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CORDER’S COLUMN: Swatch should start click and collect service for MoonSwatch

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Click and collect may be a term most associated with supermarket shopping during the pandemic, but it is a service jewellers have been offering for years.

Even Rolex and its authorised dealers, which do not sell online, offer a version of click and collect because they take details from customers who are making an inquiry about a potential purchase.

The fact that these inquiries can take years to turn into a sale does not diminish the value of the service because retailers can communicate with customers and learn as much as possible about their wishes.

If their name comes to the top of a waiting list, they get the call, some into store and collect their Rolex.

A comment on a previous WATCHPRO story about MoonSwatches pleaded with Swatch to offer a click and collect service, which makes such perfect sense to me. I am struggling to see any downside.

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The two greatest criticisms around the way MoonSwatches are sold is that ordinary customers cannot buy the watches because professional flippers are first in line when any new stock appears.

Swatch on track to sell 1.5 million units of MoonSwatch in one year

This is related to the second comment criticism, which is that people do not want to travel across the country to three stores in central London, one in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh.

It is over 400 miles between Glasgow and London so, somebody travelling from the midway point between the two cities — somewhere around Manchester — would have a day-long round trip to see whether any MoonSwatches are available.

Click and collect would solve this, which would be great for customers, but Swatch would also benefit.

Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek has said he wants the popularity of MoonSwatch to revive shopping in physical stores. No problem, having paid online, customers would be more than willing to travel in the certain knowledge they would be collecting their watch.

If Swatch wants to limit the number of MoonSwatches per customer? Taking details online would help here too, particularly once a credit card transaction has been made. It would not be foolproof, but better than the scrum outside Swatch stores we have seen in the past 10 months.

Swatch would need accurate oversight over its stock levels, but watches being delivered in the future could be pre-allocated to customers who had bought online.

Swatch stores could even offer click and collect in store so that, if a walk-in customer cannot buy a watch that day, they can pay for a piece that they can pick up in the future.

I cannot help feeling that if MoonSwatches were sold through authorised dealers, click and collect is something they would already be offering. It is hard to imagine the likes of Watches of Switzerland or Beaverbrooks not developing it as a service.

But Swatch Group is, at heart, a manufacturer not a retailer, so perhaps this is why they have missed this particular trick.

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