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Watch Shop tech stack to provide online retail for third-party brands

Online retailer Watch Shop has become the latest business in the industry to white label its technology platform to help third-party brands expand their eCommerce activities.

The business, which is owned by private equity group Apollo Global Management, has created WS Ecommerce Solutions internally and is now looking to build a pipeline of clients that can benefit from its in-house technology.

Watch Shop CEO Robin Phillips told Essential Retail the platform comprises a supply chain solution and warehouse, as well as warehouse and order management systems, and a customer service desk and management system. It already offers the platform to high street jeweller Goldsmiths, a former Aurum Holdings stable mate that is now part of the Watches of Switzerland group.

Other brands are set to sign up in the coming months, Phillips said, as Watch Shop looks to leverage it systems to help brands run transitional websites and provide fulfilment services to their customers.

“This is a big part of the future of the business – if you haven’t already got your own technology it’s quite a thing to set up your own eCommerce team, website and platform, and then work out the capabilities you need,” Phillips explained.

Is Watch Shop looking to become the Ocado of the watch retailing world? Similar but not quite, according to Phillips, as the B2B business will look to serve the small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) market.

“There’s an increasing appetite at the SME end of business for brands to look and work with third-party experts,” he said.

“They are saying ‘can you just manage my website and take my stock and delivery for me so I don’t have to worry about it?’.”

Whereas Ocado offers out its platform on a global scale to large retailers such as Kroger in the US and Groupe Casino in Europe, and online brand house The Hut Group is supporting FMCG titans like Nestle and Unilever in eCommerce, Watch Shop will aim for smaller partners.

Phillips noted: “I see there is a demand from great brands, which don’t find it as easy to run transactional websites and be great at fulfilment. They are good at their brands and products, but happy to outsource eCommerce to a third party.”

Read the full interview with Phillips’ later this week to understand more about his approach to retail technology and the unique IT team at Watch Shop

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