Thursday, 10 July 2014

Comparative Competitive Shopping 3

Staying with my parents, my choice of retailers for a last post comparing online to in-store shopping experience was a little limited. I planned to do homeware, but there's not much available in the city centre - no Habitat or Heals or Conran store.
So I went for a brand that started out selling cushions, ironing board covers, etc. though it has diversified since. It's known for its prints and is apparently on the point of being sold.

The windows displayed bags, of different prints and styles, in distressed wooden crates. Inside the store, more crates presented homeware - cooking/baking utensils, tea caddies, biscuits and so on. The front left of the store was given over to further homeware, the right was bags and the middle was smaller leather/canvas goods - purses, passport covers, sunglasses cases...
A wall behind a central till unit separated the front from the middle of the shop which was selling children's-ware and stationery, nightware and washbags, and womenswear. Then, there was another wall, behind which were cushions, blankets, bolts of fabric, sewing boxes and wallpaper.
The decor - not what I went in to look at - was quite interesting. If you looked up above the products, there were local postcards, tea towels and samplers; in the kids' section, there were old abaci and alphabet charts. It showed an impressive attention to detail and evinced the traditional but idiosyncratic spirit of the brand. I was impressed.

Above the fold on the website homepage, there was one large image of several bags. As in the store windows, they were a mix of floral, spot and bird prints. They were hanging from some distressed wooden pegs, reminiscent of school pegs, and in the foreground was a Penguin edition of Sterne's A Sentimental Journey. Again, there was something classic but quirky about the book; it might also have been meant to instil wanderlust and a desire for some new luggage.
The images directly under the fold linked to fashion, bags and accessories (purses, etc.); these categories were also the first three on the top navigation bar. So the site seemed to have less of a focus on homeware, and more of a focus on fashion, than the store. All in all though, I would say that merchandise (and brand) was very much aligned in store and online.

So I think this will be the last of my comparative posts. I'm actually about to leave London and start a new job - it'll be a slightly different role, a different industry and a different end of the market.
Therefore, the focus of the blog will be changing slightly - should be interesting though!