My recent experience with Australian online shopping was rather clumsy, ad-hoc and very slow when compared to purchasing online from the USA. The experience with Australia’s Target online shopping was as follows:
* The item was purchased (in-stock) and a receipt was emailed the following day. Most places will email a receipt almost instantly after the purchase.
* The order was not dispatched until a week later. Past experience from USA has the purchased item shipped within 24 hours.
* Three days later the item was delivered. Purchasing from overseas is quicker from start to finish than it is in Australia.
For a large retail department such as Target, the online customer experience was far from the smooth seamless experience with American online retailers.
Even though Australia is playing catch up with online retail compared to the USA, there are some excellent Australian retailers with an online presence such as Kogan, BigW, and JB Hi-Fi.
JB Hi-Fi is an excellent example of successful online shopping in Australia. Unlike the clunky Target experience and often-limited online product range, large department stores David Jones and Myers, JB Hi-Fi have recognised and understood the importance of a strong online presence.
Recently, JB Hi-Fi introduced an online platform called JB Hi-Fi NOW, which offers a music streaming service to subscribing customers. They currently offer a free 10 day trial with unlimited access to millions of online songs streamed through your device (phone, iPod, computer etc.). They offer 1 month, 3 month and 12 month subscriptions with unlimited access.
The JB Hi-Fi NOW platform has expanded its online product range, offering online books (eBooks) which is called NOW Books. This will tap into the $2.5 billion retail book category in Australia, which is bigger than DVDs, and CDs combined. Here is a leader in the Australian online retail sector.
The clunky online shopping experience is not a single case study example from Australian shoppers. There are huge challenges in Australia with online purchasing and many businesses need to refine their back-end logistics functionality. If they do not lift their standards shoppers will look elsewhere or may even make the purchase overseas. Waiting times for purchasing online is a huge deterrent for shoppers.
There doesn’t seem to be any urgency with some of the large retailers with big bricks and mortar presence to be getting the online experience right. This is not a new phenomenon and Australians have been purchasing products online from overseas for a number of years. If there were any urgency we would be seeing Target delivering a seamless online experience which is fast and efficient, and the big retailers like David Jones and Myer would have more of an online presence than what they do today…which seems like a half effort attempt.