Back in the summer of 2013 Kate Spade Saturday tried a concept involving huge touch-screens deployed at different locations in Manhattan to offer a service making it possible for consumers to order and get the products delivered anywhere in the city. The concept was deployed in cooperation with eBay.
The whole operation definitely captures attention. It may be a good way to communicate with the public about the brand and its cool, innovative spirit, but is this a viable business model?
At first glance it does not seem to be so easy to turn this into a profitable service because of the amount of manpower it requires to meet the constraints of a super demanding service; how easy is it from the standpoint of pure fulfillment and transport to deliver the order to the consumer within 2 hours in NY? Plus, there is always the issue of product returns, which may be bigger with that business model than with a more traditional e-commerce model. Last, is there a market need for a service that falls somewhere between the experience of walking into a store, trying stuff, buying and returning to your life with the products in a traditional shopping bag and the experience of traditional e-commerce, where one orders to get the products between one and five days after ordering?