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Indies must embrace "integrated" digital approach

The news that Cheltenham indie The Famous is shutting its doors after 126 doors should inspire indies to embrace online, writes Alan Gabbay

Traditionally online, mobile and high-street purchasing have all been viewed as independent activities, but the sad news that The Famous men’s fashion store in Cheltenham looks set to close its doors after 126 years just goes to show that that digital channels should in fact be working with the high-street to encourage consumers back in-store.

People are put off shopping online because they don’t like the virtual experience and still prefer to shop on their local high-street or in a department store.

Our recent research into consumer shopping behaviour confirms this. In fact, only 29% of people chose a PC as their preferred mode of shopping. Digital channels must therefore work in conjunction with high-street stores, not in competition with them.

Independent fashion retailers and smaller boutique stores, particularly those which don’t have a strong web or mobile presence, must in turn embrace digital channels to ensure a more integrated approach. Mobile in particular can provide a much needed digital presence for these retailers, as we found that 18% of consumers would like to be able to reserve fashion clothing from their phones to collect in-store.

Alan Gabbay, founder, Udozi

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Readers' comments (6)

  • I closed my boutique to concentrate solely on-line but I'm finding some of my suppliers won't deal with me because I don't have a shop & on-line presence. Anyone else found this?

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  • www.Anthony&

    Hi Kate,
    As a brand owner, brands want to be seen in the shops, most already have enough presence online so by selling to online sellers they are potentially diluting their own sales which they would have made higher margins on.
    Shops are key as people like to be able to feel the quality of the material, test the fit and style. Having product in shops is increasing the brands direct advertising to future customers, increasing brand awareness.

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  • What utter nonsense. Is this man really advocating that independant stores shell out thousands of pounds creating mcommerce sites and applications that almost none of their customers will use? And all this based on the back of some flimsy, biased research conducted by, suprise suprise, the founder of a company that would no doubt benefit greatly from more stores having mobile sites. Honestly!

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  • Expensive transactional websites and mobile applications can be a very expensive and counter productive for an independent and some get sucked in for the sake of it. If an Indie is closing it's not because of their lack of e commerce options, it is usually something else...

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  • The Famous of Cheltenhams customers were largely retired and would not buy using m commerce ,the reason they are closing is they didn't move on , they thought you could retail menswear with school wear together,they didn't stock brands that a modern man wants, they stocked largely tired old 1970s brand names in a wealthy town where you would expect many indies to thrive,
    Online business isn't the cure all antidote for every ailing indie.

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  • Totally illogical argument.

    Did the author accidentally delete an entire paragraph between "Cheltenhams is closing" and '[this]...just goes to show that that digital channels should...encourage consumers back in-store.' ??

    A fine opinion piece for a casual blogger but I expect better quality articles for a subscription web site.

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