Launch of the Red Square specialist beauty website
Today, Monday 27 May 2013, sees the launch of the Red Square specialist beauty website that complements its extensive and growing national footprint of 39 stores.
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The pearl in the oyster is the free sampling programme, offering all online customers the opportunity to select their choice of three samples from a wide range of premium brands that are included free-of-charge with each order.
"It's a wonderful way to discover exciting new products that customers might otherwise not have tried," comments David Gibbons, Edcon's e-commerce executive.
"The modern woman has far less time to browse through shops because of the pressures of work and home; however, they are accessing the Internet more often than men are, with 55% of women going online more than twice a day compared to 45% of men.
"We conducted our own research to find out what South African women were looking for when purchasing beauty products and found that service, sampling and more information were high on the list.
"Since 67% of South African women who have access to the Internet have shopped online at least once and 22% of women globally shop online at least once a day, this is a market that has a growing appetite. More importantly, 92% of those will share information with friends and family about deals and positive experiences. This type of 'viral advertising' cannot be ignored.
"It's also well worth bearing in mind that well over 76% of women would love to be part of a special or select panel, passing on their reviews about products and services. The site therefore offers a review option, where customers can contribute their own comments and even advice about products, helping others to make their own informed choices.
"We've catered for all these preferences, providing 24/7 shopping for a constantly growing catalogue of thousands of items from some of the world's leading cosmetic brands, including Dolce & Gabbana, Hugo Boss and Calvin Klein.
"Customers will also be able to purchase products online that are not available in some of the smaller Red Square stores. If customers do not find their favourite fragrance or make-up in their local store, they should check the website."
When asked why Red Square had not just become a larger online offering piggybacking off the Edgars site, Gibbons explained: "Cosmetics is a category that lends itself to e-commerce; customers typically know what they want and if they don't, customer reviews online will point them in the right direction. Cosmetics products are relatively easy to fulfil and merchandise. This shopping experience is all about empowering women (and men) to find the make-up, skincare and fragrance they need conveniently; it is a perfect brand for online sales and marketing.
"Logistically, Edcon has integrated a new e-commerce platform and Red Square Online was the ideal first brand to launch it with. We do plan to take what we learn and apply it to the other brands, but for now, we are focused on providing a great online shopping experience for Red Square's customers."
Gibbons is responsible for developing and operating the online retail business for Edcon's chains (including CNA, Edgars, Red Square and Boardmans). He spent a decade in Seattle building web businesses at Amazon.com and Zillow.com (the US' largest online property business.) He has a passion for web marketing and internet-based consumer businesses and is bullish on the potential for e-commerce in South Africa. David earned his degree in Mechanical Engineering at UJ.
Payment, delivery options
Payment options implemented on the website allow users to check out with either their credit card or their ThankU account card. "To enable these payment options on the site, we needed to integrate the same proprietary internal payment gateway that processes payments in the group's stores and do not utilise a third party payment gateway," continues Gibbons. "At a later stage, the site will introduce gift card options."
Orders in excess of R350 are delivered free of charge, otherwise a standard delivery fee of R45 will apply. Orders are delivered within 2-7 working days and customers can return items to any Red Square store.
The site is offering all customers a discount of R100 when they make their first purchase online and spend R650 using the voucher code: press100. The offer is valid until 30 June 2013.