Stick to your knitting
As a small or niche brand should you focus on your strengths and outsource the rest? Continual investment in sophisticated technology is becoming unsustainable for all but the largest players and we’re starting to see the emergence of a new wholesale model via the digital department store, together with a more holistic approach to partnerships and alliances.
Next The Label offers a wide selection which drives considerable traffic to its’ site and it has now taken the next logical step with Total Platform, whereby smaller brands can leverage all the back office functions of warehousing, fulfilment and logistics and focus their own resources on the added value areas of product design, marketing and customer experience. And crucially, unlike some 3rd party sites, this enables them to maintain control of their data. Peter Williams of Jack Wills fame has just relaunched his Aubin brand and, for him, a tie up with Next was a no brainer.
You may have seen recently that M&S has finally embraced other brands, such as Ghost, Hobbs, Joules and Jaeger – which it acquired in another first earlier this year – which fit, and hopefully extend, its consumer demographic. John Lewis is now following suit, introducing 100 third party brands to its website over the next 12 months. Reduced margins for both parties are offset by greater awareness, access, convenience and consumer choice – a win/win all round.
And just last week, US giant Walmart has launched GoLocal, a third-party service allowing smaller retailers to tap into its delivery infrastructure and of course this allows the world’s 2nd largest retailer to compete more effectively with the first!