Bathstore CEO Gary Favell claims independent retailers must embrace online and implement an omni-channel strategy to survive.
Speaking at the kbbreview Retail & Design Conference, Favell (pictured) warned that independents operating without a solid web presence alongside their showrooms are missing a vital part of the customer journey.
“In today’s market, no one can survive as a store unless they invest in a website and online presence that complements their showroom,” he said. “These days, consumers aren’t just going to walk into your store, they have more of a destination way of shopping now than they have ever done.
“They are out there researching products online right now and if you aren’t part of that cycle, then more fool you.”
Favell said that while transactional sites are useful, at the level of the market Bathstore and independent specialists operate in, the most important aspect of an omni-channel approach is to make the service proposition and presentation in-store and online the same quality.
“You don’t have to have the marketing budget of a multimillion-pound organisation to get this right,” he said. “Seventy-three per cent of Bathstore customers start their journey online, so we have invested in the elements that grab consumers’ attention during the online journey, including imagery and site navigation, as well as making the site transactional. All of those elements also help lead consumers in-store.”
According to Favell, by investing in an omni-channel strategy, Bathstore has doubled its turnover in the past four years.