Iconic independent music retailer Rough Trade will relaunch its website in September to synchronise its online operations with what it does in stores.
Rough Trade will start selling MP3 downloads alongside CDs, vinyl and DVDs and will integrate its in-store Album Club scheme – under which customers receive a monthly package of CDs recommended by the retailer for a fee – into its website, Roughtrade.com.
The retailer will also introduce a loyalty card that will allow customers to apply for Album Club membership and in-store gigs. Rough Trade intends to develop its online database to communicate more with its customers about upcoming releases and concerts.
The retailer, which already uses online social networking sites Facebook and Twitter to communicate with consumers, is also considering developing an iPhone application.
“Ignoring technology is to ignore what has become a way of life for our customers,” said Rough Trade Retail director Stephen Godfroy.
The retailer, which has two shops, on Portobello Road and Brick Lane in London, has defied the gloom in a dwindling music retailing market. It generated a like-for-like sales hike of 30 per cent in the year to July 31. Godfroy said Rough Trade has benefited from tourism to the capital.
“Visiting Rough Trade is one of the things to do when you come to London and we’re very proud of that,” he said. “Tourism is an important factor in our success. We’re a destination store.”
Godfroy said Rough Trade’s associated merchandise range is doing well. “We may look at clothing a bit more,” he added.