As with many retailers, Hope & Henry started out selling purely online. However, as it has grown and looks for new ways to engage its growing customer base, a physical location has become necessary. As the brand launches its first store, The Edit – located inside Simon Property Group’s Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York – RetailTechNews speaks with Matthew McCauley, founder, Hope & Henry, about why the move is deemed necessary and how Amazon has helped them develop as a brand.
RetailTechNews: Why have you chosen this moment to launch your first physical store?
Matthew McCauley: At the end of August last year, Hope & Henry had a very successful launch online. Since then, the customer response has been overwhelmingly positive. As we think about increasing awareness to expand our mission of making high-quality organic clothing affordable, a brick-and-mortar location is the logical next step.
What have been the challenges from changing to an online retailer, to a retailer with a physical presence?
Our biggest challenges are staffing a physical location and keeping inventory flowing fast enough. Regarding staffing, we want to hire Hope & Henry brand ambassadors who really care about our mission. We also recently opened a small distribution centre to improve the efficiency of our multi-channel inventory flow.
As an ‘born on Amazon’ brand, how has Amazon supported your transition into a physical store?
Amazon has been helpful on both the front and the backend. On the logistics end, Amazon fulfills our website orders through multi-channel FBA, which allows us to better scale all of our sales channels. Amazon also upgraded our point-of-sale technology to the superior Clover POS.
In the front of the store, Amazon has:
– Provided Fire tablets to help keep kids of customers visiting the store happy and engaged so their parents can get to know Hope & Henry.
– Worked with us to enhance the in-store customer experience by furnishing a lounge area with their new Stone & Beam furniture line.
The Edit team made it quicker and easier for a digitally native brand like Hope & Henry to transition to testing the brick-and-mortar waters by a providing a beautifully finished space with lots of traffic, flexible store fixtures, a great marketing team, and strong store manager support.
How will you ensure there is a consistent customer experience across both your online and in-store offerings?
We want Hope & Henry customers to have the same high touch service and experience wherever they choose to shop. We maintain the same prices on all channels and offer free shipping and returns on all of our web orders in order to be at par with our Amazon channel.
What is the purpose of the new store? Do you envision you will still do the majority of your sales through your online platform?
Customers rave about our quality and fair prices. Having a physical location for customers to experience the breadth of Hope & Henry’s assortment, and see the quality firsthand, enhances brand equity and awareness.
The store drives web sales and the digital platforms drive store sales. We believe an omni-channel approach is the best way to achieve our mission of delivering high-quality organic clothing at affordable prices while, sharing profits with the women sewing our clothes.