Watchfinder brand director Lloyd Amsdon has had first hand experience of the impression a strong multichannel strategy can make.
In this Q&A, Amsdon tells WatchPro about the challenges and rewards of a fully comprehensive approach to business and of selling watches online.
WatchPro: Does the fact that Watchfinder developed from online to a bricks-and-mortar store make it unique in the watch world and why?
Lloyd Amsdon: Our plan was always to be a multichannel retailer – our customers have driven most of our key developments and this is their biggest demand. We have seen businesses fail that picked the wrong mix of on and offline, so the process took nearly five years to complete. Positioning a company in the luxury watch market is not a quick fix.
WP: During the company’s history do you think that watches have become easier to sell online?
LA: We have nearly 60,000 customers and are a relatively small-volume retailer compared to other industries. The vast majority of watches were purchased before the Royal Exchange store opened because we had already traded online for 12 years. The feedback we get is very positive.
WP: What would you say is the success to selling watches online?
LA: Exactly the same as offline, excellent customer service, great product, knowledgeable staff and a customer-centric experience.
WP: Was the move from online to bricks and mortar a tricky transition and what were the key issues?
LA: It wasn’t necessarily easy, but we took our time and surrounded ourselves with highly skilled professionals. Retailing in this market is very expensive and very competitive, particularly as the locations we focused on were in Mayfair and The City.
WP: Why do you think some businesses get selling online wrong?
LA: That’s not really my place to say. However, if a customer journey is not seamless between all channels, then the customer will tell you that you’re getting it wrong. Unfortunately, they do so by moving their custom elsewhere.
This interview first appeared in an article in the September issue of WatchPro magazine. To read the digital version of the magazine, click here.