The run up to the busiest time of the retail calendar officially started this weekend with the ten week countdown to Christmas! And here at BT Fresca the manic and mayhem has already started, we’ve been going off piste with Snow + Rock and going global with Aurora Fashions.
We constantly strive to help our customers, help their customers, but this week we’ve been especially hard at work playing Santa’s little helper to make the Christmas rush easier for everyone. The new mobile optimised Snow+Rock website has just gone live, making it easier for shoppers to place orders and browse on the go – fantastic if your planning to hit the slopes, or for last minute gift shopping and catching those bargains as soon as they hit the sales.
Around the globe, the Fresca fairies are busy sprinkling their e-commerce magic, already providing websites for Karen Millen, Oasis, Warehouse and Coast for the last five years in the UK and more recently going web optimised. We’ve now pushed them global launching the Karen Millen website in Germany as well as a joint website for Oasis, Warehouse and Coast where customers can shop across the brands all in one site!
Both sites are in local language that support local fulfilment, promotions, payment and customer service tailored for each specific country, and Aurora plan to roll out our platform across even more countries. The web sites will support local payment types such as direct bank transfer and invoice on delivery, and the capacity to manage fulfilment from a local distribution centre.
The Frescacommerce Platform is behind many of the world’s fastest growing and most successful e-commerce web sites. It aims to blend creativity with e-commerce best practice and to integrate back office functions like customer ordering, call centre and fulfilment, to maximise sales while giving customers an engaging online experience.
Hash Ladha, Aurora’s group multichannel director, said: “We are very impressed by the current FrescaCommerce Platform and BT’s development plans for the future. These will help underpin our own plans for growth in Europe, Asia-Pacific and beyond.”
We are very excited about these new sites going live and wish our customers all the best for the Christmas trading period.
The Internet Retailing conference (October 4th, Novotel, Hammersmith) always focusses on the latest on-line developments and this year revealed a growing chasm between the old and the new. What is different this time is that the new “old” is about old-fashioned, nothing to do with number of years trading.
Resting on the old-fashioned cliff-side are some relatively recent retailers, ASOS (founded in 2000), eBay (1995) together with an analog and digital media pioneer, HMV (1899). Staking claim to the new ground are traditional high street names such as Burberry (1856), Thomas Pink (1984), Aurora Fashions (Coast, 1996; Oasis, 1991 & Warehouse, 1976) mixed in with the cream of social networking Facebook (2004) and a revolutionary delivery company, Shutl (2008).
What sets them apart? A true appreciation of their customers’ multichannel lives.
For example, yesterday ex-ASOS visionary Hash Ladha, now 18 months in as multichannel director at Aurora Fashions announced the latest tranche of UK cities to be covered by his fashion industry leading 90 minute delivery service. By February 2012, 90% of the UK can order a dress late afternoon and be wearing it the same evening. Why does this make pure-play retailers like ASOS look old? Because ASOS do not have the nationwide store coverage to support this type of ship from store to home service. Nick Robertson, ASOS CEO, has long muted the possibility of a single ASOS store on Oxford Street, but even that’s a long way from the 50 or so stores required for pan-UK coverage.
The retail equivalent of Apple, Burberry’s recent tie-up with Salesforce.com underlines the absolute need to focus on your customer wherever she happens to be. In the same vein, presenting creative innovation yesterday, Nadine Sharara, e-commerce director at Thomas Pink, underscored the need for absolute quality and consistency of brand regardless of channel. The beautifully British Brideshead revisited theme of this years A/W campaign oozes the kind of high end luxury that thrives in the harshest recession. And the execution from store through to on-line is truly multichannel.
Of the keynotes that kicked off the conference yesterday, eBay sounded tired as it talked up its outlet channels and social media heritage. Conversely, head of Facebook commerce partnerships, Gavin Sathianathan, is effortlessly cool and unceasingly innovative as he describes the stories of the 800 million people that make up the Facebook world and the opportunities for retailers to join them.
So if e-commerce sounded old yesterday, true multichannel retailers are fresher than ever, buoyed by their years of trading and customer focus.
Gerald Maidment, Account Director