IT'S a growing trend among online retailers and Australia's largest online hair and beauty products business, RY.com.au, is jumping on board with a bricks-and-mortar strategy.
The Gold Coast-based RY.com.au plans to open its first store on the tourism strip in March after securing a five-year lease on 100sqm in the lifestyle precinct anchored by the Malouf Group's Ferry Road Markets at Southport.
The store will stock a range of luxury cosmetics and skincare as well as salon-quality haircare and electrical products from more than 200 international brands. It also plans to offer the services of an onsite make-up artist and skin therapist.
RY.com.au co-founder James Patten says the move is in line with the company's growth strategy to diversify from e-commerce to the traditional retail sphere.
"The new store will be located within the popular Brickworks shopping precinct and is ideally positioned to meet the needs of the high-end luxury consumer of the Gold Coast," Patten says.
"As a Gold Coast-based business, we have already established a strong reputation and brand recognition within the local community, and we feel opening this new store will provide an excellent opportunity for us to provide a high quality level of service to our customers across multiple formats.
"Customers will now have the choice of shopping purely online or being able to come in and view or experience our product range before purchasing, while our staff are looking forward to interacting with customers on a more personal level and coming to an even greater understanding of our market and its needs."
Ry.com.au was established by Patten and his business partner Bradley Carr in 2005.
The company is based at Burleigh Heads, where it employs more than 30 staff and from where it ships goods worldwide to a customer base of more than 300,000 members.
The company has grown to become Australia's largest online retailer of hair and beauty products, with the growth aided by the acquisition last year of online competitor facialco.com.au.
The move by online retailers into traditional storefronts has been an industry trend for a number of years, with Amazon and Google among the big brands leading the charge.
The move is in response to customer demand for greater personal interaction in the retail sector, with many experts now saying the pure e-commerce play is dead.
The move is being led by a customer-centric approach by businesses combining a mix of e-commerce and traditional bricks and mortar retail.
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