11/16/2015

Fashion and technology to win over ‘crossumers’

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Adding WhatsApp to its customer service

Adolfo Domínguez

Adding WhatsApp to its customer service

App

Zara

App

App

Mango

App

E-shop

Pronovias

E-shop

E-shop

Pretty Ballerinas

E-shop

App

Aristocrazy

App

E-shop

Myblüchers

E-shop

E-shop

Companion Denim

E-shop

E-shop

Lacambra

E-shop

Neither boho, nor mod nor Victorian… Of all the diverse trends that define each new season, two represent the genuine revolution the sector is currently undergoing: responsive and user-friendly.  Or put another way, intuitive multi-device design. The concept is helping top Spanish fashion brands leap across international borders, using the omni-channel passport to guarantee a seamless shopping experience. 

 

According to international consultant eMarketer, world e-commerce already accounts for 6% of global trade, worth €1.091 trillion, with estimates that the figure will rise to 8.8% in 2018. By then, e-commerce sales in world leader China will more than double volume in the United States, the second country on the league table, and will almost treble sales in the UK, in third place. On top of that, in Europe, the fashion and accessories sector comes second in online sales, hard on the heels of gadgets, according to another study by GBS Finanzas.
 
The figures speak for themselves: e-commerce is an extraordinary ally to an already mature traditional style of retail, and is even the main activity for new web 2.0 brands, bringing significant benefits. It is also a key strategic element to stay in touch with that flourishing profile of the well-informed, connected, on-the-go shopper, known as the ‘crossumer’, for whom time is money. As the divide between digital natives and digital immigrants continues to shrink, crossumers have shed any misgivings about electronic transactions.
 
A Spanish example of this retail reinvention process is Adolfo Domínguez. Its multi-channel strategy has meant that its e-shop brings in more sales than any of its 700 PoS around the world. The brand’s next step is to consolidate its position as a hybrid business, immune to the ROPO (research online, purchase offline) effect, by raising the current share of turnover to 25-30%.  To recruit and retain customers on all devices, a year ago it launched an app allowing shoppers to scan their favourite garments in store, keep them in their basket or buy them online and decide where to receive them. The app includes a store-finding geolocation tool and gives options to share a wishlist or consult user reviews of clothes. A few months later, Adolfo Domínguez added WhatsApp to its customer service and has now launched phone sales.
 
Another big international brand from Spain that is pulling out all the stops to provide a 360º shopping experience is Zara, the Inditex ensign which, after launching Zara.com in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, now operates online stores in 28 markets. The company has also launched Oysho, Massimo Dutti, Stradivarius and Pull&Bear online in China. Then there’s Mango, available on the Internet in more than 60 countries and with 7% of its turnover now online. Both Zara and Mango have chosen to centralise their mobile marketing strategy in a single international application with similar services, although Mango has opted to individualise engagement for male and female targets, with two separate apps.
 
Pronovias has also just launched an online store, currently only operative in Spain, for its Pronovias Fiesta and Les Accessoires lines. In a pioneering initiative in the bridalwear segment, these first digital steps include free delivery and returns in this first phase, with a specific platform customer service.
 
Pretty Ballerinas is a special case. It started out as an online store back in 2005, and now has a solid store network around the world. “Mascaró group have been ballet flat experts since 1918. In early 2000, we detected the growing market trend for this kind of shoe and wanted to prove that, if we made them in the craziest possible combinations, people would buy them. Doing that through an online shop that delivered across Europe at a time when this kind of retail was not so developed gave us a big head start. We wanted to experiment and it worked like a charm”, recalls founder, David Bell. In 2010, they launched their US platform, and 2015 will mark their domain debuts in UK, Brazil, Australia, Chile, Singapore and Mali. Italy and Canada are also on the cards for 2016.
 
According to Costanza Manfredi, PR & Communications Manager at Aristocrazy, which launched its online shop in 2011 and its app in 2014, “our m-commerce gets more than 50% of total visits, but retail conversion is by the traditional method (PC)”.
 
For Victoria del Hoyo at footwear brand MyBlüchers, which launched online – its only sales channel – in October 2013, the advantages were obvious. “Your market is the world and your shop is operating around the clock, 365 days a year. You save on premises and maintenance and in terms of management control, you can improve your offering by using the date compiled monitoring shopper habits”.
 
“An online shop is essential in a globalised world, even if some people are reluctant to buy trousers on the web, mainly because of size and fit issues”, says Lu Franquesa, at Companion Denim. And yet just two years after launch, the Barcelona-based raw and selvedge denim brand is already raking in the orders from the USA, UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Italy… And its next challenge? “We’d like to get into Asia”, Franquesa adds.
 
Also born in the digital setting, Lacambra sells its leather bags and accessories at an e-shop launched in November 2011, which not only offers online support, but has been simplifying the shopping process by using the instant messaging service WhatsApp since summer. “We could see it was the way our regular customers liked contacting us. It went down very well and it helped us reach people who are still reluctant about ordering online and who want a more direct, personalised service”, explains Cristina Álvarez Lacambra.

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