Online furniture retailer Milan Direct has launched its first pop-up store in Melbourne as part of an omni-channel growth strategy.
Online furniture retailer Milan Direct has opened an 800 square metre bricks-and-mortar pop-up store in Richmond, Victoria.
The store is the first foray into physical retailing for the Temple & Webster Group, which acquired Milan Direct in late 2015. The pop-up is part of Temple & Webster’s broader transformation strategy to expand into offline retail and represents the next phase of growth for Milan Direct.
The company aims to capitalise on its wealth of customer data and to build volume and scale through multiple channels of distribution.
The move is part of a broader trend in the industry, which has seen online retailers developing a physical presence as a complement to online operations. The Milan Direct pop-up will see the company following in the footsteps of a range of former pure-play retailers who have started experimenting with physical retail, including Amazon, Birchbox and even Kogan.
Milan Direct co-founder Dean Ramler said it’s a completely natural evolution for the 10-year-old Milan Direct brand to make the move into physical retailing.
“We’re a retailer and we need to be wherever our customers want us to be. I expect the pop-up showroom to be successful in its own right and if the international experience is anything to go by, I predict an incremental lift in online conversions as well as even more customers discover just how good our offering is in terms of quality and value,” said Ramler.
“This store is a true omni-channel experience, giving the best of both sides of the Milan Direct shopping experience. Customers can see, touch and test the quality of our furniture and thanks to some clever in-store tech solutions, we’re also able to showcase our huge range of online products too,” said Ramler.
The pop-up will showcase Milan Direct’s collection of furniture and homewares, with collections updated each month.
Popular brands such as Royal Doulton, Gordon Ramsay, Noritake and Laguiole are also available to purchase in-store, with larger furniture items available to view and purchase on the spot or online.
“This is a great opportunity to take our brand to an even broader market,” said Ramler. “We know a lot about our customers and website visitors, what they like and don’t like, what products are trending right now. We know our customers love to shop with us online, we also know there’s a segment of our customers who will really appreciate being able to see, touch and test our products for themselves to give them even more comfort about buying online with us.”
Temple & Webster has struggled since going public in December last year. Disappointing first half results posted last month caused shares to plummet by nearly 70 percent. This was followed by a board shake-up earlier this month. Although the board restructure helped share prices rebound somewhat, the stock is still trading well below its IPO price of $1.10 a share. Despite the struggles, the company remains confident that it will be able to reach breakeven point while delivering high growth.