Fellows watch business manager Adrian Hailwood talks about how the company has taken the traditional watch auction business and transformed it into a dynamic online concept.
WatchPro: In what ways does Fellows offer a new concept for watches online?
Adrian Hailwood: Fellows takes the best aspects of online retail – clear, professional photography, easy to use client interface, integrity backed by an established reputation – and applies it to the traditionally conservative and staid world of auctions. This provides great value for buyers and high prices for sellers in an environment of honesty and transparency.
WP: Have there been any challenges in reassuring people that auctions for high-end products can be carried out online?
AH: The first eight years were terribly quiet as the public still had not embraced online retailing at any price point as the norm. These were the investment years so that when retail made the big move online three years ago we were ready and ahead of the game. Our reputation for total – sometimes brutal – honesty in our product descriptions, along with multiple high-quality photographs gives bidders the confidence to buy remotely regardless of the value.
WP: Do you think watch brands need to embrace online space for selling and educating about and watches and why?
AH: Online presence is a great tool to tell your story and interact with your customer. It breaks down barriers of time and distance and allows a two-way conversation about your product. Not all brands are geared up for this – or want that level of interaction. The personal experience is still important for many buyers, to try a watch on and get a real sense of it, but the internet gives the opportunity for a buyer to thoroughly research a purchase before they venture out to a boutique. If you can create a compelling experience at this point – with enough corroborative chat in the forums and blogs you can capture the sale at an early stage.
This article first appeared in the September issue of WatchPro. To see the full digital version of the magazine, click here.