Yet the interesting twist is that it’s the bricks-and-mortar retailers that are leading the way.
In Canterbury, one of our town’s most traditional of retailers – Lenleys – has just hired a Sales and Web Development Manager to bridge online and on-foot sales.
David Wareing, who started in his new role this month, isn’t your typical internet type. Given the choice, he prefers Windsurfing to Web surfing. He started out as a porter at Courts in his home town of Colchester and has stayed in the world of soft furnishing ever since.
“David’s great knowledge of furniture, and the retail trade in particular, coupled with a down-to-earth personality – not given to ‘techno babble’ – made him the perfect choice for this role,’’ said Managing Director of Lenleys, Jonathan Watts. “He is not a ‘computer geek’ but has a good understanding and interest in the use of technology and sees how Lenleys can use this.”
Lenleys targets its web site at enabling people to browse products, find certain facts like size, price and availability, whilst advising them about features of products – the benefits and the drawbacks. Most customers use a combination of visiting the store and looking online.
“We aim to have a web site which will not only encourage consumers to visit our store, but also allow them to make purchases on those products that they know they want,’’ said Mr. Wareing. “The surge over the last few years in technology is fuelling internet research and more importantly providing consumers with an online portal to shop endlessly.”
Mr. Wareing left school at the age of 15 and started work in the furniture industry in 1983, making this his 30th year in the business – just as Lenleys is celebrating its 30th year at Roper Road.