brand is simply not good enough to compete online. Time will tell.

  21. Ryan says:

    One word…. embarrassing. In a time where we are all getting excited about online retail here in Australia, DJ’s pulls this out of the bag? Let’s hope our counterparts over the States don’t get wind of this. I guess its not just the strong Aussie dollar pushing fashion buyers offshore…

  22. Sarah says:

    Haha these comments are hilarious.
    From my experience with ecommerce customers sometimes the biggest priority is integration with current POS.
    I should think DJs has incredibly outdated POS software as my friend who is a manager there has as her email client… wait for it… Lotus. Yes you read correctly!!
    She said she’s never used anything thats slowed her down more.
    So DJ’s recently moved to MC Saatchi whose digital agency are Make. These guys can afford great people.
    My take is the whole agency is cringing right now at the stupidity of decision making made by DJs marketing team, who are also cringing at the digital stupidity of the management team.
    I wonder if anyone quit out of sheer frustration. And I bet you could ask everyone in the world, no one is taking ownership of this shop 🙂
    And no one can blame them!

  23. Jules says:

    Useless. I tried to buy something for $97 but it wouldn’t take me to my basket

  24. Matthew Schofield says:

    Out of curiosity, what does everyone think of the Christmas gift ideas section of Djs site?

  25. Autore says:

    No doubt the website needs some work to improve the user’s exprience. Everything shifts to the left on firefox, nice design although

  26. seeshell says:

    Cant even log into the site today!! ….. stalling all over the shop!!

  27. Craig says:

    2011 – DJ’s = 1811, it’s such a shame for such a nice store. Even making another website to keep the online from the general store info. I can’t find anything on the website and it all looks very expensive.

  28. I just tried it and it doesn’t even work.

    Is this what IBM did for them?

    Hope they didn’t pay more than a few thousand for this (lol)

    From what I can tell it’s just a brochure site.

    1. Grant Arnott says:

      I think the IBM rollout is a long way off yet, this will be the throwaway.

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  30. disappointed says:

    On January 8, I ordered a gift card for my wife’s birthday, which falls on January 14. I thought I was cutting it fine, but I got an email back which assured me that it would turn up on January 10. It actually arrived TODAY (January 17), three days AFTER the birthday. I got a cliche ridden explanation from the “Customer Service representative”, or some such, who explained that she was “extremely disappointed” that my order was so late. Really, they have to do a lot better than that.

  31. robbie says:

    the online component of this business is below appalling. The customer service provides no explanation and reverted the blame as to actions caused by me. avoid at all costs. they have glitch after glitch. you’ll have the product quicker for less if you walk in store

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