Online + high street

Ordered a rug 2 days ago at Next, a high street fashion clothing chain that recently also starts selling home furnishings. Paid �3.75 for delivery charge, because we don’t really want to be carrying that heavy thing home. Anyway, they don’t have stocks in their shop. The home furnishings stuff are there only for display. Their stocks are kept in the warehouse, which makes good sense, as these stuff take too much real estate to be stored in the shop.The concept is good. Next are leveraging their shops in the prime location of the high street, to augment their online retailing arm. This gives online shoppers a chance to touch and feel the products should they have doubts after browsing through their online catalogue. And by shopping with them, online, you know that you have the option of returning unsatisfactory goods by visiting their high street shop, rather than having to go through the tedious process of sending the items back by post, as offered by most online retailers.After having a look at their website, actually they are offering a lot more products than I initially thought! So it is very likely that they want to become a major online shopping portal too, taking on the likes of Argos, Tesco and Amazon (UK). Interesting. But Next is definitely behind the game when it comes to goods tracking and delivery. I was told by the sales girl that day at Next that the rug will be delivered to me in a week’s time (mind you that she was unable to tell me the exact date and time of delivery). But the rug was already on my doorstep when I got home today. I was pleasantly surprised, to be honest, to have received today. But I wasn’t happy the fact that they just dump my package outside my house. Argos had never done this to me before. They allow me to specify the date of delivery (am/pm), and I make sure I’m at home. When things didn’t work out, due to my fault, there’s a system for me to rearrange the delivery relatively easily.Anyway, it’s still early stage for Next. We’ll see if they can really be a worthy player in this competitve market.

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