‘Don’t bother’: Kmart and David Jones online service slammed
A huge number of disgruntled shoppers have ridiculed David Jones's online operation, criticising the major department store for not delivering purchased items and failing to respond to customer complaints.
Consumers have also turned on fan favourite Kmart as the discount chain struggles to shift its business to the web during the coronavirus-induced national shutdown.
Review sites can fall foul for being a platform for vindictive trolls and corrupted accounts but a leading retail expert says the sheer number of complaints across two sites reveals a common trend, particularly with David Jones.
More than 70 per cent of the responses on both productreview.com.au and a lesser known site Trustpilot gave the chain the lowest available score, citing shipping and customer service as a major gripe.
"Don't bother trying to contact David Jones customer service for help with anything," said one of hundreds of unhappy customers. Others labelled the experience as "terrible" and one said "if I could give zero stars, I would".
Most complaints include exhaustive descriptions of receiving wrong items and then being unable to reach the company to amend the error.
"I've now been waiting for over one-and-a-half hours on the phone to resolve these issues (and still waiting!). I'm so frustrated," said one.
And another: "I tried to call. After one hour and 30 minutes waiting, no one answered and the phone was hung up."
Queensland University of Technology retail expert Professor Gary Mortimer said it's common to see fake reviews pollute sites such as these.
"But in this case I looked at at least two platforms and it seemed to be consistent across both," he said. "Which does give me a level of validity to some of the claims."
David Jones has posted significant increases in online sales over the last two years as the company pivots to modernise its shopping experience and compete with global brands such as Amazon.
In a statement provided to news.com.au, the department store giant said it recognised the need to "evolve at pace" particularly to adapt to the coronavirus crisis.
"As consumers move quickly to relying on online communication methods, businesses need to make extreme and rapid changes to their online business model to keep up with the expectation around immediacy of responses as well as the immense shift to online fulfilments, as stock is moving so quickly," it said.
"We are doing everything we can to up-weight our service capability and increase our distribution capabilities."
KMART'S ONLINE QUEUES
A steady stream of fed-up shoppers have also unleashed on Kmart in the last few weeks as the popular discount chain shifts online, with many frustrated by its glitchy site and complaining it offers items it no longer has in stock.
"Absolutely the worst modern online experience in 2020," one respondent on productreview.com.au said.
Another detailed a drawn out process to buy a swing set which was never delivered.
"After 16 days of no communication whatsoever, I notice that the money has been refunded into my account. I didn't cancel the order, nor did Kmart contact me to confirm it wasn't available."
As the government enforced shutdown led to the closing of a long list of retailers, Kmart crumbled under the pressure of stuck-at-home Australians shopping online.
The chain was slammed on social media for using a waiting system to stagger visitors to cope with the increased traffic.
"Thanks for your patience! You're in the queue," shocked shoppers were told at the Kmart site.
"We're experiencing a high volume of traffic due to COVID-19, so we're trialling a queuing system."
Professor Mortimer said Aussies are particularly fickle and impatient consumers, meaning the seamless operation of websites is critical for a company's survival.
"Australians have the highest frequency of cart abandonment with online shopping which tends to indicate that if customers are not happy with your online experience they will very quickly move elsewhere," he told news.com.au.
"So it's really important for management to read those reviews and respond in a timely and professional manner to resolve those issues."
Kmart said it has responded to the publicised failings of its online business since the pandemic forced shoppers indoors.
"We've made the decision to temporarily convert three of our 240 stores into order fulfilment sites to help support the growing demand for our online home delivery services," a spokesperson told news.com.au.
"We would also like to sincerely apologise to our customers who have yet to receive their online order or continue to experience delays reaching our customer service teams.
"We've been overwhelmed with the volume of orders over the past few weeks and stock availability has been impacted, making it difficult to keep up with our customer needs."
Originally published as Kmart, DJ's online services slammed