A new app is helping retailers link customers with online shopping options, benefiting both the e-commerce operator and retailer alike, while helping customers try before they buy in a convenient location.
Matsuya Ginza launched a revamped online store last month, making it possible to not only order product sold in the Ginza store, but also from hundreds of other brands, with the product then delivered to Matsuya Ginza for trying on. The site has been built in cooperation with IT firm Tab, with the aim to offer an online to offline model that increases footfall to stores, maximises the number of SKUs they can offer without increasing inventory risk, all while reducing customer barriers to online purchases of items such as shoes – because they can try them on first in store.
Tab launched its eponymous shopping mall as a mobile app late October (mall.tab.do), dedicated to allowing consumers to order a wide selection of product and have the item delivered to their nearest store – even though the said store does not normally stock the brand – where they can check it and try it on. Its first partners were Matsuya in Tokyo and Senshukai’s Belle Maison stores in Osaka. Tab expects to widen its coverage to cover the nation within the next year. Other partners so far include Diral in Daikanayama and Rainbow Spectrum in Shibuya. Product categories include women’s and men’s apparel and accessories, food, pet accessories and interiors.
Customers can purchase the product within the store after trying it on, bringing new income into the store, and a commission is paid to Tab. Any product the customer does not want is returned free of charge – unless a customer doesn’t show up, in which case a shipping fee is charged. Tab says the service can be profitable because the ability to try on and examine product greatly reduces the chances of returns.
For retail partners, Tab offers the chance to both widen the range of brands and products they can offer without any inventory risk, while potentially also bringing in new types of customers to their stores. It also allows them to see what kind of product consumers are buying into. In Matsuya’s case the arrangement means that in footwear alone it can offer 20,000 SKUs not stocked in its Ginza store.
Matsuya has set up a customer service centre within the Ginza store to handle Tab enquiries. It hopes for sales of ¥10 million per month in the first few months and expects to become the largest department store in Japan by SKUs offered within the next six months.
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