Myer pours $100m into omni-channel overhaul

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Myer pours $100m into omni-channel overhaul

Outlines $600m company-wide transformation.

Myer will allocate around $100 million towards improving its online retail experience as part of a $600 million, five-year strategic transformation aimed at boosting the retailer's profit growth to more than 3 percent per year.

The company's strategic plan was revealed today as the retailer posted a 21 percent drop in net profit for FY15 to $77.5 million.

Myer CEO Richard Umbers said the 'New Myer' strategy set out a defined pathway to return the business to sustainable profit growth.

"We will achieve this by delivering a sharper and more focused retail offer that attracts more of the customers who represent the highest value to our business," he said in a statement.

The strategy will focus on reducing the retailer's footprint to focus on Myer's best performing stores and re-targeting its product offerings toward higher-value customers. 

Omni-channel forms a key plank of the transformation initiative.

Myer's online efforts thus far have been sullied by a major systems outage that took its ecommerce platform offline for a whole week during the peak post-Christmas sales period in 2014.

But the online store seems set for a new lease of life under Umbers.

Myer will pour around $100 million towards increasing its click and collect offerings as a percentage of overall sales, improving the accuracy of online inventory and enhancing the site's user experience.

In stores, Myer will expand its rollout of digital hubs and wi-fi to allow customers to shop online whilst in-store. That effort forms part of a separate, $150 million project to improve the in-store experience.

Online sales grew by around 80 percent in Myer's most recent financial year, the retailer said today.

Click and collect sales increased by 183 percent, and sales processed on iPads in-store reached $20 million in their first 11 months of operation.

Myer's transformation strategy was informed by a large-scale customer data analytics project.

The retailer analysed the data of its customer base and store catchments to build a profile of those customers where there was the greatest opportunity to improve the customer experience and deliver higher sales and profit, it said.

Its $10.6 million strategic review used the data of its 5 million Myer One members, as well as data on 50,000 external shoppers to provide insights on potential customers.

Myer's online focus comes courtesy of a new CEO that is highly familiar with technology.

Richard Umbers was promoted from his role as the retailer's inaugural CIO in March this year to take over as its new chief executive officer.

The retailer's technology efforts will also be backed by its new chief digital and data officer, former Coles online boss Mark Cripsey.

Cripsey will start his new job at the end of the year, and will take over responsibility for IT, supply chain, online retail and the customer data analytics work that underpins the Myer One loyalty program. 

Myer expects a drop in net profit for FY16 to between $64 million and $72 million, excluding the impact of implementation costs associated with the transformation plan. It forecast a return to "sustainable" profit growth after that year.

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