RealTime IT News

Australian Retail Giant Moves Online

Australian retail empire Coles Myer has enlisted Microsoft Corp., telecommunications giant Telstra and Internet development company Zivo to design and build its online e-commerce business.

The consortium said the site will deliver a total package, including customer research, software development, branding, marketing, payment systems and systems maintenance.

"We were looking for the most appropriate way to offer products to our customers who want to shop online," said Jon Wood, Coles Myer's chief information officer, of the company's decision to move online.

The Coles Myer site will use Microsoft's Windows NT and Site Server software, along with Telstra's SureLink secure electronic commerce technology. Zivo will handle the project management, system architecture, graphic design, software development, integration and maintenance. The project is expected to involve more than 20 staff from the combined organizations.

Zivo will collaborate with Internet strategy company Australasia 21 on the business, branding and marketing plans for Coles Myer's site. Australasia 21's founder and managing director John Wood said he was determined the project would stand out from commonplace online efforts.

"As a team, we will focus on developing a solid business rather than simply putting up a Web site," he said. "We believe the potential for electronic commerce is very rich, but we need to do solid consumer research first to avoid false starts."

Coles Myer owns department stores Grace Bros, Target, Myer and K Mart, the Coles Supermarkets chain and a host of smaller stores. Currently the group is evaluating what types of products will appeal to its customers.

The company will also collect information on purchases, site visitors, and product data to enable it to be highly responsive to market conditions. The performance of the site will be closely monitored so that product range and presentation, in-site promotions, and traffic generation strategies can be fine-tuned to maximize traffic and site appeal.

At Australasia 21, Wood predicted the first marketing stage would take around two to three months, then it will progress to investigating what works best for the site's design.