As so-called Retail Prophet Doug Stephens once said, we are apparently at the end of the beginning of ecommerce. “We’ll have this ability to interact with a product and shop in a digital land,” he said at Dx3 back in March. “The internet is becoming more physical in nature.”
So far in 2016, this is starting to ring true — menswear brand Frank + Oak recently relaunched its platform with an emphasis on its physical shopping experience, and now, another menswear ecommerce giant is showing strong growth thanks to a commitment to combining both its physical and digital experiences.
Indochino announced that it achieved an all-time record sales month for May 2016 — reaching 67 percent year-to-date growth. In keeping with this upward growth, the company announced the opening of a physical showroom at Square One shopping centre in Mississauga, the company’s first in a shopping centre location.
The company promises an “exclusive shopping experience without the high price tag” through the showroom; customers are paired with a style guide that helps them design their own customized suit by taking measurements, assisting with fabric selection, and customizing details down to buttons and monograms.
Indochino CEO Drew Green credits most of the growth to a dedicated team that is focused on execution. “We haven’t done a relaunch, which we’ll end up doing this year,” said Green. “We really focus on the product, so one of the big initiatives I focused on this year is to expand product offering and going almost three times as many products available to consumer, online and in showroom.”
Since the former Shop.ca CEO took the helm in December 2015, he said that the company has made “philosophical changes” at both the board and leadership level to see all players in the suit market as a competitor, rather than just observing other made-to-measure companies.
“When you’re growing a retail business, you don’t want to grow simply by acquiring new customers. For us, a really big focus coming into the year is to say ‘Okay, we do want to increase the customer base, but let’s make sure we provide a great experience and benefits to existing customers so that they come back.’”
Creating a physical showroom experience has also been beneficial for its online sales — Green said that when the company opens a showroom in a new place, online sales for that market grow seven times faster than markets where they don’t have a showroom. The company plans to open 150 showrooms globally this year, and has expressed a commitment to sell one million suits a year by 2020.
“What we’re seeing is the transformation of retail, we’re transitioning model to not just focusing on technology and ecommerce, but also the trend of fast fashion,” Green said. “The fact that we have a virtual inventory means where we can bring exclusive fabrics to market in a short period of time, and it also puts us in that fast fashion category that obviously Zara leads.”
Over the course of the year, Green said that the company is focused on improving its product offerings — in large part thanks to its $42 million investment and retail partnernership with Dayang Group, a Chinese global apparel manufacturer.
“We have a proprietary in-store app and ordering system that we provide customers. It’s been amazing platform for us as we expanded into retail,” said Green. “We’re going to be revamping that in store app quite a bit, prior to Q4, and over the next few months, we’re significantly enhancing the ecommerce experience.”