BERLIN — Germany’s leading luxury e-tailer, Mytheresa.com, is actively upgrading its efforts in the online store’s second-largest market: the U.S.
In a relaunch set for Tuesday, American customers will be offered a trio of new service initiatives: credit card payment via Discover, JCB and Diners Club, as well as PayPal; a toll-free service number staffed by English speakers to assist with queries and problems, and American sizes indicated on each product detail page for all ready-to-wear items and shoes. Last year Mytheresa implemented the Delivered Duty Paid service from DHL, which means that all product prices on the American site include import duties and customs.
Based in Munich, the Web site was founded in 2006 by retailers Christoph and Susanne Botschen, owners of the city’s trendsetting designer store Theresa. Featuring 160 international designers, including Lanvin, Marc Jacobs, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Erdem, Stella McCartney, Valentino, Tod’s (with a worldwide exclusive) and Isabel Marant, and new 2013 entries such as Loro Piana, Loewe and Balmain, the site attracts more than 1.5 million unique visitors, almost 4 million visits and 24 million page impressions a month. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 300 new products go online; there are weekly newsletters; editorials updated weekly; spotlight seasonal trends, and there are iPhone and iPad apps.
Mytheresa.com ships up to 2,000 orders daily from Munich to more than 100 countries, with international sales accounting for more than 60 percent of revenues. For Stateside shipments, DHL Express delivers to the East Coast within 24 hours and to the West Coast within one to three working days.
Rtw generates about 45 percent of sales, with shoes, bags and other accessories making up the remaining 55 percent. Having consistently clocked in growth rates of over 50 percent year-on-year, net revenue (after discounts, returns and refunds) for mytheresa rose about 75 percent in 2012 to reach 44 million euros, or $56.6 million. Dollar figures are converted from the euro at an average exchange rate for the period.
Growing above plan is a “luxury problem to have, and one that we needed to follow up fast,” managing director Jens Riewenherm said. To that end, a new 100,000-square-foot warehouse and logistics center is currently under construction in Munich, though Riewenherm proudly pointed out that despite the unexpected dynamic last year, no parcel failed to leave the warehouse on schedule.
Admittedly much smaller than Net-a-porter, Mytheresa would also seem to cover much of the same designer territory.
“If you compare the brand portfolio, there are some similarities,” Riewenherm acknowledged. “But if you compare styles, there’s maybe an overlap of 30 to 40 percent. As retailers, we also offer the key runway pieces and looks of the season. We’d be stupid not to. But as for the full selection, there’s a big difference. The way we edit our selection and the trends…is a bit more your personal boutique style than other online multibrand stores. It’s all about curation and picking the best and most feminine pieces,” he said in summing up MyTheresa’s fashion DNA.
Being a German-based, continental European company is also an important element of Mytheresa’s identity and something that goes down well in the U.S. “The Made in Germany service factor is welcomed, as is our taste, which is more influenced by the continental understanding of fashion. There’s a big appetite for European designers in the U.S.,” he said.
For this reason, Mytheresa tailors some of its special offers to specific markets. On Sundays, for example, there are exclusive pre-shopping offers for subscribers that allow them to shop limited designer collections three times earlier than other visitors. “In the U.S. we might do a Christian Louboutin pre-shopping, while we’d choose Alexander Wang for the Germans,” he said.
Right now, after Germany and the U.S., other key markets for MyTheresa are the U.K., France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Japan and the Middle East. “International markets are growing at an overproportional rate and faster than Germany. And we can see that whenever we relaunch a site as we did in France and Italy last year and are now doing in the U.S., [business] speeds up,” the executive commented.