Why the Myer Crash is Bad for All Online Sellers

Why the Myer Crash is Bad for All Online Sellers

The World Internet Project (Australia) has just reported that the online sales in Australia have increased by 46% from 2011 to 2013. More interestingly 50% of those sales are now with domestic online businesses. Historically there has been a perception held by online buyers that there are better bargains to be had by shopping online but offshore. This perception has not been helped by the protestations of Gerry Harvey and outgoing Myer CEO Bernie Brookes about their perceived uncompetitive nature of the GST on online sales.

Online retail in Australia is still clearly growing but in its infancy. Australian online retailers need to ride the wave of domestic online confidence and foster that trust. Australians are becoming wary of offshore sites. It seems the sweetness of low prices is soon soured by difficulties in claiming warranties, exchanging goods, or even in many cases simply not receiving goods and having no access to consumer protection when buying from offshore sites. Australian online retailers should be bending over backwards to build online loyalty. If customers want a safe and value for money online shopping experience then we need to give it to them.

The big Australian retailers like Myer's set a standard for online shopping. When their sites crash it can have a psychological effect impacting negatively on all Australian online retailers. Myer's response to their recent site crash has been less than helpful to Australian eCommerce. Myer's comments that “online sales made up less than 1 per cent of the retailer's business and there would be no effect on its profitability or overall sales” do nothing to bolster confidence in eCommerce. The site crashed on Christmas Day and at time of writing this article, 31 December 2013 was still down.

Given figures from the National Bank Australia show that online retail is currently 6.3% of traditional bricks and mortar retailing; Myer is looking like an industry straggler and not an industry leader at just 1% of online sales.

There was plenty of people tweeting about the crash. Here are a couple of examples.


— Alicia (@aliciajgray) December 25, 2013


#Myer have a huge stocktake catalogue with no way to buy any of it online. If Bernie Brooks was a sports coach he'd be gorn. #blunder

— Toni (@toninicho) January 1, 2014

It’s a timely reminder that you can have a great online store but if your back-end infrastructure is lacking in quality and then you might as well not be online (which is the case for Myer). Smaller online retailers will benefit from confidence in the domestic online market place. Giants like Myer should be market place leaders not talking eCommerce down.


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