Sunday, August 7, 2011

Online shopping roolz. Just saying.

Online shopping is a god send. I don't think I would have as much of a good time on the internet if I couldn't actively buy things from it. Asos is my favourite at the moment, but I browse Etsy, Forever 21, H&M, Urban Outfitters and Topshop on a frequent basis. It's the best feeling when you go online and purchase something you probably can't buy here, or something amazing at a really low price. Shops like The Book Depository are great because they offer great discounts as well as free shipping. I think being in Australia, free or very cheap shipping makes buying online so much more appealing.

So recently, Premier Investments have decided to close down about 50 of their stores. They're the people who own Dotti, Peter Alexander, Smiggle, Portmans, Jay Jays and Just Jeans. They're closing these shops down because they are not making enough money and the chief executive of Premier Investments blames online shopping for the plummet in sales because consumers pay no tax when they spend under $1000 online.

All righty, then.

No one I know shops to avoid the tax. I didn't even know we weren't paying tax when we buy online. And why are the employees being sacked because retailers aren’t making eough money? Maybe retailers should have a hard look at WHY their business aren't making enough. The fact is, if you, as the CEO, aren't making enough, that's not the fault of the employees. Have a look at the appeal and quality of your products and the store conditions. The lowest of the rung shouldn't be the ones copping unemployment because someone on top is doing a crap job.

If online retailers are taking business away from "Brick-and-mortar" stores, the only possible solution is to join the ranks of other online retailers and offer customers an online experience as well as an offline one. That’s the only way to compete with them, and succeed.

David Jones and Myer are actually freaking out about the loss of customers in their department stores. Their solution is to offer a "money can't buy" experience: Myer wants to introduce dentist and weight loss clinics and free breast screenings. David Jones is planning on keeping their stores open for 24 hours because god forbid, I really need those Sass and Bide jeans at 3:47am and I have to know what that 24 hour in-store experience is like.


If they're really scared of losing business, instead of objecting point blank to having any kind of online presence, they should embrace the power of the internet and promote their brand online. And having a Facebook and Twitter account is just not enough any more. In store shopping experiences are important, yes, but so are online experiences. ASOS isn’t just any online store: They style shoots, have their own online magazine, get fashion editors to pick out their favourite must have items, and show consumers how to dress in season.

The reason why Sportsgirl is such a thriving business is because its online presence has been nurtured so well that it can compete with the likes of ASOS, Forever21 and Urban Outfitters. It uses lookbooks to style and sell their clothes. They constantly collaborate with bloggers and consumers by having giveaways, which are announced through their Twitter and Facebook accounts. Sportsgirl works because it becomes more than just another online store. Its collaborations and interactivity with consumers creates a platform that well exceeds a “money can’t buy” experience that stores like Myer and David Jones are trying to achieve. No one actually cares about launch parties where only Australia's very rich industry VIPs are invited to, but they do care about how to incorporate this season’s looks into their daily wardrobe.

In short, retailers need to stop being so elitist and old fashion. If you can’t beat them, join them. If you’re still adamant that you can beat online retail businesses without joining the virtual shopping revolution, then I’m sorry, you deserve to go bankrupt.

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