Buying online what are our expectations?

A recent experience with David Jones had me questioning how big department stores deal with both fulfillment of orders and communication versus customer expectations. I expect that the item I am buying is available if it is advertised, I expect that when a delivery date range is provided it is accurate, I expect when told the deliver is on its way that it is and I expect if I call when the delivery does not arrive it have my call answered promptly and the information I get is accurate. Sadly this was not my experience. The emails ‘3-7 days delivery’ and ‘Your order is on its way’ were not accurate and when I phoned after 45 minutes waiting on the line I was told it would be another 7-10 days because they had to find the product I was buying. The goods turned up later the day I phone. Are my expectations unrealistic?


You highlighted one of the core problems our retailers have in defending their business from on-line merchants.

Gerry Harvey got the pollies on board that it is all about the GST, but you have illustrated they continue to use incompetent systems that are well below consumer expectations in this century.

If you have not yet, putting in a complaint to DJs website would probably be less rewarding than posting your experience on their facebook page, at least if you are on facebook. It might also be useful if you cornered your store manager in person if possible, or complain by phone if not, and had a nice 1 on 1 chat about your experience.

Perhaps the ordering number can be used to connect you to the ‘I am an unhappy customer’ rep. They seem to avoid the concept of unhappy customers on their web site, eg no ‘complaints’.


I like your suggestions, I did reply to their apologetic email and mentioned it when on the phone. It is an issue as you highlight that with Amazon entering our market, businesses selling online need to be smarter than they are. I have also had an issue with businesses suggesting I email them and then not responding. E-commerce has been with us for 20+ years but even large orgs such DJ just haven’t worked out how to make it work for them


We don’t buy much on-line, but our small experience has been highly variable. Mr Z saw stainless steel pegs on a friend’s clothesline, so we ordered a set from Innovations last Saturday. The Postie called in with the interstate parcel on Tuesday morning. Very impressive given a letter posted at our PO takes a week to get to the next town.

Our worst experiences are with smaller providers, I suspect waiting for enough orders and the right price to re-stock. We waited 7 months for a vintage tractor engine workshop manual - I suspect - as the same book was available as a pdf from Jensales USA that he was waiting for other orders to make purchasing, copying & binding this book worthwhile. Another one-man-band from whom we get specialist hobby gear often messes up our order, particularly if we order more than one (order 3, get one). He’s usually very apologetic and provides a few ‘freebies’ with the rest of our order. Then there are the ‘clearing house’ re-sellers. Order things from them and you get lots of deliveries direct from their wholesalers. ie they don’t keep stock - just host a website, pass the delivery info and get a commission.

When I buy on-line I expect that if the item is not in stock that I am informed at the earliest. Innovations (our one experience) did state if the item was in stock and if not, further on the estimated restocking date (late October). Booktopia is another which estimates delivery times (In stock, ships in 2 days, ships in 7-10 days).
I am not impressed to be told after payment that the item is currently on back-order with no estimate of delivery. Or to not be told at all and have to chase them. We don’t order much, but I suspect some impulse buys that never arrive are not missed, and busy people don’t compare the invoice with the order.


I think David Jones’ expectations are unrealistic, if that’s the way they choose to treat their customers. Perhaps that implies that yours are too, but I think you are entirely reasonable and haven’t been treated in a reasonable fashion.


Your expectations are not unrealistic at all JulieFL. I do all my shopping online (of necessity) and most businesses do all the things well that DJs didn’t do well for you.


I added my experience to their Facebook page. All I can say is never buy bulky goods from DJs online. They have no fulfillment relationship with the companies whose products they advertise. I bought a Bosch washer - never delivered - only because I was earning 7x Qantas points. Ended up getting it from BingLee - cheaper and delivered in 2 days


Thanks Felicity, you make an excellent suggestion to visit the DJ web page. It is disappointing that We have to do this given how well other orgs operate. I used Peter’s of Kensington recently, was provided with accurate details regarding delivery, goods arrived within 5 days as I was told.


@JulieFL, you’re most reasonable.

Many traditional bricks and mortar (b&m) businesses believe they just have to open their doors and the buyers will come. This held true ‘back in the good old days’, but not any more.

Too many of these b&m businesses have fought the rising tide of on-line shopping instead of adapting and adopting. As alluded by @PhilT, Gerry Harvey is the mouthpiece for many of them. Unfortunately for these businesses there is no turning back, and they will continue to lose more and more market share.

Case in point, DJs’ profit dropped 58.3% this year.

What you experienced is the result of staff cuts, and other cutbacks made in a vain attempt to staunch their haemorraging profits, while keeping senior executive salaries high. Before he was fired, the CEO of DJs, John Dixon was receiving $A2.401 million. DJs now has its third CEO in four years.

Perhaps if instead of spending on huge executive salaries, these businesses spent their money on fulfilment staff and brought themselves into the internet age, they may actually meet our expectations.


Be careful when looking at company results.

The gross profit between 2017-18 was flat and there write downs which often occur from time to time and can be experienced in one financial year but not the next. The article linked presents some of these write downs which occurred in this financial year but may not be experienced necessarily in future years.

Generally in Australia, the main retailers have had flat or slight increase in profits. There have been exceptions (both with considerably higher profits than average and those which have become unprofitable and closed due to changing markets and trends). The future looks like more of the same.


Free delivery in Metro area.
I buy automotive spares online from Sparesbox. One item they advertise is “free delivery in Metro Areas”.
I live in Glenhaven, which I would consider a middle distance suburb in the Sydney metro area. However Sparesbox consider this non metro. On querying this with Sparesbox they say that it is defined by the various couriers that they use. Next time I get a delivery I will check which courier is used and see what they define as Metro. A couple that I have checked online consider a much wider area as metro. Have other people experienced this?

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