Ecommerce and specialty retail join forces
While many specialty retail brands typically operate in the physical world, executives are acknowledging the benefits of the virtual arena.
Once trust has been established between a customer and a company, it's likely the patron will begin purchasing products from that merchant online. Why? He or she has physically tested the retailer's items several times before, so the consumer already knows what to expect as far as quality is concerned.
According to Fortune, Neiman Marcus Group, a merchant specializing in luxury apparel, recently announced the acquisition of Munich-based ecommerce website Mytheresa.com, which was founded by Christoph and Susanne Botschen in conjunction with Acton Capital Partners.
Neiman Marcus already brings specialty clothing to well-to-do consumers living in 120 countries, generating nearly $5 billion in sales every year. The enterprise is looking to expand its reach without having to set up additional brick-and-mortar stores. Instead, it hopes to leverage ecommerce as a means to provide luxury clothing to those who have yet to encounter the Neiman Marcus brand.
"This acquisition is an important component of our long-range strategy to more broadly serve affluent customers around the world. Mytheresa has a very nice foothold in Europe and a developing foothold in Asia," said Mytheresa.com CEO Karen Katz.
What needs to be in place
While Neiman Marcus is likely already familiar with the steps needed to procure ecommerce software, other specialty retail outlets that have yet to penetrate the digital realm likely don't know where to start. Forbes contributors Grent Gleeson and Jeff Oxford detailed how to set up a website, from choosing a solutions provider to designing the interface.
- Exceed expectations: There are plenty of platform providers out there that are PCI DSS compliant, but do their architectures surpass the standards defined by the Payment Card Industry? Look for solution developers that go the extra mile regarding security. Look for systems that employ tokenization, black box authentication and endpoint encryption.
- Make it smart: What defines a smart-looking website? One that's easy to navigate and projects the character of the brand. Specialty retail ecommerce stores should appear sleek, refined and constructed by knowledgeable professionals. As a general rule of thumb, finding a specific item should take no longer than 30 seconds.
In addition, the checkout process shouldn't be ignored. If it takes more than two minutes for a person to finalize a purchase online, then revisit the steps and start over.