small business

Service and online shopping

January 23rd 2015
Author -

Who would buy clothes online? That is what I always thought. I can book a family holiday online. I love the fact I can look through a caravan parks facilities and book then and there, even if it is 10 o'clock at night. Problem solved and an exciting trip for the family ahead. But clothes?

The other night I was interested to see how one of the brands I wore as a teenager were looking today. I was just doing some research. I did a google search for Mossimo T-Shirts and an online shop based in Sydney came up. Here it is here - www.theiconic.com.au/mossimo

Easy to use, you can view a great range of designs. Good information on sizes, I knew my shirt size, but each brand can be a little different, so it was reassuring. But then I saw the returns policy.

100 days to try it on, make sure it is right. They pay the return cost and make it easy. So the fit should be okay, how about the price? T-Shirts are certainly much more expensive than they were, but the one I was looking at was $29.97 down from $50. I had seen some T-Shirts in shops at full retail price and there is no way I am paying $50 for a cotton shirt. Now how much to deliver it? For one T-Shirt it was $7.95 but over $50 it is free. That was an okay cost for my first purchase. Other orders I would probably qualify for the Free Delivery. They also said when they expect me to get the shirt with order tracking to see its progress.

That seemed pretty good to me. Now it had taken me a bit of time to work all this out. But it is the same if I walk into a new bricks and mortar store. You take some time familiarising yourself. But after a couple of purchases you have built some trust and know what you are doing. This was a good first experience and I ordered the T-Shirt. I got it 3 days later, when they said and it fitted. I got the excitement of ordering a new shirt, then the excitement of a parcel being delivered.

I will go back to The Iconic. I might even sign up to their newsletter in case they have some good specials or bundles.

So it got me thinking why did the local clothing stores not appear in my search? Google is smart and tailors search results based on location. But no local business is stepping up to even be an option for me. I could find no mens clothing websites for Inverell. I would love to have seen a local guy in the mix. I would even pay them a bit more because I know it is supporting a local business.

But The Iconic is beating my local stores in other ways too.

  • Fit – they have already reassured me with good photos, a detailed description and measurements, then a free and easy return policy.

  • Price – they were certainly competitive if not cheaper than my local store.

  • Delivery – 3 days was fine for me and I got emails telling me of its progress.

But they have some other services I didn't need this time.

  • Live Chat – they have a person you can ask questions. You can type an enquiry into the website and this person will reply back straight away. Instead of some 15 year old leaning against a counter and grunting at me, I could speak to someone that knew the clothing business. These shop assistants do this job all the time, one chat to help me and then onto another customers enquiry. They would have information at their finger tips. If they were a hopeless overseas call centre, then I can imagine some business owner would see the advantage of improving this service and beat The Iconic.

  • Tailored Shopping – they will track my purchases and save my details. Your local shop might remember some things about you, but not like a computer can remember. This data can be used to suggest things I might like, to help solve my problems. In a way I like, via an opt in email in my time. Not :
    • a loud TV ad or
    • a stupid radio jingle or
    • a salesperson with a commission agenda or
    • an ad in a small 8 page newspaper.

       

  • 3 Hour Shipping – I then noticed a little checkbox near the delivery information. “Within 3 hours to Sydney” Isn't that amazing? You need something for Friday night, work is too hectic to get out. On Thursday afternoon you jump on the website and have it in your office in under 3 hours.

Online shopping is certainly coming along in leaps and bounds. People are investing in these types of services because there is money to be made. I bought a T-Shirt and I will buy more clothing online. I am also currently telling you about it. Happy customers will talk.

 

Can you imagine a local business that stepped up to an above and beyond website like this? Imagine giving people the range, the online service. Imagine delivering a gift wrapped present for someone's Mum to their place of work 2 hours after they ordered it on your website? Think they would mention that story to their friends?

Some business still think all they need to do in set up a shop and stock it, maybe do some advertising and the customers will come to them. Meanwhile other businesses are going to the customers and thrilling them with service.

Think this is just retail and does not apply to your business? Someone out there is thinking of ways to take your customers using technology. Your potential market is shrinking as theirs expands.

Let us help your business transform and reap all the potential online has to offer.

Have a look through what we can do for your business.