In light of the recent developments within the Australasian surf retail landscape, the Independent Surf Retailers Alliance (ISRA) have set out to explore e-commerce platform options for it’s members.
The recent demise of Surfstitch, Australia’s biggest online surf retailer has highlighted integral industry issues, including lowered consumer expectation on price due to continuous online promotional activity, which in turn has compromised numerous independent bricks and mortar retail businesses.
The ISRA group feels there is an opportunity for the industry to re-set as a result of the current Surfstitch situation.
There’s no two ways about it, the online channel has commoditized our industry niche and the ISRA group have experienced this first-hand”.
“With Surfstitch’s current situation there is a real opportunity for brands to take back control of their value proposition and along the way reset consumer expectations” explains ISRA committee member Anthony Wilson.
The ISRA vision for online retail is two-fold:
- To create a premium online experience with end of season clearance or markdowns to take place offline (in physical locations) if required.
- The premium online shopping experience to be reflective of the in-store experience, being informative of brand and product story.
The ISRA group will be investigating platforms and options for the group to bring their online vision to life.
Preliminary discussions have identified a number of potential solutions, including:
- Integration with participating retailers POS and inventory management systems and order fulfilment from the nearest store.
- A drop-ship model with fulfilment by brand partners.
- Fulfilment from a central warehouse.
- A central or ‘mothership’ website, listing all retail partners.
- A white label option for retailers to have their own branded site.
“We firmly believe the online channel must add value to the customer experience. Online has got to be about delivering a premium message and experience to our consumer.” explains ISRA’s Andy Ireland.
Initial support of the ISRA online concept from key industry brands has been really positive.
“From the discussions that I’ve had there is a very real appetite for change in the way we go about business” said Anthony Wilson “I think brands are realizing that the online consumer is the same consumer that is walking into retail stores, there’s not this mystical place called ‘online’ with people waiting with credit card in hand”
The ISRA Committee will present the various options at the upcoming member meeting in October.
We’re not wedded to any one particular option; we will consider the strengths and weaknesses and no doubt have a robust discussion in October”.
Naturally, we will take on board feedback from key brand partners as part of the process” added Andy “In the meantime, we encourage Industry Brands to really consider our ISRA group position and how as a brand they are being perceived across all channels.”
The Independent Surf Retailers Alliance Inc. (ISRA) is a not for profit organization, established by, and run by Independent Surf Retailers.
ISRA accounts for 70+ stores and $95+M in retail sales and employ 650+ people. The alliance is dedicated to supporting this select group of Independent Surf Retailers through shared business knowledge and experience, communicating with key industry suppliers through a united voice. Membership is on a per store basis with core values being that our members are ‘like-minded’ and ‘non-competing’.
For further comment or information please contact:
Andy Ireland firstname.lastname@example.org
Anthony Wilson Anthony@wilsonretail.com.au