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Honey Birdette looking to bring offline experience online

The racy lingerie brand that began in Brisbane in 2006 has just launched a dedicated US online store, with plans to open bricks-and-mortar stores in the country by mid-2018.

Before the launch of the new site, American customers shopped from the Australian Honey Birdette online platform, which recently experienced a 374 per cent spike in traffic from US shoppers.

The newly launched US website offers services such as free delivery for orders over $USD50 and customers can use Future Pay to buy now and pay later for their items. American online shoppers will also benefit from an expanded product range.

“We really want to bring the [offline experience] to the customer online. That’s the one thing we can improve – the campaigns, products and freshness are all there,” founder and managing director Eloise Monaghan told Inside Retail Weekly last week.

“Technology and sex don’t really go hand in hand, unfortunately….We are looking at VR and we’re looking at hologram fashion shows and using technology in the Honey Birdette way. Like our in-store ‘press for champagne button’. We can’t pass a glass through the screen, but we need to find ways to make [online] exciting.”

An international view

Since Honey Birdette first expanded overseas in the UK, Monaghan has picked up a couple of lessons on international expansion.

“Buy now and pay later is essential. The UK have payment systems like Klarna, we have Afterpay and Zippay here,” she said. “Click-and-collect is massive. We’re looking at RFID technology, so shoppers can pick up their items within three hours so we need complete visibility for staff to check immediate stock levels and it all needs to be integrated online.”

One mistake Honey Birdette made when it first hit the UK was operating its customer service team from Australia.

“We thought we’d initially do customer service from here [in Australia], but there was such heavy traffic from the UK. If you’re a furious customer because you haven’t received a parcel and we’re in Australian hours, it doesn’t work,” said Monaghan.

“You have to be committed to doing it. We think of customer service as a receptionist sitting on the phone – it’s the most essential part of the business.”

A version of this story first appeared in Inside Retail Weekly issue 2136. To subscribe, click here

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