In the Dutch market De Bijenkorf is market leader in selling luxury brands. They have shops in the best locations in the largest cities of The Netherlands. They also have a pretty good webshop, which is aligned with their offline sales.
ASOS has no physical foothold in The Netherlands, but seems to have a similar target audience: primarily women who have some money to spend and care about quality brands/clothing.
The online market is growing, people tend to buy more fashion online. The thing is, it’s not that great buying online in The Netherlands. Most deliveries are during working hours which is especially annoying for the audiences of De Bijenkorf and ASOS. It’s still hard to really determine online if clothes will look good on you so there are a lot of returns. To return the orders you’ll have to go to the post office (or in the case of De Bijenkorf, standing in line to return the order is also an option). The post office is also only open during normal office hours.
My idea of what might make the difference is a physical location where people can send their orders and comfortably try them on and take home only the clothes they want to hold. The process might look something like this: You sit at home sipping on a glass of wine, browsing through the webshop. When you decide which clothes you would like to try on you order them to one of the special locations. You pick a moment to visit the location and a type of dressing room (size of room/stylist present) and confirm your order. When you arrive at your dressing room at the time you picked, your clothes are already there, ready for you to try out. When your done, you’ll leave with the clothes you want to keep and leave the clothes you want sent back.
“Dress with friends” experience
To make the shopping experience even better, they could add a feature “Dress with friends”. With this feature you could book a bigger room with multiple places in the room to try on the delivered clothes. All the friends get an invitation in advance with a date and time. They can choose all the clothes they want to try on and order them at the location. At the location they can turn on music and order drinks (e.g. prosecco) to create a great moment together. At the end of the ‘party’, everybody leaves the beautiful location with the clothes they love, without the hassle of having to return something.
The above mentioned idea has some advantages over the current shopping experience. For the customer it’s only one moment they have to be somewhere (instead of home for the delivery and at the post office for the returns). They get to decide the date and time that suits them. Furthermore it can be a fun evening with friends!
For ASOS it has the advantage of creating an extra opportunity to create fans. Special locations, the luxury and great service will all add to the customer experience.
In my opinion, this creates a combination of the advantages of offline and online.
So what do you think?
Will this help create a strong foothold? I’d love to read your ideas!