DJs tentatively ventures back online

Four years after failing to launch an online brand, David Jones this week officially opened its online store, David Jones Online, for business.

With the view of building a new business as opposed to a website, Jenny Deslandes, David Jones' general manager of e-commerce, said that this time the company had different priorities. "We spent a lot of time building the back-end infrastructure," she said. "We are at a very different stage in the company's business and we're positioning the business as a multi-channel retailer."

Launched ahead of the Christmas rush, Deslandes said a significant amount of time was spent focusing on the back-end systems and infrastructure as well as fulfilment processes which caused major headaches for many e-tailers last Christmas. The traditional bricks-and-mortar retailer was able to bring its new e-strategy to market quickly following the acquisition of established, yet struggling e-tailer TheSpot in June this year. "We started with the platform of TheSpot and built on it," Deslandes said.

TheSpot was built on web infrastructure from BEA Systems which has been further developed for David Jones Online. New functions, such as new payment options and multiple delivery addresses, were added to the existing web infrastructure. "We integrated DJ's back-end systems to take advantage of the infrastructure already in place," Deslandes said.

Changes were also made to TheSpot's distribution centre, which has become the head office of David Jones Online. The hardware and systems running the centre were simplified and more capacity was added.

David Jones is also hoping to eliminate any ordering and fulfilment problems over Christmas through multiple delivery partnerships with Australia Post and other unnamed courier companies. "By using a number of couriers we are minimising the risk," Deslandes said.

David Jones Online currently offers customers cosmetics, gifts and hampers. In the lead-up to Christmas and throughout 2001 more products and services will be added to the site.

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