Gift of the gab: Acquisition's Bruce Hetfield on omnichannel

  • News
  • September 8, 2016
  • Elly Strang
Gift of the gab: Acquisition's Bruce Hetfield on omnichannel

Tell me about where your company is at with omnichannel retail. Do you think you’re ahead of the curve, offering an acceptable level of omnichannel service or not really engaging with the trend yet?

About five to six years ago we began a serious effort to integrate online services into what we do. Since then we’ve worked hard to build and refine a solid online presence that matches and represents our bricks and mortar presence. In 2014 we won an Omnichannel Retailer of the Year Award in the Top Shop Awards, and in 2015 we took the runner-up spot in Otago/Southland. I would say that we take our omnichannel presence seriously and are certainly up there with the leaders.

Is there a strong demand from your customers for omnichannel services? 

For those customers that do have an understanding of ‘omnichannel’, or digital services, I don’t know if I would describe it as a ‘strong demand’ more than I would say it was simply an expectation. Other customers, who perhaps don’t have an understanding of omnichannel, are happily surprised when they discover that the store they visit is able to source a product from the other end of the country and then have a custom sale created on our website for them to purchase it and have it delivered directly to them.

A big part of omnichannel is an emphasis on offering a seamless experience across bricks and mortar and web. How is your company tackling this goal?

We try, as much as we can, to match the level of service we offer in stores to our online services. We constantly reinforce within all staff that they should consider web sales and online enquiries just as important as a face-to-face selling. We also keep the standards of gift wrapping and packaging high. We always use new cartons and packaging for web sales, in an effort to let online customers know that they weren’t an after thought, or second-best. We also aim to ensure that our branding and tone-of-voice is cohesive across all physical stores and online platforms.

What kind of voice does your brand use on social media? Describe it.

Early on we developed a brand personality and tone-of-voice for our social media. We are essentially an entertainment store so we chose to present ourselves in a personal, witty, somewhat self-depreciating, and oftentimes-irreverent way. We take gift selling seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

What are some ways you’re personalising service online? 

Some ways we are personalising to the individual user are: Offering payment by credit card, PayPal, POLi (internet banking), and gift card online. This allows more people to be able to shop online with us no matter what your preferred payment method is. Just because you don’t have a credit card doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to shop with us.

Creating customised product pages (custom sales) for online customers who might request a specialist item or multiple items, and also in-store customers that perhaps can’t find the product they want at their local store, is another way we personlise our service. If we receive a customer enquiry and we can possibly make it happen then we will do all we can to make that happen. Also even though we don’t, as a rule, send overseas yet, we will take each international query on its individual merit and if we can possibly send an item, or items, to someone overseas then we will set up a custom sale for international customers too.

We also offer a gift message service where we handwrite a customer’s gift message into a gift card to include when the item is for a gift. Another small, but personal, thing we do is to send out a birthday greeting to our email subscribers (if they’ve shared their birth date with us - day and month only, we never ask for the year). We also include a link to a humourous birthday video (that we change regularly).

This story originally appeared in NZRetail magazine issue 744 June / July 2016

​ ​

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.


Direct sales: How multi-level marketing works

  • News
  • April 18, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Direct sales: How multi-level marketing works

The $200 million-plus direct sales economy contains many lessons retailers can use. As part of a wider look at this thriving corner of retail, we created a quick explainer showing how this business model typically works.

Read more

Direct sales: Meet the upliners

  • News
  • April 18, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Direct sales: Meet the upliners

We profiled different participants in the direct sales industry to find out what retailers can learn from them. Meet Isagenix distributors Adam Nesbitt and Bianca Bathurst.

Read more

Direct sales: Meet the business builder

  • News
  • April 18, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Direct sales: Meet the business builder

As part of a wider story looking at what retailers can learn from the direct sales industry, we profiled Isagenix distributor Ben Frost.

Read more

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...

Leveling up: Exploring multi-level marketing in New Zealand

Is the $200 million-plus direct sales economy retail by another name or something different? Regardless, what can we learn from it?


A spectrum of retailers

  • Opinion
  • April 18, 2019
  • David Farrell
A spectrum of retailers

In recognition of April being Autism Awareness Month, retail commentator Dave Farrell considers the role of those on the spectrum in retail.

Read more

How on-trend is your retail business?

  • Sponsored Content
  • April 18, 2019
  • Sponsored content
How on-trend is your retail business?

New insights from Visa highlight five evolving trends emerging from savvy retailers around the world. We’ve taken these global trends and looked at how they are playing out with merchants in New Zealand, and we’d now like to hear what you think of them.

Read more
Next page
Results for
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

The Register

Content marketing/advertising? Email or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit