Bonmarché is rolling out a collect-from-store service as the latest step in developing a multichannel strategy.
The value retailer, which was rescued out of administration by private equity firm Sun European Partners in January, is rolling out the service to its 270 stores, following a trial in 15 locations.
Customers can order online or via its telephone orderline and then go in-store to collect their purchases free of charge.
Managing director Beth Butterwick said the move was the latest step in developing Bonmarché’s multichannel strategy and would offer extra value to the “value-conscious” Bonmarché customer.
The website, which launched two years ago, has been buildng slowly, though it still only accounts for 4% of Bonmarché’s overall trade.
While the customer age profile – between 50 and 60 – means that they are traditional in their shopping, preferring to go instore, the Bonmarché customer was beginning to be influenced by other family members using technology. This is beginning to change their purchasing habits and has instigated the service rollout, Butterwick said.
“This delivery option not only gives our customers an additional service choice but also offers them a more cost effective way of shopping from the comfort of their own home, be it via stores, our telephone ordering service, on- line or TV shopping.
“We think this will really appeal to the value conscious Bonmarché shoppers, especially in these tougher economic times. As our customer base broadens, they are increasingly demanding products from a more flexible multi-channel shopping experience.”
Butterwick added that, online, Bonmarché has been attracting a younger customer and that there has been growing interest in “special pieces”.
“The Bonmarché customer online has more time on her hands to think about purchases. Typically internet sales are dresses, swimwear and beautiful tops,” said Butterwick.
Since the business was pulled out of administration in January, Butterwick has been focusing on “correcting” the collection and sharpening price points.
The retailer has lowered its opening price points, under a “first price, right price” mantra. It has also increased exit points in certain categories, though Butterwick declined to give details.
The full impact of the changes is expected in autumn, when spring stock – inherited from the business before it went into administration - has been sold.