Myer will spend the next six months rolling out a $30 million inventory and order management system flagged as the last big-ticket upgrade in its omnichannel strategy.
By October, the system will automate the online ordering process, meaning orders go straight to central distribution centres rather than being processed by staff in the closest physical store.
Chief executive officer Bernie Brookes described it as a “quantum leap” that would allow Myer to take orders from multiple channels, including mobile devices, and deliver quickly.
The retail giant today announced sales had grown 0.5 percent year on year to $652.5 million in the three months to 27 April.
Brookes told investors online sales had more than doubled during the quarter, in line with its ambitions.
Myer’s online sales growth has accelerated in recent months. The company reported in September internet-based sales had more than doubled in the 12 months to 28 July 2012.
Brookes expected online business to surpass the $50 million needed to break even within 12 months, noting that Myer's online success was determined by both sales and pageviews.
The latter drove sales in brick and mortar stores, he explained.
“We’ve invested more than $600 million in the business over the past five years. A lot of that has contributed to getting ready for online,” Brookes said.
Previous investments include a $100 million merchandise management system upgrade, $100 million point-of-sale upgrade and $40 million distribution system upgrade.
Brookes said those investments had enabled Myer’s $9 million new website that was built on IBM’s WebSphere platform and launched in November.
The order management system represented the last big-ticket upgrade in Myer's omnichannel strategy, he said.
A spokeswoman told iTnews its $30 million cost would be split across the four years to 2015, with a majority of spending occuring this financial year and next.
The retail giant expected to spend a total of $30 million on IT projects — including the order management system — this financial year, she said.
Myer has been working to improve its omnichannel offering as one aspect of its five-point strategic plan.
It said today it was successfully executing the strategy, which also involves an improved loyalty program, optimised store network, enhanced merchandise and improved customer service and efficiency.