Friday, 11 June 2010

From "Screen to Door" to "Screen to Store"

The FT report yesterday that ASOS are seeking partnerships with high street retailers as pick-up points has got our friends at eNova smiling. Fellow fashionista, Sophie Albizua, a multichannel advocate, has contributed this post to share her excitement with us. Sophie writes:

"The fact that home delivery can be a barrier to some consumers is no news and solutions such as physical drop boxes or collection store networks have been talked about for years. But no one has taken the click to brick plunge yet in any meaningful way. This might be the catalyst.

Pure online retail, in spite of all the hype surrounding it, possesses one fundamental barrier to growth; the fact that, as those of you who've been waiting around for hours for a parcel or had to rush to the post office before 5pm to get it know, home delivery is not convenient for many people working or leading busy lives. What still amazes us is the number of high street retailers who have an e-commerce arm that acts as a pure play, thus falling in to the same trap. Not that we believe you can’t have a successful on-line pure play, as ASOS has demonstrated.

Let's remember online retail only represents 7% of total UK retail sales and its growth is slowing down to mid teens and soon single digit numbers. We believe that the growth is in multichannel, where the purchase goes through the website but doesn't end there, which we and other market observers estimate will grow at over 20% p.a. over the next 5 years to represent 40% of total retail sales in the UK by 2013.

Fashion retail has ignored this for too long. Will the one that led the fashion innovation on-line, stir the debate once again? We hope that this will act as a call to action to other fashion retailers who have been shying away from click and collect models for too long. If ASOS feels the need for stores, those who already have them and are not linking them to their websites should reflect upon the missed opportunity that this might represent. Here's a crack at the answer for you: in our experience, properly executed click & collect should double your website takings within a year as a starting point.

Having created several of the leading order on-line, collect in store services, including Argos, Halfords and Boots, we suspect there are still a number of bumps that will need to be ironed out when trying to mould a home delivery set up with a store pick up as to not reduce margin. To this end, store based fashion retailers may still have an advantage if they get to grips with the opportunity sooner rather than later. Most importantly, let’s remember customers are the ones driving these developments, which will be the fastest growing part of retail for the next 5 years."

Is "click and collect" going to be the next growth area? Fashionista would love to know your views, so join the debate!