Fashionistas and shopping enthusiasts have no doubt heard of (or shopped from) Zalora before. This famous e-commerce shopping site is taking the shopping experience offline once again by opening a click-and-mortar store in Penang, Malaysia. While the term brick-and-mortar — meaning the physical presence of a building and structure — is more well known, click-and-mortar stores are slowly making their presence known in today’s technology riddled age.
Click-and-mortar business models, according to Investopedia, include both websites and physical stores, allowing customers to enjoy the benefit of both fast online transactions and face-to-face service. This is exactly what Zalora has done.
Zalora’s latest click-and-mortar store is currently open for business in Gurney Plaza, Georgetown. This seems to be an odd choice of location, since there are other more populated areas in Malaysia where it could’ve fared better. We got ahold of Luca Barberis, the marketing head of Zalora Malaysia, to explain this choice of location to us: “The choice about where to set up a temporary store depends strongly on the location available. When a premium mall offers us a space in a premium location for an interesting period of time, we evaluate the opportunity,” he explained.
“Penang is Zalora’s second largest market in Malaysia after Klang Valley,” he added. “So far we are focused on pop-up stores in second and third tier cities mainly as a way to increase our penetration of the market outside of Klang Valley, where ZALORA is less strong.”
Touch it, Feel it, Buy it
Shopping online may be scary, especially for first time online shoppers. Zalora’s pop-up store allows shoppers to feel and try on the clothing, accessories and shoes prior to making the purchases. This is not the first pop-up store that Zalora has done. Zalora previously had stores in Johor Bahru, Johor, Kuching, Sarawak and Kota Kinablu, Sabah. We also wrote about the physical pop-up store at ION Orchard, Singapore in October last year. The store in Penang will be open from 15 December 2014 till 13 March 2015.
According to Luca, the response so far has been great: “We are getting hundreds of orders per day and plenty of questions by our customers across all our digital channels.”
How it works
“It’s a digital store,” answered Luca to our question on how this business model works. “Customers can touch and feel the clothes displayed at the store. They can even try them in the fitting room! The purchase is done on the several iMacs and HuaWei tablets available at the store.”
According to their press release on the pop-up store executed in Singapore last year, purchasing from the store is a three part process:
- Customers can pick up and try on specially curated products displayed in-store.
- Customers can browse lookbooks for styling tips and how to mix and match pieces with the tables available in the store.
- Once they decide on what to purchase, they can scan the barcode and process their purchases at the self-serve express checkout.
What it doesn’t do is let customers walk away with the purchases immediately. Instead, they will have to wait for their purchases to be delivered to their doorstep. While this may be attractive to some since it means not having to lug around the purchases all day, it may also turn some shoppers off as it takes away from the instant gratification of bringing home their purchases with them.
Whatever the case though, we think Zalora is doing shopping the right way. It was only a few weeks back when Mr. Tang Wee Sung shared that digital retail space will never be able to replace brick-and-mortar shops. Zalora’s answer to this problem is definitely commendable.