Headline, April14, 2014



"Multichannel"  -or even better-,  ""omnichannel""    -is almost every self-respecting retailer wants to be:

It means letting customers shop with smartphones, tablets, laptops and even in stores as if waited upon by a single salesman with an unfailing memory-

And uncanny intuition about their preferences. Pure-play Internet vendors are good at this. But most resist the idea that actual stores, with their rents, payrolls and security cameras, ought to be one of the channels.

The thought of having the same cost  -as brick-and-mortar competitors  "scares the living daylight out of me," says Charles Hunt, owner of Duvet and Pillow Warehouse, a fast growing online retailer.

Yet Kiddicare, owned by Morrisons, a British grocer, is not the only retailer to shed its online purity. Screwfix, a British supplier to plumbers and electricians, has opened  270  shops since  2005.

Bonobos, which sells men's clothing online, has opened several  "Guideshops" in America. Zalando, a German online fashion store, opened a physical outlet in Berlin some 2 years ago.

Even Amazon has installed lockers in shopping malls, where customers can pick up deliveries: a first step-step, perhaps, towards brick-and-mortardom. All this suggests that online and traditional retailers are:

"Migrating to middle ground" , believes Mart Truman of True Capital, a fund that invests in consumer companies.

For wares that do not have to be displayed in a showroom, online retailers are hard to beat. They killed Borders, an American Bookstore chain, and Britain's Comet, an electronics retailer.

Kiddicare wants to be as disruptive as the little monsters who use its products.

Traditional sellers of baby gear, laden with too many stores and creaky technology,  have all the perkiness of sleep-deprived parents.

Internet-based Kiddicare should run rings around them. So it seemed odd some years ago when the British merchant took over ten  "superstores"  from Best But, itself an erstwhile disrupter -in electronics.

Far from weighing Kiddicare down like overstuffed nappy bags, the shops will give customers  a   "true multichannel experience". the retailer  !Wowed!

But it is easier to judge a shoe's fit or an apple's crispness in a real store. Shoppers who crave instant gratification will not get that online. Tradesmen are last minute shoppers, which is why Screwfix, part of the Kingfisher DIV group, has so many shops.

Car seats must be fitted and parents like to handle baby equipment before they buy it; hence, Kiddicare's expansion beyond a single store.

Pure online retailers do not play rent but their variable costs eat up much of that advantage, says Sophie Albizua of eNova Partnership, a consultancy.

Without storefronts to hire in customers they shell out to buy  ads  linked to Google search results. Delivery, especially of bulky goods, is a headache.

Couriers show up at empty houses, and fees fail to cover the full cost. Shoppers return a quarter or more of clothing they buy, another very, very big expense. 

The Honour and serving of the post continues.

With respectful dedications to all the online shoppers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

"'Onto The High Street "'

Good Night & God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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