With the online retail market reaching maturity, more ecommerce retailers are now looking to physical stores for sales growth and closer bonds with customers. Oliver Banks continues his conversation with Jennifer Fruehauf, exploring the pitfalls and opportunities of moving “clicks to bricks”.
This is part 2 of the conversation with Jennifer Fruehauf. Listen to part 1, episode 19 to explore some of the great examples and reasons why online retailers are turning to offline, physical retail stores.
Introducing Jennifer Fruehauf
Jennifer is a customer engagement and experience consultant based in London. She helps brands and retailers create and deliver omnichannel strategies and customer experiences that add both customer and business value. She’s experienced in a variety of sectors, including consumer mobile, retail, technology and fashion tech.
Connect with Jennifer on LinkedIn.
Jennifer is also part of the Retail Collective, who host engaging events and panel discussions for retailers.
Ecommerce trends in 2019
Online retail has been growing for years and I’m sure you already know this. On the show this week, I reference a couple of stats about the growth.
Retail examples and case studies discussed on the show
There were a number of examples cited in this episode. Listen to the show and read more below. If you enjoyed these, remember to check out more case studies of online retailers moving to offline stores as featured in the first part of this conversation, episode 19.
You may also enjoy this previous episode of the Retail Transformation Show, exploring experiential retail.
Vestiaire Collective opened a 2 week pop up at Selfridges in London. They offer an opportunity to make high fashion more sustainable. Customers can purchase buy pre-worn designer items. Plus, they can sell their own pre-worn items that are now unwanted. In fact, one of the key aims of the Vestiaire Collective is to help promote sustainability and to discourage waste. These are key challenges that are increasingly being noticed about the high fashion market. So, find out more in this article.
They used the pop up to showcase some of their vintage items. However, it was also a way to receive and assess products being dropped off by customers. Plus, by partnering with a relevant brand, there was lots of opportunities for cross pollination and building customer awareness.
It’s not always plain sailing. Missguided, one of the UK’s hot online retailers, moved into a large store in Westfield. In 2016, it opened a large flagship retail store, but following large losses, has announced that it will close the store in 2019.
In some ways, this is a great example of what to do and what not to do. The internet giant’s pop up store in London demonstrated great experiential retail, offering customers exclusive access and community events such as yoga classes. However, as Jennifer explains in the podcast, the customer service wasn’t up to scratch. There were challenges with availability, stock visibility and staff training.
Read more on LinkedIn where Jennifer shared her experience of the Amazon Fashion pop up.
This online apparel brand focuses on high-quality clothing with ethical production. They’ve seen quick success and in December 2018, opened their first store in New York. Customers much log into the store which connects their online account to their physical retail shopping trip.
Essentially, they are forging a single view of the customer. Now, they can understand purchase history across both online and offline channels. They can see a greater view of the overall halo effect of a physical store on local online sales. This is an interesting article with loads of pictures.
I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot more examples of “logging into” a physical store over the next 2 years.
Lone Design Club
Jennifer also referenced the Lone Design Club. They use their online platform to power their physical retail stores. This simplifies their systems and processes. Returns for example can easily be done across different channels – because they are set up as just a single trading channel. Essentially, their pop ups are just an extension of their online store.