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Battle of the Aussie retail giants

by Bernie Johnson
23 Jul 2012
4 min read
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Battle of the Aussie retail giants

David Jones

It's good to know that David Jones has its new eCommerce site launching later this year, as the existing site is a complete dog's breakfast. Cluttered layout, disparate information architecture and an online retail experience that is very 2003, the site sucks.

From a branding perspective, the DJ's black and white is hard to miss, but the overall dark aesthetic is one that creates a sense of rigidity and suffocation.

The dimensions are a traditional 1024 x 768, but this renders poorly on most modern browsers and leaves the product pages feeling cramped. Even on an iPad the site feels cluttered.

The "Shop Online" navigational item is buried 6 along, which is quite embarrassing for an online retail site. Should we not assume visitors are there primarily to shop?

The checkout experience is devoid of any string safety-valve call-to-actions (where's my free shipping? where's my money back guarantees?) and it's a minefield trying to navigate your way through the checkout. I also can't discern between the 3 different checkout options "returning customer", "new customer" or "guest checkout" - there all asking for the same confusing login details?

The social media team obviously has things under control more, as the Facebook page (with 140K+ likes) is a breath of fresh air compared to the site. There's beauty tips, top trends and cool pics from the socialite set at Fashion Week.

The DJ's mobile site is much cleaner and has a decent user flow for a dedicated mobile site. The big faux pas is that it doesn’t offer online shopping. In 2012, for one of Australia’s strongest retailers, this is a massive fail.

Myer

This is a clean site with a nice use of vertical scrolling and big, emotive hero imagery. The evolving sophistication of the Myer brand is strongly reinforced through balanced white space, compelling product imagery and persuasive messaging.

The mega-menus for the primary navigation bring structure to the brand and category breakdown. The duel navigation from the homepage creates a seamless browsing experience for online shopping. The search function however doesn't seem to work - search for "Country Road" and the first result is a PDF detailing an offer which expired in July 2011? Poor user experience…

There is a nice reinforcement of credibility and safety valve messaging in primary real-estate on the page with "Free Shipping", "Returns & Exchange" info, and Customer Service numbers. This works extremely well to reduce anxiety and build purchase intent. The "Add to Cart" page has clear call-to-actions, security messages, delivery & returns information and loyalty point calculations - all solid essentials of a good online retail experience. The checkout process is a simple, 3-step, easily completed process - nice.

Myer also have a dedicated mobile site which is well-structured with clear navigation. The one problem is that the "Shop" option on the mobile site is a straight redirection to the (non-mobile optimised) website. It doesn't create for a pleasant retail experience through the Myer mobi site.

Overall, the Myer synergy between brand, website and social creates for a much more engaging and optimised online experience for customers than the DJs counterpart.

Read the full B&T Article here.

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