Eric Fisch has been named head of retail and apparel for the commercial banking division of HSBC.

Originally based in New York, Fisch moved to Los Angeles in 2011 to develop HSBC’s West Coast presence in the apparel sector. Over the past five years, he has helped build out the bank’s sizable apparel financing business, including onboarding several global e-commerce apparel retailers and treasure platforms spanning multiple countries.

In his new role, Fisch will have national coverage of one of the largest sectors within the HSBC corporate bank. HSBC is best known for its knowledge of seasonal businesses within apparel, such as the swimwear and outerwear sectors.

Looking ahead to the changes on the retail landscape and how they have impacted analytics and lending criteria, Fisch said: “As more of the apparel industry shifts to direct-to-consumer, HSBC has evolved the way we lend and evaluate creditworthiness of e-commerce companies. These companies have access to unprecedented data on consumer purchases, and we have taken some of this consolidated data to underwrite and monitor lending. Understanding customer acquisition costs, conversion rates and cohort analysis of lifetime value are examples of analytical tools unavailable to traditional retailers or wholesalers.”

The banker explained that the tools allow HSBC to better evaluate lending opportunities specific to digital native companies, even though the metrics do not replace the quality products that consumers want. And while the metrics provide abundant data on consumers, companies still need to translate this data into future production estimates, he said.

“Whether you are selling direct-to-consumer or through traditional brick-and-mortar, the risks of overbuying and sitting with stale inventory are the same,” Fisch said, noting that an understanding of those risks and the ability to monitor for them enable the bank to provide more flexible financing options suited to each client.

He also noted that as wholesalers have created their own online sites to sell goods direct-to-consumer, they’ve needed to add social media and marketing experts to their staff. One big question that’s still unclear concerns profitability over the incremental sales from direct-to-consumer. “Customer acquisition costs and the fact that these businesses are not yet scalable are two issues,” he explained.


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