Every day seems to see another story of a major retailer launching their online presence, now that everyone has accepted that online shopping is the way of the future. It’s not so often that this happens in reverse. InStitchu is a bespoke online tailor that opened its proverbial doors in 2012 as an exclusively online venture. The site provided guides and video instructions so customers could send in accurate measurements, and even allowed them to design their suits to exact specifications. However, finding that Australia has not moved its shopping habits entirely online, InStitchu has pioneered an online-offline hybrid model of retail, opening a Sydney showroom late last year.
The physical presence certainly helps them to seamlessly blend old and new — the décor oozes old world charm, and the showroom offers customers the chance to experience a traditional suit fitting. Alongside these classic elements, InStitchu decided to incorporate features of their online store, allowing customers to browse millions of combinations of fabrics, colours, styles, and designs.
The latest in the company’s hybrid venture is the opening of a brand new Melbourne showroom, which saw its first day of business just yesterday. So is this new strategy working for the Aussie startup? The numbers certainly suggest so. Since the Sydney showroom opened, InStitchu has seen an order value increase of 112%, alongside a noticeable increase to online traffic. The customers seem happier too — able to have confidence that they are buying a quality product, even when it comes from an online store.
“For those who prefer to come into the showroom, we’ve created a tactile experience that gives them the confidence that what they are ordering is in line with how they pictured it.” InStitchu co-founder James Wakefield says, making me wonder just how many traditionalists may have been converted by their innovative service. “For us it’s about matching the customer with the perfect suit and if we can build the confidence of consumers, it can last throughout many purchases. Our research shows that once fitted in a showroom, the majority of customers will then complete all future orders online.”
InStitchu’s plans certainly don’t end with Melbourne, with the intention to soon extend their offline presence to four more locations. Oh, and they want to lead the revolution in the way we buy clothes — both online and offline. Wakefield only has big things planned for his startup, promising: “The way we design and buy suits is changing, and InStitchu is just getting started.”