There is an argument for bricks and mortar stores that can be explained by witnessing a good salesperson on the floor engaging with a customer. Whereas us online retailers try our very best to emulate such an experience on our web stores; even going to the point, as I have seen recently, with 360 degree pictures of shoes on Saks' website, and, in the case of some of the others, a model walking in and out of your browser pane wearing the garment and doing a full turn so you can see it on all angles; none of this comes close to replacing a hands-on one-on-one approach between a well-versed salesperson and their customer. It simply cannot be replicated.
Which is why we end up having to discount so much of our silks online - mostly to entice customers to explore new patterns, shapes, geometrics or simply a new product. Below this week I was forced to spruik my silk eye shades. It felt ridiculous to have to do it, but seemingly no amount of enticement on the website, even by way of heavily discounting them, would get the ball rolling for our international customers.
In the store it's very easy to sell them. You simply ask the customer if they've ever owned a pair or used them on a long haul flight. Then you ask them to try them on. Already you've got them 75% sold. The silk is so soft, any ambient light is blocked out. They are so very comfortable, the customer feels a soft cushion wrapped in silk covering their eyes, what's not to like? Then I show fold them into a top pocket of a jacket and show them how they can be worn as a pochette with a sports jacket on a plane or with a smoking jacket to a wedding (see below). By that stage all you need to ask them is which colour do they prefer. Sold.
Meanwhile on the web.... Customers look up and down an image. If you haven't deep etched it properly they think something is wrong with the product. If you didn't give them 55 angles of the product so they feel like they know it inside and out, they'll pass, because they don't want to take any chances, play it safe, this guy makes great bow ties.... what do I need silk eye shades for anyway?
The web is a wonderful place and it is filled with beautiful things being made all around the world, but it can never and will never be a bricks and mortar store. For that, thankfully, we have the Studio in Sydney, where we can serve our customers one on one.