In today’s preview of our annual conference, Internet Retailing 2012 (IR 2012), to be held in London on October 9, we have our latest in a series of interviews with speakers at the event. Gracia Amico, head of ecommerce at Topman , tells us how the men’s fashion retailer is handling the faster commerce that shoppers in this sector now want.
Internet Retailing: At Internet Retailing 2012 you'll be discussing how you, and other fashion retailers, are now handling faster commerce. What is Topman's experience of what customers want - and when they want it? Has that changed markedly in recent years?
Gracia Amico, head of ecommerce at Topman: It is all about convenience. Customers want to be able to shop when it suits them. This could be as much in a store as online or on a mobile device. They want to be in control of when and how they receive it. This should include next day delivery or picking up from a store. It should fit into their daily life. For example, if they work near a store they would want to be able to pick up their order during their lunch break the next day at that store. Shopping has become a much more fluid part of their daily lives and we have to respond to that.
IR: How have you responded - and what results have you seen?
GA: We are doing a pilot of buying online and picking up in store. We have realised there is a great demand for this. We are still experimenting with this. Next would be buying online in store. We also have a mobile website. Again, growth of this is impressive and where the attention should be.
IR: What have the biggest challenges been that you've seen - and how have you dealt with them?
GA: The biggest challenge is definitely having the right systems in place. We are part of a very big group and are predominantly a highstreet retailer. To adapt to the new ecommerce era is challenging and takes time and investment. It will be a worthwhile journey. The results so far are proof of that.
IR: How do you see the future of this sector? Do you anticipate major changes, and in which direction?
GA: Eventually the stores estate might shrink or there will be more smaller stores and these will cater for picking up and ordering internet orders. The role of the flagship store will certainly remain essential as part of a fulfilling and inspirational brand experience. I would guess that pure retailers will increasingly look for high street presence even if this is only collection points. I think the next big thing is TV shopping. All that time spent in front of the television will be marked as a very convenient and fast way of doing your shopping.
Gracia Amico will be one of the panellists discussing Speeding up operations in challenging markets, in stream three of Internet Retailing 2012. The discussion starts at 4.15pm.