3 questions, three problems, 3 issues and 3 more problems

Today’s Financial Review has reported the immediate resignation of Bernie Brooks, the Chief Executive of Myer.

I know nothing about the man. He may be a great guy, but there is no doubt in my mind that he has not created a great product.  I cannot think of a positive thing to say about Myer.

While I have no idea whether his successor, Daniel Bracken can improve things, I have little doubt that Bernie did not deliver.

Ask yourself?

  • What is memorable about the Myer experience?
  • Would you recommend that someone shop at Myer?
  • What is the Myer competitive advantage?

I suspect that you answers are:

  • Nothing
  • No
  • I don’t know

Ask yourself the same questions about Zara, Top Shop and H&M and I suspect you will offer very different  answers.  I would argue that all three of these retailers offer a superior experience, equally competitive pricing and better value.

I would certainly argue that all three of these overseas retailers offer:

  • A better and more interesting range
  • Better trained and service oriented staff
  • Better value and a more memorable experience

Of course Myer is no orphan. Indeed, I struggle to think of a large Australian retailer that provides a product anywhere near as good as that of international retailers like Apple and Ikea. I don’t like Apple stores and I will never again go to an Ikea store, but their target markets are enormously attracted to their unique:

  • Product range
  • Experience
  • Service

I would argue that the difference is that international retailers are far more customer focused

I would argue that large Australian retailers pay:

  • Far too much attention to driving prices down – thinking it is the only issue
  • Far too little attention to staff training and team building to deliver service
  • Far too little attention to creating an experience that is enjoyable and memorable

I would also argue that Australian retailers are little better online – and that is why 45% of online purchasing in Australia is from overseas retail sites.

In both the offline and online environments Australian retailers seem to think it is all about price, while international retailers are showing them that it is equally about:

  • Range
  • Convenience
  • Service

Why are Australian retailers such slow learners?

The problems for Myer relate to whether:

  • The new CEO will be any better. History is not on his side.
  • David Jones now has too big a jump on them given its new ownership.
  • The days of the traditional department store are over

I would argue that Myer now needs a CEO that:

  • Is customer focused
  • Has an appetite for MAJOR change
  • Has the capacity to deliver major change

What do you think?

This issue will be discussed in more detail on THE D. JOHN CARLSON NETWORK – www.djohncarlsonnetwork.com

  1. John Carlson is a behavioural scientist, strategic planner and lateral thinker focusing on branding, marketing and communication. Visit his blog – www.djohncarlsonesq.com
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