Myer, David Jones start targeting web competitors – three of the biggest challenges they’ll have to overcome

The department store giants are at it again. After promising for so long to boost their online strategies, the two department stores are now saying they’re getting even closer to taking on the internet giants of the world.

In fact, Myer chief Bernie Brookes said yesterday – after revealing weak quarterly earnings – that the company could take on its web competitors with its new omni-channel strategy.

”Why? Because we’ve got distribution centres, we’ve got links with suppliers, exclusive brands and, more importantly, you can buy it in store, get it delivered at home and, if it doesn’t fit, you can drop it off in store,” he said at a company conference.

”There is the trust of the brand, you can try it on in the fitting room, take it home and if you don’t like it bring it back and you don’t have to worry about all the issues with postage, delivery and the stability of the website.”

Brookes has a point, and both companies are keenly improving their current strategies. David Jones even said in its latest report its photographing process for new stock keeping units is going well, and even said it gained 21,000 Facebook fans in March.

But Myer announced a profit downgrade last week, and David Jones announced a 3% fall in sales in the past quarter – can omni-channel approaches really save them both?

Maybe. But there are three big challenges they’re going to have to face:

1. Online retail has to be about more than the products

Here at SmartCompany we’re big fans of any business that provides their customers with something a little extra to keep them coming back. Sportsgirl is a great example of this. The team there have started a blog and publish articles on the site about fashion tips and other interesting factoids to keep their customers involved.

Kathmandu does this as well, offering information on camping materials and various resources for travellers. Shoes of Prey is really great at this too, showing off its new blog posts with big, bright pictures.

So why aren’t Myer or David Jones emphasising this more?

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