Well known New Zealand, women’s wear store, Glassons is remaining positive and proactive, despite these ‘tough times’. They’re following the trend of many stores, in both New Zealand and overseas, by ‘going on-line’; trying to increase their market, profile, and in turn, revenue.
The Glasson’s site http://www.glassons.com/ was launched in late November 2008, “without a lot of fan-fare”. I saw the site advertised while in-store and was curious to know more, including how customers had responded. So I approached James Whiting, General Manager at Glassons New Zealand. He was kind enough to give me his thoughts about the launch of Glassons on-line; what it means for shoppers, and the company alike, and also a little about ‘what is yet to come’ for Glassons.
“We initially launched the site with a “soft launch” to our own database to test the site and make sure everything was running smoothly before going out and advertising to a wider audience. Then in December we did a fairly big launch on Bebo. This consisted of us having our own profile page with links to buy product from our site, blog area for commenting on our latest fashion etc, and created a “friends of Glassons” page and invited Bebo users to join the Glassons community - this was really awesome, and within 3 weeks we ranked #2 (of commercial users) on the site with the biggest community of friends on Bebo (NZ)”.
As a keen shopper myself, I asked James, “Are all of the styles that are currently in-store available on-line and visa versa?”
The majority of the catalogue is online; however we do keep the online range tighter than what’s in-store at any given time. Usually the site has all the newest styles so we can showcase our latest products, plus we always offer our key items and basics. We tend to take the older fashion styles off the site regularly (even though they may still be available in-store) - this is to keep the site fresh.
Then, “How do you think the addition of ’e-tailing’ will affect sales overall?’We are taking a view that online sales should be largely incremental, and not cannibalise store sales to a major extent. We want to use our online space to drive store sales and vice versa, we really see it as an additional sales channel rather than one the will take over from our store sales. Clothes shopping is very much an experimental thing, so we don’t think a web shop will stop our customers going to the mall shop.
“I read something recently about another big change in store for Glassons: retailing outside of New Zealand. When will this happen?”Very soon actually (can’t give an exact date), but our plan was always to ship outside of NZ once we got the systems bedded down and working smoothly. We will initially begin shipping to Australia, and then international after that. I expect that we will start shipping to Australia within the next 2 - 3 months.
I’m sure all would agree that the current economic climate is making it anything but easy for retailers, including those in the fashion industry, but it’s great to see companies, such as Glassons, still driving forward with new ventures and adapting tried and tested methods. For consumers, ventures such as e-tailing, are helping to ensure their favourite brands survive the storm, with the added benefit for shoppers being that they are able to browse (and purchase) from the comfort of their own homes (day or night) making it especially valuable for ‘time-poor’ consumers.
Make sure you keep your eye out for my up-and-coming pieces on the likes of e-tailing, and using social networking sites such as Bebo and Facebook for marketing campaigns.