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Rob Bostock on White Stuff’s online retail plans

Rob, when did the White Stuff launch its website and has it met expectations?

We soft launched the current version in August 2008 and then started to market it in the run up to Christmas.

The new site has lots of great functionality for our customers and really lets them get a good feel for our brand and products - so yes it has met our expectations.

How do you think the web side of the business will do in the next year?

I know it will go from strength to strength.

We’ve had such positive feedback from our customers since we launched the new website and we’ve got big ambitions for Home Shopping.

As more people turn to the internet for their shopping needs, we’ll certainly be able to meet the needs of the online shopper. 

When considering the design of the website, how did you ensure there would be a healthy balance between translating the in-store feel with web usability?

One of the key aims of the design was to give customers a true feeling for the brand and to try and give the same shopping experience online and in-store.

Our shops are full of quirky, humorous and fun elements and we’ve tried to recreate this online so our site really is a virtual experience of a White Stuff shop.

Our creative team had some great ideas and the beauty of the internet is that almost anything is possible.

Some of the ideas were difficult to get working from a usability point of view but we always kept the customer at the fore-front of our minds and worked round any issues. 
Who were your partners in designing and developing the website?

The creative concept and design came from our in-house creative team, headed by Creative Director Lee Cooper.

The web team worked closely with them and put together the wireframes and site architecture.

Then we went through quite a long ITT process and eventually selected Paraspar.  Working with them has been a great experience and they are definitely the right partner for us.  

Will White Stuff move into content, such as blogs and video, in the near future?

Not sure about blogs or video but we have got some development plans up our sleeves which aim to give the customer an even better experience.

Currently we have a Wonderful World of White Stuff page which includes links like Pick n Mix, a blog-style page with our favourite current links on the web.

We also run customer competitions and often ask for photo entries, like our “Show us your Best Circus Outfit” competition in our Winter catalogue.

We had an amazing response and our customers really love engaging with our brand. Our plans will always involve fun elements for our customers, so watch this space for future developments. 

And finally, which two online stores are the ones to watch?

White Stuff - we really want to raise the bar for smaller multiples - but of course I’d think that.

And the new site from Natalie Massenet, theoutnet.com for designer goods.

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