Online sales are growing exponentially. Is this the end for traditional retailers? We don’t think so, but the goalposts will have to be moved a little.
THE DOWNSIDE OF ONLINE SALES
As we saw in the previous chapter, one of the main problems with online sales is the fact that you cannot touch or try a watch before buying it. There are a few solutions:
- Free delivery and return worldwide
- Relying on our community to organize meet-ups
- Organizing pop-up stores
THE ADVANTAGES OF TRADITIONAL RETAILERS
Nonetheless, online retail is lacking in certain areas that only traditional retailers can cover:
- Professional advice
- A fixed address to which you can return for advice, repairs or servicing
- A physical intermediary who can, if necessary, bridge the gap between the customer and the brand
RETAILERS UNDER PRESSURE
The Internet is often seen as a threat by traditional retailers. It’s not uncommon for a potential customer to come find their dream watch and then “escape” with an “I’ll think about it” before purchasing it online for a lower price.
What’s more, in recent years traditional retailers have come under great pressure from large groups, who insist upon vastly excessive minimum quantities which then tie up significant sums of money in stock. (See our chapter on exclusive distribution)
SO WHAT DO WE SUGGEST?
We believe that the solution lies in the synergy between the brand and the retailer, and in a healthy balance between online retail and physical points of sale.
- The retailer buys a basic display kit consisting of a few watches. This avoids the problem of money being tied up.
- With the help of the retailer, the customer directly orders and pays for their chosen watch using a tablet in the store.
- The watch is either delivered to the retailer or directly to the customer.
- If the retailer wants, they can stock their best-selling models so that the customer can leave with their watch immediately.
- The retailer receives a lower commission (around 30% rather than 40-50%), but there are no stock issues.
The customer is not interested in ordering from our website as it will cost them the same price. It may be that in the end a customer buys their watch on our website; on the other hand, we will also encourage potential customers to visit the retailers by listing their address on our website. So it’s a win-win situation.
ARE YOU A RETAILER? JOIN OUR DISCUSSION
Our aim is to be able to start collaborating with a number of outlets by early 2018. We have already begun discussions with around ten partners, but we still need to finalize the exact way in which this partnership will work. If you are a retailer and you would like to take part in this discussion, get in touch with us here as soon as you can.