Where do home shopping networks land between online and offline? Kind of in the middle of nowhere, as a few such companies in Korea have figured out — so they’re taking steps to cross channels. Elsewhere in that same country, a unique O2O delivery capability has been born of a merger between an ATM supplier and an eCommerce company, while, in the U.S., a major sports merchandise retailer is crossing both channels and countries to step up its order-fulfillment game.
Sports Retail Merger Crosses Borders — And Channels
It was announced this week that California-based sports merchandise retailer Fanatics has acquired Kitbag, a U.K.-based sports eCommerce company. The $17 million deal gives Fanatics — which already has licensing deals for NFL, NBA and NHL teams in America — contracts to sell those products in Europe, as well as official merchandise of Kitbag’s soccer partners (which include Manchester United, Real Madrid, Manchester City and other clubs).
Beyond just the cultural crossover, the acquisition of Kitbag strengthens Fanatics’ online-to-offline capabilities, particularly in terms of order fulfillment.
As Fanatics CEO Doug Mack stated in a press release: "We could not be more excited to work with the Kitbag team to build upon their multi-channel capabilities, expertise in soccer and strong portfolio of partners to accelerate both our U.S. and international growth. Fanatics and Kitbag are a nearly perfect complement, creating a complete platform for sports fans, leagues, teams and manufacturers globally, which will grow the licensed sports industry.”
"Kitbag and Fanatics are complementary businesses. Fanatics' focus has been to grow and develop business in North America, while the majority of Kitbag's presence is in Europe and the rest of the world," Andy Anson, CEO of Kitbag, stated in the release. "As a consequence, the globalization of all the major sports we serve together creates significant opportunities for future growth and expansion.”
ECommerce Deliveries to the ATM
In Korea, ATM supplier NCR has partnered with courier services provider LTF Asia and media and telecommunications conglomerate PCCW to create what the South China Morning Post describes as logistics teller machines.
Building upon LTF Asia and PCCW Solutions’ automated parcel locker service called House of Parcels (HOP!, for short) — whose terminals serve as customer pick-up locations for eCommerce orders — the partnership with NCR now means that customers can get cash, as well as eCommerce deliveries, at those same terminals.
As the South China Morning Post story explains, customers who receive an eCommerce delivery to one of the machines will be notified with a one-time code sent via both text and email. That code, entered into the ATM screen, will allow them access to pick up their item (or items).
“We are confident that this joint initiative will help banks achieve significant operational cost savings and bring unique online-to-offline transaction experience to their customers,” LTF Asia Chief Executive Wilson Fong told the outlet.
Home Shopping Networks Go Omnichannel
Elsewhere in Korea, home shopping networks in the country are getting the message that communicating with consumers one-way, through the television, can only get them so far. In order to solve this problem, Korea Bizwire reports, a number of them are branching out into omnichannel, allowing shoppers to interact with their products.
CJ O Shopping, for one, has opened a couple of brick-and-mortar locations called Style on Store, where customers who purchased items through the network can pick up or return them.
Another network, Lotte Home Shopping, has taken a similar track and added a mobile element. Customers to its Lotte Home Shopping Studio Shop, in addition to being able to pick up or return items purchased from the network, have access to a Baro TV mobile application through which they place an entirely new order and have it delivered to the location of their choice.
Hyundai Home Shopping will also be opening its own offline store in March. At that location, customers will have the option to purchase items on site or via a mobile app. Officials from Hyundai Home Shopping plainly stated to Korea Bizwire that the move into the O2O realm was a necessary step to compete with retailers that aren’t limited to selling their products through the old-school method of television.