If the words of Mon Purse co-founder Lana Hopkins are anything to go by, technology is the be all and end all, and we’ve barely begun the journey.
The speaker for the Online Retailer Conference & Expo, on today and tomorrow in Sydney, has a lot of faith in the omni-channel retailing, with bricks-and-mortar still playing its part in her business strategy.
“The challenges we face as online retailers are everywhere and often as you solve one challenge you create another two or three that you never knew you had,” Hopkins said.
“The solutions will be driven by smart new technologies that address and overcome these problems.
“I can’t think of a role technology won’t play in the online experience. It’s everything and I suspect we are at the very beginning.
“The next five to 10 years will see a mountain of new technology evolve. In particular as customisation continues to evolve, the ability to replicate online, the most accurate render of the end product is vital, as will be the Virtual Reality tech that shows how the product will look on their customer before they purchase.
“If you can’t get this right you will be left behind.”
A few key challenges Hopkins views as critical for the online retailer include user experience, globalisation, and customer retention and loyalty.
“It doesn’t matter what you retail, user experience is key. With Mon Purse it’s the #1 issue to continually address and refine,” she said.
“Maximising the opportunity to convert the opportunity we have had to converse with a customer and grow their basket size, lifetime values and value in what they share with their networks.”
As for globalisation, Hopkins said, “One way we make our site the most relevant is by making it relevant for consumers in their home country.
“Understanding the variables that will change from payment methods to shipping terms is critical to success.”
But technology isn’t the only king, and Hopkins sees potential in the good old fashioned retail store.
“A multichannel approach to retailing that gives the customer a seamless shopping experience whether they are shopping online, no matter what the device or in a bricks & mortar store.
“A bricks & mortar presence (for a previously online business) has become more important in recent times and into the near future will become essential for success – even Amazon has opened a bricks & mortar book store.
“Mon Purse has four concessions within Myer and several more to come, and has seen firsthand the drive and resource traditional retailers are putting into this space through the innovative partnership that Mon Purse has with Richard Umbers and his team at MYER.
“There is no doubt as these retailers innovate, online retailers need to continue to do so. I would expect to see the opportunity for more concessions to open within these traditional retailers as they re-balance their floorplans with less stock held and work with concessions and even pop-ups to keep people coming through the doors.
“However this doesn’t have to mean stock being held as the concession and pop-up model are an option that provides advantages for both parties. In the case of Mon Purse, the team that operates in all of our retail locations are Mon Purse employees.
“They are specially trained to monogram, trained in our product and in the Mon Purse brand. Mon Purse also has its own flagship boutique which is independent to Myer.
“Technology will aid the innovation in everything from payments to shipping, from product visualisation to packaging and given the SAS that exists out there, I would also suggest you will see some of these businesses come together so as to own more of the retail value chain and deliver a product that allows the retailer to deal with fewer service providers and a seek more end to end solutions.
“Finally expect mobile to really continue to develop in the online experience. As retailers we need to supply mobile friendly content, a mobile friendly web experience, usability across all devices so they find our content quickly and easily and we push to remove all the barriers to purchase.”