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Will 'showrooming' kill businesses?

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by Gavin, Jul 6, 2012.

  1. pickpackpockpuck

    pickpackpockpuck Senior member

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    [Edit: misread your first sentence. oops.] You're right: if the price is lower and shipping is cheap and easy then nobody will care if Amazon is "cool" enough. Amazon is so big that they can sell cheaper than just about any competitor and offer things like free shipping. They'll probably have great SEO too, so if you go use your local B&M as a showroom and then google the product you're looking for, Amazon will likely be the first result you see, selling what you're after at a cheaper price than anyone else.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012
  2. brad-t

    brad-t Senior member

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    I'm not convinced that designers are willing to stick a knife in the back of the stores they rely on to exist. Amazon can't make up 100% of their business.
     
  3. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Designers are also worried about Amazon's image as an off-price/low price site, a little like a bazaar, and they've been having issues getting designers. The only real success so far has been their MyHabit flash sale site.

    You also have to realize, to really comprehend the situation, how behind the curve luxury brands and retailers are in terms of understanding and using the digital landscape. A senior partner at the BSG even commented on how few luxury brand reps even understood how much (20%) of the total online retail Amazon controlled. Put it this way. Back in 2005 and 2006, I spent a lot of time trying to convince boutiques and brands that they absolutely needed an online presence. A site with collections and contact information and stockists, at very least, and with e-commerce, if possible (closest connection to the customer). Some brands are still now only testing the waters. A lot of them still see online things as a fad, a trend. This is in 2012, people.
     
  4. Find Finn

    Find Finn Senior member

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    Believe me I know, I have tried telling her for years.



    I have a question.

    How big and expensive items are you guys will to buy online with out have seen or dealt with it in the flesh, would you buy a car?



    I heard today that a danish (photography) retailer has begun to charge a service charge for helping customers, which you will get back, if/when you buy something.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012
  5. Gavin

    Gavin Senior member

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    Coming from a digital marketing background and working on the retail/brand side now, this continues to amaze me.
     
  6. Raindrop

    Raindrop Senior member

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    People are slow to change..especially when they're successful and riding the waves.
     
  7. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    It's more than that. It's an entire industry. Consumer tech to up there in the front, as would be expected, but the extent to which luxury brands (denim is doing a better job) is behind the curve is astounding. And it's not like Barney's (receivership twice in the past decade) is really successful and riding the wave, either.
     
  8. denm bar

    denm bar Active Member

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    Showrooming will not kill business, instead it's just another outlet for consumers to rate products and goods. I'm sure if the store owner were in the same situation he would do the same. It could go both ways however, per say if you are over pricing at your retail spot. We can all agree that overhead costs account for a portion of the price increase from b&m compared to online warehouses but for those who actually appreciate customer service and building rapport with the people of the store will make it what it is.

    IMO, 'showrooming' is another way of signaling new business strategies to keep current and competitive with the digital age. Many people sell the same thing, but its the wow factor that sets it all apart to lure attraction.I guess that's marketing for ya.
     
  9. cyc wid it

    cyc wid it Senior member

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    I wonder if this is (in part) due to a sense of self-importance in that brands feel their products need to be handled in person to be truly appreciated etc. In a vast majority of cases, photos that don't totally suck and an accurate description are more than enough.
     
  10. curzon

    curzon Senior member

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    I've purchased furniture found on the web from the US and Europe and shipped to Asia. Arranging international shipment was not a pointy-clicky task.

    Size and weight determine cost of shipping, and once you're sofa, refrigerator and automobile large you may be well beyond the well-known shipper's limits. Hell, the postmen of many national carriers have miniscule limits. From UK Royal Mail:
    2 kilos?!?

    Weaklings.

    Of course limits create gaps and seams. Just and FedEx, UPS and DHL have eroded the national carries' market share, an opportunity exists for someone to do larger parcels.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012
  11. curzon

    curzon Senior member

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    I've purchased furniture found on the web from the US and Europe and shipped to Asia. Arranging shipment was not a pointy-clicky task.

    Size and weight determine cost of shipping, and once you're sofa, refrigerator and automobile large you're well beyond the well-known shipper's limits. Hell, the postmen of many national carriers have miniscule limits. From UK Royal Mail:
    2 kilos?!?

    Weaklings.

    Of course limits create gaps and seams. Just and FedEx, UPS and DHL have eroded the national carries' market share, an opportunity exists for someone to do larger parcels.
     
  12. notwithit

    notwithit Senior member

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    Not sure you're getting the math...if you buy from the B&M store instead of going home and buying online, you're still spending the same amount of time, money, and petrol; you're just paying a higher price for the item in question. Obviously it's silly if the difference in price is relatively small or if it's a particularly inexpensive item, but you're still saving the difference between the two prices.
     
  13. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Thank you for that. I thought that I might lose my mind soon.
     
