Earlier this year I had the great opportunity to join Arun Agarwal, the CEO of Alok International, at the launch of their new flagship showroom on Madison Avenue, New York.
Their amazing Vatsu-inspired showroom is a portal to the stunning creativity that comes from well-designed, luxury home textiles. Lit with shocks of color, breezy-smooth-as-silk fabrics and exciting new trends for 2015, the showroom was buzzing with fantastic products and influential industry people alike. They showcased their private label brands including Kathy Ireland, Raymond Waites and Jessica McClintock.
The year has not been easy for brick and mortar retailers. As markets saturate, stores close doors and margins erode. How are companies like Alok opening 17,000-square foot showrooms on Madison Avenue?
Obviously, the demand for their product exists. Alok gives customers what they want, when they want it and at a good price. They are experts at data mining customer information and analyzing what’s relevant. Here’s what they’ve learnt:
Offer more products, to more people, any time of day
Empowered customers read their peer’s reviews, shop 24-7 and know there’s a best price, somewhere.
Because of this, more smart companies are changing to an omni-channel distribution strategy. By using multiple options they increase opportunities to interact with customers. The digitally savvy shopper wants that 5-star-800-thread-count-sateen-Egyptian-cotton-sheet-set-in-pewter-grey-and-California-King…..NOW!
Avoid the waiting game
Shoppers are impatient. Amazon Prime (two-day free shipping) is a good example of the lucrative, “have it now” business. Their membership increased from about 27 million in the second quarter of this year to an estimated 29 million this quarter. For the last three quarters, more than 40% of Amazon customers say they have a Prime membership.
As I finished my tour of Alok’s New York showroom, the maze of powerhouse brands, innovative textiles and handcrafted designs left my mind racing with excitement.
Being a young entrepreneur with peers in industries like fashion, tech, oil and gas, I always push to pave the way for textiles to be the cool kid on the block.
In 2015, we will continue to grow our national retail distribution channels focusing on our drop ship capabilities and our custom cut and sew service. Novo Textiles will provide more selection and product with never before seen technology, designs and brands.