Words by Stacey Hailes
UK Vogue editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman has weighed in on the bricks and clicks debate, stating that she believes independent retailers have unique opportunities to thrive on the high street.
Speaking at fashion trade show Pure London, the fashion icon said that whilst consumers are always looking for something new, she is a firm believer that they also value the familiar and excellent customer service.
Shulman went on to encourage independent retailers to constantly ask themselves ‘what is the extra thing you can do to make you customer attach to you?’.
Recognising the scale and demand for online shopping, Shulman noted that it doesn’t necessarily work for everyone and admitted that she is not an online shopper herself; physically entering a store, browsing, discovering and having an assistant on hand to help is what she enjoys about the buying experience.
Discussing how independent retailers can use online to drive sales, Shulman explained the importance of digital tools such as Instagram, a channel digital experts Rosalind Shimmen and Georgie White also highlighted during a seminar at Jewellery & Watch on boosting your online business profile. Shulman said retailers can use the social media platform to showcase new products in store and appeal to the ‘see now, buy now’ consumer, and also tease pieces set to be launched in store soon.
She added that the motivations of the independent consumer and luxury consumer are essentially the same and therefore brands and retailers need to create excitement and deliver demanding customer expectations, whatever the product.
Shulman summarised with her two most important pieces of advice. She said: “Why me? What can I bring that is new to the party?’ She encouraged brands and retailers to follow those that are successful and take leads from others but never copy; however, her leading insight is creating the desire factor, ‘it is about what customers want not need.”