IMRG – High street sales drop while online gains big wins

IMRG and Capgemini

A good report from the Capgemini and IMRG guys recently, (don’t know why they have to do the report together -maybe holding hands so they don’t get scared!), stating that online sales are now accounting for 17% of all retail sales and that this is predicted to rise to between 30% and 50% in the next five years. This is huge!

Not only do high street retailers have to start thinking about how this affects their business models – they have to do so soon as the credit crunch hits the high street and pushes even more people online. Fuel prices, convenience, cost savings, and cold dark weather are all factors influencing the shift.

James Roper, IMRG’s Chief Executive is quoted as saying “Clothing and footwear sales were the biggest losers in physical stores in June with sales flat or lower despite heavy discounting”. In fact, we’ve seen stores like Black trying out 50% discounts right now to stack them high and sell them cheap – smacking of desperation perhaps? He goes on to say “Online, internet clothing sales were up to 32% and footwear rose by 38%.”

In fact, with things like free delivery and Zero Hassle returns, high resolution multi-angle images, and a nice shopping experience at sites like Webtogs – is there any more reasons NOT to shop online?

Read More

Let’s all do the Kongur

I’d be lying if when I started to think about coming to work for Webtogs that I didn’t start dribbling over the prospect of getting my hands on some quality gear! In particular my old Karrimor XCR jacket has lasted well, but at 6 years old, it was beginning to show it’s age and give up the Ghost. Although I have only been here a month, my first snaffle has taken the form of the Mountain Equipment Kongur MRT jacket.

ME Kongur Jacket

For those not familiar with the standard Kongur jacket, it’s made in Gores best 3 Layer Pro Shell to cope with the worst that Winter can throw at you. One of the downsides from my old coat is that my climbing days are most likely long gone, so I had no need of a short coat for a harness and I really wanted something with a longer cut to keep me Bum warm. There are more pockets than a Gilet that come in handy when you have a pack on. Drawcords are anti-snag and tucked nicely away and my biggest love are the pit zips. I tend to run hot, and these keep me nice and cool if I start to overheat and don’t want to take the coat off.

ME Kongur Jacket

The main differernces with the MRT version are reinforcements around the waist, shoulders and hood, all places you will see most wear and tear if you are out rescuing some numpty who has decided that Flipflops are appropriate mouintain wear. It’s also the brightest red you have ever seen, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone tried to post a letter when I am on the Hill and couple this with reflective stripes on key areas, visibility is not going to be an issue.

As always with ME jackets, I love the fit which is snug without being tight and has fantastic maneuverability in the Hood and Arms. We have sold a few of these recently, and have been getting some great feedback

“What can I say? – It’s AWESOME! Nothing short of living up to the jackets claim, it is clearly worth the investment. Tried and tested in terrible weather in the Lakes at the weekend and it did a perfect job.”

Nigel Waters

If you are looking for a solid Winter Mountain jacket, that’ll stand being used and abused, look no further.

Read More

eConsultancy reviews Webtogs

eConsultancy UK

We had a good interview and review of the site posted today by those nice chaps at eConsultancy, and you can read the full interview here.

It was actually interesting to talk about how the last 6 months have gone with Webtogs and how much we’ve done and learnt in that time period. In particular they focussed on the product page changes we’ve recently made, the checkout process, and how we are currently marketing the site. While this is some important stuff – I realised it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

What we haven’t yet talked about on the blog but must do soon:

  • How the new warehouse and office move went
  • How we’ve gone about building a really good customer service team
  • Who the team members now actually are and their backgrounds
  • What stats we measure about the site and why
  • What our dev roadmap looks like for the next few months
  • When are we finally putting customer reviews, editor reviews, and videos live
  • How we’ve found working with the big outdoor brands
  • My experience with dealing with the price comparison engines (this could be a biggy)

I think one thing is for sure – everyone has been stretched to the limit right now but we’ve been pushing on with the adrenalin rush of creating something big and meaningful. Now – where’s that Redbull!

Read More

Made it

Well we are here, and whatever I expected life to be like down in Tractor land, the reality has been somewhat different…. Moving from a corporate environment to a start up has been an eye opener. The amount of work and things that need to be done is sometimes overwhelming, but I am slowly getting my head around the fact that sometimes being able to tie up all loose ends is simply not possible! This has definitely been a strange one for me coming from such an organised working environment before hand, but the opportunity to actually design and influence the systems we will need to be able to do our work is amazing. The freedom is both liberating and a little scary if I am honest.

One thing I can’t compromise on though is our commitment to customer service. My main role here is to ensure that we have the systems in place to provide legendary customer service and we simply cannot get this wrong. My own experience of using outdoor gear websites has nearly always been disappointing from no accurate indication of items being in or out of stock, to poor delivery companies (Andy Howell touched on this here). Our aim is to get right both the product we advise our customers on, our stock situation and realistic delivery times of products 100% of the time.

From an outdoors perspective we have already been reaping the benefits, being able to get straight out in to the countryside and get some serious walking under belts has been brilliant. We have some paths near to our house but this weekend past saw us heading out to Duncliffe woods

Trekking through Duncliffe Wood

I’m not sure what it is, but the smell of woods in Autumn is one of life’s great aromas. It was a steep ascent to the top of the hill and as my son was on my back, I realised quickly how out of shape I had become. The hard slog was worth it though and we were rewarded with views out towards Shillingston. Then it was down through the Oak and Beech trees amongst some stunning colours as autumn begins to bite. I ended up having to limbo under horse barriers with a sleeping son on my back before wandering through the mushrooms that cropped up overnight. What else could we finish up with but a pint and lunch in the local before a snooze on the sofa.

Mushrooms Duncliffe Wood

Life ain’t bad if you ask me.

Read More