The big appeal of online shopping is convenience: browsing products to purchase at any hour of the day or night and having them delivered to your home without braving the world outside. That convenience loses some of its shine if you miss the postie and end up spending a chunk of your Saturday morning lining up at the Post Office, thanks to Australia Post’s 9-5 opening hours.
Today online fashion retailer The Iconic opened its new Collection Bar at the Mirvac Broadway Shopping Centre in Sydney. Instead of opting for home delivery, buyers can pick up their items purchased online from the kiosk, try them on in the change rooms installed in a shipping container, and even return them all in the one spot.
The Collection Bar is located right outside a Harvey Norman store and franchisee Laura de Vere Hunt is pleased with the presence of the kiosk and the extra foot traffic it will bring to her store. “I think it’s great and I really hope it takes off,” she said.
When asked if she thought Harvey Norman could do something similar in the future she said it was definitely a possibility, especially considering how much missed deliveries cost a business.
Justine Hughes, general manager of Mirvac Shopping Centre spoke about how online retail combines, not competes, with bricks and mortar retail and that Mirvac was investing in creating “a unique retail destination focused on today’s modern shopper.”
“It’s a very exciting occasion for us to launch this new service which is a first for Australian retail and one that is set to revolutionise the relationship between online and bricks and mortar retailers.
“Here at Mirvac innovation is a key part of our strategy to continue to deliver solutions that improve the shopping experience and drive new customers to our centre… Being innovative is about seeing change as an opportunity not a threat,” she said.
Hughes quoted research conducting by ParcelPoint, a partner in the Collection Bar, that two thirds of online shoppers are frustrated by missed deliveries and 60 per cent have problems receiving deliveries at their place of work.
Adam Jacobs managing director of the Iconic said he believed, “Technology provides an opportunity to design the future of retail and to allow customers to interact with products and shop in completely new and innovative ways.”
“The Collection Bar is a true Australian first. It’s the merge of online retail and bricks and mortar retail in a way that makes the customer really happy and allows them to do what they want and explore the products they want to buy and collect them and receive them in a very convenient and easy manner.”
Julien Leach commercial director and co-founder of ParcelPoint said Australians want shopping experiences which fit in with their daily routines. “Australians hate receiving calling cards and Australians hate going to the post office to line up to pick up or return a parcel.”
“Retail is changing very fast and we can’t stop the change, the consumer frankly is in control. We’ve got a couple options, we can either try to keep up or we can get in front, and what excites us about this is, this is about getting out in front. This really is innovation,” he said.
The selection of Broadway of the first site was a strategic one, a project manager from Mirvac said. The area has one of the highest rates of internet usage in Australia, and is home to key online shopping demographics: students and young professionals.
She also said the project came together in just a few months, from just an idea in December 2013 to a reality today, and that when you see a trend in retail you have to capitalise on it quickly.
One fashion retailer Appliance Retailer spoke to with a store just around the corner from the new Iconic counter wasn’t at all worried about competition from her new neighbours. After all, her brand already has online shop and foot traffic was steady into the store, she said.
The Collection Bar officially opened today and is located level one of Broadway Shopping Centre. It will be open from 8am to 8pm daily, and 8am to 9pm on Thursdays.