CHICAGO — Taking your business global is one of the biggest challenges retailers face in this challenging economic climate. The answer? Don’t force it, said Uwe Bald, vice president of international business at the Hamburg, Germany-based Hermes NexTec.
“The strategy is highly dependent on the products being sold,” said Bald, in an interview following the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition (IRCE) here this month. Hermes NexTec is a division of Otto Group and supplier of e-commerce services to fashion brands like Escada and mainstream retailers like H&M and Lands’ End. Hermes is unrelated to the luxury company of the same name. Its parent company, Hermes Group, generated revenues of$2.8 billion in 2013.
“If a known brand wants to expand internationally for a product with a high existing demand the strategy is different than for a retailer that offers commodity products for the mass market,” Bald said. “Commoditized mass market products need a brand recognition first before they can be sold successfully. If nobody knows that you exist, nobody will search for you on the Internet.”
Establishing brick and mortar stores in major cities and target markets via pop-up stores, shop-in-shops, franchise operations and traditional retail stores are proven ways to develop a brand, Bald said. Then, “sell to people that live in the countryside and smaller cities via ecommerce.”
“Fashion is an emotional product, people identify and express themselves with what they wear,” he said. “In order to successfully sell fashion online an emotional experience needs to be delivered online to engage with the customer.”
The challenges retailers face vary from market to market.
“If your product meets the demand, it will always sell independent from the economic climate, Bald said. “Different markets require a different strategy to be successful. It might make sense to focus on the markets in which the products can be successful instead of trying to sell undifferentiated to the entire world.”
Focusing on a less-saturated market, such as Eastern Europe, might be more beneficial than moving into Western Europe, which is often the first international market companies try to penetrate, he said.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion