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'I'm reluctant to sell online. I want people in my shop'

Like many independent retailers, I am coming under a lot of pressure to start an ecommerce site.

But I can’t help feeling it would be an awful lot of time and trouble for precious few extra sales. As we sell mainly well-distributed brands like Gant, Timberland, Eterna, Hackett and Tommy Hilfiger, I cannot begin to compete on price, which is one of the main reasons people shop online.

I feel much more inclined in 2013 to spend my time, effort and money on giving my shopfront a makeover, because my window is always my best advertisement.

In fact, I am reluctant to sell online.

I want people to come into my shop to experience the brilliant personal service we offer. We have some good independent shops in our village and we all feed off each other.

My father Jeremy started the business 25 years ago and I have been running it for 10 years. Even though we are a menswear business, about 70% of our sales are made to women, who know a lot more about men’s clothes than men do about women’s. Next year, my wife Selina is starting to work in the shop.

Who ever said that menswear is a man’s world?

  • Andrew Hobbs, Owner of Jeremy Hobbs Fine Menswear in Cobham, Surrey, and a member of the Fashion Association of Britain (FAB)




Readers' comments (2)

  • Why not have an online but presence that you can use to interact with customers via blogs, newsletters etc. but stop short of providing a full on ecommerce site?

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  • We're currently in the same predicament with our store. Although we must lose some sales by not being online, we very much doubt that having a transactional site would be viable, especially as some brands we stock support heavy online discounters which we cannot remotely compete with on price.

    One way - totally free, other than your own time - is to have a Facebook and Twitter presence. It's a great way of getting whatever message you want to your customers whether it be new items or promotions etc. It get almost negates the need for a website and saves you money too.

    Online isn't the holy grail and tends to work best with businesses who have no retail outlet and image to destroy, as if we had to charge online prices for our items, we would be out of business.

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