Mr Porter London HQ
E-commerce is booming, so many fashion labels frantically add e-boutiques to their websites in hopes of driving sales both locally and globally.
However, by shifting focus to online retailing you might be missing out on some great opportunities. The big players on the market give us something to ponder on as they try to complement their exclusively online presence by tapping into offline retailing options. Ebay, Etsy, Net-A-Porter and other e-commerce sharks have already successfully experimented with pop-up shops and showrooms in the US and Europe. So maybe it’s time to revisit the tried and true brick-and-mortar store concept once again.
It’s All About The Experience
Consumers certainly enjoy having an option to shop from home – no need to dress up, drive over, spend hours browsing and comparing prices, and, for some, no annoying sales assistants or fellow shoppers crowding the store. However, for many shopping still remains an indulging ritual, especially when it comes to buying exclusive apparel and accessories. People want to see, touch and try things on before buying them. They want to experience the garment’s quality firsthand and make sure they’ve found the perfect fit. And while browsing e-shops does have its appeal, spending a day on the town roaming cool stores remains a much more enticing experience.
Whether you’re considering opening a boutique in a hip neighborhood or a setting up a corner in a department store, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to compete with other labels for consumers’ attention. Quite the opposite – setting up shop with or by other designers/retailers helps create additional diversity and appeal to the consumer which translates into more traffic and higher sales for everyone. Think about it, your creations will stand out even more if they are set against the backdrop of other designers’ work. And when a client walks into a multi-label showroom to check out that new collection by their favorite brand, they might be tempted to play mix and match with your designs as well.
Riding The Globalization Wave
Low overhead costs, sleek fulfillment solutions and increasing affordability of technology are key factors that have helped online stores make virtually any product available to consumers worldwide. However, with 80% of purchases still occurring offline, diversifying your stockists to include actual brick-and-mortar stores is essential to boosting brand awareness. That is especially important if you plan to infiltrate foreign markets, as you have to make yourself known, respected and available to the potential customer. Strong physical presence combined with the understanding of the new markets’ unique mechanisms will work in your favor.
Regardless of where you decide to concentrate your sales efforts, what really matters is that you understand your target customer, listen to their needs and do your best to make their shopping experience enjoyable. That means easy navigation, top-notch merchandising, friendly customer service, convenient payment options and a personal vibe for any and all of your sales platforms, offline or otherwise.