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E-commerce

How Grana delivers retail experience online

A hallmark of any great retailer is the ability to deliver a memorable customer experience – and critics often argue you cannot delight customers when selling online.

But Hong Kong-based apparel brand Grana.com comprehensively debunks that theory.

If any brick-and-mortar retailer is puzzled at how to deliver a great customer experience to people it has never met, they should order something from Grana and see how it is done.

It all starts with one of the cleanest, clutter-free and easily navigated e-commerce sites we’ve ever seen, and with establishing a “conversation” through the shopping process. It ends with the surprise and delight of opening the delivered package.

One of the biggest deterrents to buying clothes online is anxiety over size: how can you be sure the item will fit your figure? Sure, you can exchange items, but who really wants to go through that hassle?

Grana meets this challenge in two ways: Firstly, along with an accurate description of the product is a reference to the model wearing it on screen. For example, “Jesse is 190cm tall and wears a size M”. If you’re still worried, click on the link “Find your size” and a helpful diagram pops up showing you how to measure something already in your wardrobe (which still fits). Match those details to a simple table showing you Grana’s equivalent size.

Intriguing journeys
Story-telling was once something reserved for physical stores, but Grana shows it is equally suited to an online shopping experience. Founded by Hong Kong-based Australian Luke Grana just a couple of years ago, the brand specialises in quality fabrics from around the world, such as Peruvian cotton, Japanese chambray or Mongolian cashmere. There is a simple explanation of each on the site. For example, it explains that Mongolia’s freezing winters and boiling summers produce the world’s hardiest goats. “These goats produce the world’s best cashmere, and before we start to knit, it goes through a meticulous process of combing, scouring, dehairing and spinning.”

If you want to know more, you can take an intriguing online journey to Mongolia and see photos of happy goats, the rugged rural terrain where they live and their colourful farmers. By the time you chose a garment, you feel like you’ve actually traced it right back to the herd.

Surprises and delights
Once you’ve completed your order, given your credit-card details and clicked confirm, you’ll receive an email from “Grana Cheetahs” written in warm, friendly language, devoid of the cold functionality we’ve all come to expect from most online stores.

Then your box arrives, most likely (for international orders) in a UPS bag. And that’s the best part of the experience. Grana ships in smart blue boxes that make you feel like you’re receiving a present, so you forget for a moment that you actually bought it yourself.

Open the box, and a handwritten note pops out thanking you for your order. Your clothes lie beneath, wrapped in a colourful sheet of paper (like a real gift), sealed with a Grana blue sticker.

Grana delivery 2.

Depending on what you have bought, there will be a postcard – for example, Peruvian Pima Cotton shows a Peruvian cotton field, with the story of the fabric on the reverse.

Grana delivery 1.

The whole experience surprises and delights – especially the first time. More importantly, it builds customer affinity with both the brand and the products, leaving the customer wanting to go back and buy more.

Grana delivery.

For sure, Grana is not the only online retailer to nail experiential retailing online, but it is without doubt among the best at it right now in Asia – if not the world.

This story first appeared on sister site, Inside Retail Asia.

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