    1 person likes this.
  14. Vashin

    Vashin Senior member

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    I believe that in urban centres we're moving away from the big B&M to more specialized, independent B&M stores. For example, music brick and mortars are dying. HMV, the big box music store here has been downsizing and closing down... yet recently there've been more niche record stores popping up around town. Although digital downloads have basically killed big box music, those interested in physical formats have decided that vinyl is the way to go. (Doesn't hurt that for new records you get a digital DL to go with your purchase)

    It's also now easier, cheaper and better to market independent 'stuff'. A lot of people like to support new/unique/handmade stuff as evidenced by the rise of pop-up shops/etsy/kickstarter/indiegogo etc (though new fashion designers have been having trouble with crowdfunding). I think what's going to stop showrooming is to have more catered/niche selection of products... and then perhaps REVERSE-showrooming.

    I watched the pitch of a local tech startup called shopcastr and they basically are a reverse-showroom. They encourage retailers to take pictures of their goods and put it online. This helps potential consumers find and discover unique products. Chairs from the set of Total Recall? Cool. It's also about letting stores tap into people's social graph... the more people (especially friends of fans) get excited and talk about a store online, the more they want to visit the B&M.

    I'm not saying the shopcastr platform will win out and be massively huge, but I do believe this is the direction consumers and stores will be moving towards... There's a lot of opportunity for innovative ways to get people into the B&M. You just have to make the experience beyond just buying goods in the most efficient manner. (which online stores like amazon are amazingly good at)
     
  15. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I wish that was the case where I live, but the rents have become so high and the leases so one-sided that only major national chains can afford the triple net lease terms and $$$ build-outs. Rent alone for a B&M specialty store is what is killing specialty IMO.

    We have an attractive and lively downtown area, but when a specialty store closes, now a Starbucks, Apple or major women's fashion apparel chain takes over the lease (or a restaurant). Landlords would rather have the guaranteed rental income from a major chain rather than take a gamble on the failure of a small, specialty store. You can't blame them. It is simply an economic reality.
     
  16. Meis

    Meis Senior member

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    Also, for those of us that live in major cities with public transit (and use unlimited monthly passes or the equivalent) there's 0 travel costs... if I want to check out an item at Barneys before buying it from some online-only retailer it costs me no $ to do so.
     
  17. TWorksheets

    TWorksheets Senior member

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    While that's technically true if you don't take into account the time spent travelling, I think we're still confusing the point. The travel/time cost is irrelevant in both cases because you would have to pay for transportation if you were going to the B&M to try the item on or purchase it.


    Wouldn't it be fair to chalk some of this hesitance up to the fact that clothing is a high risk item to buy online? If I buy a book, or iPod online I can be almost certain that I will still be able to derive some sort of utility out of it even if It's not exactly what I wanted. With clothing, if it doesn't fit or you don't want to wear it (due to styling, materiel, etc) it's 100% useless. I would personally be curious to hear what the relative cost of returns is for a clothing e-tailer vs. a site that sells books or electronics or something
     
  18. BLAUGRANA

    BLAUGRANA Senior member

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    Hell, I have the Amazon app on my phone. I made a trip to a "Half Price Books" a few months ago. I went with the sole purpose of selling or hopefully trading some books. So I dropped my box off and then looked around. I hadn't been to one in forever and spent a good hour looking. I put the app to the test and it worked out great. Amazon was the same price OR LESS than Half Price Books. What's more they only paid cash for my books and gave me almost nothing. It's funny because going in I was like "how does this place stay in business" and then I saw the prices and what they give you for what you're selling and quickly figured it out.

    Their shoe site, I can't for the life of me think of the name of it, has a TON of designers on it and rivals Zappos and Piperlime. Piperlime is a bit smaller than the other two, but Endless (that's the name) and Zappos are both big and Endless has some bigger name designers.

    At the end of the day I think the small designers will stay away. You may see some collaborations here or there and even some buyouts, but I don't see some of them who actually post here on Styleforum joining forces with an Amazon.

    I agree on the online presence. I keep telling my employees this when a store in town here closes. I'm either like "did you see their website" or "they didn't have an online presence." You really need to be in a big market to get away without one or have been in business for some time.
     
  19. Find Finn

    Find Finn Senior member

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    Furniture is one thing as they are easy to see quality etc. from a good picture and fabrics etc. come from big manufacturers, so if it says Kvadrat fabric you know what it is.

    I was wondering regarding f.ex. cars, as people around here are complaining that main dealer showrooms are to big and expensive, so if they closed down and you could only buy a brand new car via their website, would you?

    I have been looking a used MB's and BMW's lately and some of the dealers 100-500km away offer to ship the car to you, which means you buy a car from a picture without test driving it etc.




    Someone got where I was getting at.
     
  20. Raindrop

    Raindrop Senior member

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    Free shipping and return is what kills B&M lol
     

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