Global e-Commerce is predicted to reach $963 billion by 2013, according to projections from JP Morgan. As a result, more retailers worldwide are extending brick-and-mortar offerings to the web to boost brand awareness, acquire new customers and increase purchases.
Reflecting this trend, Laura Canada, a women’s fashion brand, has launched its first online storefront, allowing consumers to browse inventory, access detailed product information and complete purchases at any time.
The Montreal-based retailer has leveraged the multichannel shopping experience in several ways, such as using a web-based location navigator to identify all 107 brick-and-mortar Laura Canada stores across Canada. Using this feature, shoppers have instant access to the phone number and address of the brick-and-mortar store closest to their locations.
Additionally, through a partnership with Canada Post, Laura Canada is empowering consumers to have their items delivered to a more diverse range of locations. With the “Ship To Post Office” feature, consumers can have their orders sent to any one of 6,000 Canada Post locations. Ten percent of orders within the first two weeks of the Laura.ca launch were shipped to post offices, according to Sam Barnes, Director of e-Commerce for Laura Canada, indicating a growing need for more flexible delivery options.
Delivering A Memorable Online Shopping Experience
The new online storefront, developed on the OrderDynamics platform, was designed to feature all inventory from the four Laura Canada brands: Laura, Laura Plus, Laura Petites and Laura Plus Petites. An interactive “Shop The Look” feature also is included on the site, which provides a variety of outfits styled by the Laura Canada team. Shoppers can browse each outfit, and either purchase specific items or full ensembles.
“We knew that e-Commerce was the best way to engage our customers,” Barnes said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “With this new site, we want to offer our customers effective tools to ensure they have exceptional brand experiences that reflect our brick-and-mortar experience.”
For example, Barnes and the Laura Canada team knew it was imperative to offer detailed photographs of products, as well as in-depth zooming capabilities “so that shoppers could really appreciate the fabrics and construction of our garments,” Barnes said. The retailer also modeled apparel on live models for product photographs, “so our customers can see how the garments actually will hang and flow.”
As Laura Canada continues to promote the new e-Commerce site, establishing and refining the multichannel brand strategy will be key, according to Barnes. “We believe in a multichannel retail approach,” he said. “We want our online offering to provide the same level of service and attention to detail as one would get from our stores. Our primary goal is to make the whole environment as seamless as possible between the online and physical stores.”