With an extensive international presence, how does Aldo remain true to its Canadian heritage?
David Bensadoun: We’re incredibly proud to be a Canadian company. Canada’s values of tolerance, diversity and respect for others align perfectly with our values. We believe that as we operate in 99 countries, we are actively spreading those positive values through our interactions with partners, suppliers and customers.
How is Aldo tapping technology to communicate its brand DNA and distinguish itself?
D.B.: Our customers have high digital expectations. They love researching, filtering and the validation functions provided by online shopping. Our mission is to provide those same functions in-store. We’re heavily investing to transform our stores’ digital experiences.
For example, we just completed the rollout of our Mfind technology to 500 North American stores. Mfind is an app that allows our staff to quickly search the store inventory, suggest alternate styles and recommend complementary accessories. It has already increased our conversion. Our customers can download the Aldo App and have the same functionality — it’s as though they have a remote control for an entire Aldo store. And also, it was all developed in Canada.
How did Aldo’s multiple sustainability efforts begin? How has it evolved?
D.B.: Our corporate social responsibility approach actually comes from our company culture. Our founder — my father — defined our values as love, integrity and respect.
Our CSR priorities are to inspire a better tomorrow for our associates and communities, create and source products we love with positive intent, engage our partners to instill our values and drive sustainable action.
Since 2013, we’ve reached a 22 percent absolute reduction in our own GHG emissions, in line with our long-term science-based target. We’re addressing our carbon footprint from source to store (across the entire value chain) by working with multiple stakeholders. We’ve recently prioritized low-carbon shipping methods such as boat, truck and train and managed to reduce air freight by 63 percent since 2013.
How have Millennials’ shopping preferences influenced Aldo’s business strategies?
D.B.: Ah — Millennials. Mobile is most important to them. As a result we’ve prioritized our front-end web design for mobile first. Because they’re on the go and exploring, we’re growing our wholesale segment to ensure our brand is where they’re shopping.
They’re extremely well-informed — the majority research purchases online before coming into our stores. They often arrive with loads of product knowledge on a specific style! As a result, our service model changed to emphasize speed and matching, complementary accessories.
How is Aldo keeping step with the quickly evolving retail landscape?
D.B.: Our biggest recent change is our focus on consumer insights. We’re investing a lot of time to better understand our consumers’ needs and their perspectives on the competition and us.
Although store traffic is dropping, the quality of traffic is improving — people are showing up with a larger intent to purchase. As a result, we’re putting a lot of emphasis on the in-store experience and ensuring we have their size in stock. We want our product to be available wherever the customer needs it.