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28 June 2018 | Innovation

The Warehouse meets the future of retail

The Warehouse Group is drawn to innovation, but never for innovation’s sake. What works for customers is what works for our brands, and that’s going to be activated in amazing new ways as TWG’s newly appointed Chief Digital Officer settles into her role.

Michelle Anderson starts counting off the trends that are becoming the new normal for The Warehouse, long seen as New Zealand’s standard-bearer for retail innovation.“ Once upon a time if you saw something you liked on Instagram you had to do a bit of online sleuthing to find the exact product,” she says. Not so for The Warehouse’s fans, who can already benefit from the Red Shed’s quick move to a tap-and-buy version of Instagram storytelling. One tap brings up the product description, another takes you through to the product online. Customers can go from admiring to buying in mere seconds.

It’s not the only bit of smart thinking The Warehouse has brought forward for customers to shop the way they want. “In the future, we might see stores that only carry display stock, to deliver the physical touch and feel experience that consumers want, but with the convenience of online delivery,” says Michelle. That future is already here, in a cheeky and effective way. Customers can already browse in stores and then order online, on the spot, with The Warehouse mobile app.

The snappy barcode system turns all of our stores into ready-made showrooms. Customers need only to scan a product’s barcode using the app and add it to their online cart. Better yet, it allows customers to take advantage of any online-exclusive deals that they might have otherwise missed out on. “This also allows sales assistants to spend less time stocking and tidying shelves, and more time helping customers find what they need.”

Michelle says The Warehouse is constantly looking at how things can be tweaked or improved for customers. “For example, we’ve been trialling things like two-hour delivery, click and collect lockers, and Shipmate, a partnership with New Zealand Post where you get unlimited deliveries for a flat fee.

“We’ve been looking at the whole journey from a customer’s initial user experience on the site right through to packaging and delivery.” Right now, thewarehouse.co.nz is most popular with women aged 25 – 44, with canned goods, nappies, and wipes selling through the roof. These trends underpin the convenience element of The Warehouse’s online retailing, says Michelle.

“But our online shopping customer base is growing all the time, and we find that once people discover how good the experience is, they keep coming back.”

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