French fashion house, Isabel Marant, has embarked on a digital transformation project with Cegid. The brand is deploying various new omnichannel services in France and abroad.
1- Expanding retail and e-commerce internationally
Isabel Marant is moving away from its roots in wholesale to further develop its retail business, which now accounts for more than a third of sales. The fashion label will have amassed 47 stores by the end of 2020 and is experiencing strong growth in China, Europe and the United States, alongside rising online sales over the last three years.
“Digital accounts for over a quarter of our sales, either via our website or through online resellers,” says Jean Keller, VP of Global Distribution at Isabel Marant. “In the US, it’s over half. »
2- Setting up Ship-from-Store to keep up with online orders
E-commerce turned out to be a saving grace for Isabel Marant throughout the Covid-19 health crisis. While the first two weeks of lockdown were relatively quiet, sales then gradually resumed and, from the beginning of May, the pace accelerated with growth well above pre-crisis levels.
« There was a sort of ‘revenge spending effect’ after months cooped up in quarantine,” explains Keller. “We were already seeing solid growth before Covid-19, and at the beginning of June, we were seeing even better results. This shows that Isabel Marant customers are happy to buy our products online even if they can’t actually get to a store to try clothes on. »
Always eager to maintain good customer relations and keeping them in close contact with sales staff in boutiques in Paris, New York or Milan, after receiving orders via the Adyen payment, two people are responsible for allocating stores to prepare orders and get them shipped to the customers.
3- New omnichannel services: live shopping, endless aisle, shipping anywhere
In addition to Click-and-Collect, Pick-Up-In-Store and Ship-from-Store, Isabel Marant will be adding new tools to help extend ranges beyond the store, including offering products that often aren’t always available in stores thanks to a broader mix online (Endless Aisle). It’s even considering a ‘try and buy’ scheme whereby customers can order a selection of clothes to try on and only pay for those they keep.
“We’re working with Adyen and looking at shifting the onus in online spending and customers only having to pay for items they keep,” says Keller. The group imagines scenarios whereby customers could get entire outfits to try on at home, or sent to a hotel, and they only pay for what they want.
The retailer is also setting up a system for making appointments online so that customers can book time with consultants individually in-store, if desired. Live shopping programmes are another possible addition in future – something that’s already taken off in China (especially during lockdown), including watching QVC-style shopping videos online to boost e-commerce sales.
4- Getting more out of CRM and training teams
Isabel Marant has made a lot of progress in making sure its customer database is up to speed and able to facilitate better CRM relations. Gone are the days when customers might be sent an email with the wrong name, and, thanks to Cegid Retail tools, the retailer now has a better understanding of customer behaviour and how best to communicate with each individual.
“We’ve made our sales teams more aware of the importance of the customer base and opt-in statements to help better understand our customers and target our communications more effectively,” says Keller. “By giving them specific examples, they soon realised the importance of using the right name and approach, as well as knowing more about what products customers have already tried on, or where they’re from. You need to be open and pragmatic about the tools available to help staff do a better job.”
5- Migrating to the cloud
To support its retail growth and the rollout of new digital services, Isabel Marant decided to switch the Cegid Retail unified commerce platform to SaaS. The brand took advantage of the slowdown in activity related to the global pandemic to carry out this operation smoothly.
“Our staff always have a lot going on, especially when a new store is opened every month,” says Keller. “Moving our retail IT systems to the cloud has helped us clean up our databases and target our customers more effectively.”
And having the back office teams mobilised during the first half of 2020 made introducing new omnichannel services even easier, bringing with it more agility and greater flexibility when dealing with new scenarios.
The approaches we’ve seen adopted by Isabel Marant are part of gradual shift in retail towards a ‘new normal’ with greater unity between the store and the web. The brand’s digital transformation means it can better serve the needs of its customers, regardless of their preferred channel.