On the surface InStitchu.com seems like any other pure play eCommerce men’s clothing store – using their online presence to compete on price against traditional retailers. For many, it was unexpected to see the online retailer open 3 show rooms in London, Sydney, and Melbourne; locations where you can book an appointment, get measured, try on products, and have them conveniently shipped days later. They aren’t selling from the store which seems odd…but we think InStitchu are just being bold.
In the past we’ve posted about the operational expertise traditional retailers have, being forced to survive in an industry with high overhead, seasonal fluctuations, and intense pressure from nimble eCommerce players. What makes Institchu different is they embrace the fact that some customers want an in-store experience. Trying combinations of jackets, shirts, and ties is a hallmark of buying a suit, and it is important for many of their customers, possibly more than price.
So why did InStitchu take on this seemingly low return strategy? It’s pretty clear that they want to deliver more than just low cost goods to their customers – their clients get the shopping experience (for a small fee of course), and once client details are saved in their online profile they operate identically to their online customers. Even if they simply break-even on each show room, they continue to receive the lifetime value of each client through online ordering.
Creating a show room experience demonstrates that traditional retail doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Pop-up shops, temporary locations, and other experience devices are important, low cost ways of providing opportunities for customers to interact with brands in their preferred way – and InStitchu is taking full advantage.