French contemporary brand The Kooples today is launching a U.S. e-commerce site that Nicolas Dreyfus, the retailer’s chief executive officer, predicted will account for 25 percent of the company’s U.S. business within the next several years.
“From the start we’ve always thought of The Kooples as a global brand with a retail strategy that includes e-commerce,” Dreyfus said. The Kooples, which bowed September 2008 in France, unveiled a French e-commerce site one month later.
“It was quite obvious when we launched in the U.S. that we’d launch an e-commerce site, but we weren’t perfectly ready,” Dreyfus said. The company in 2014 unveiled five flagships in the U.S. — two in New York, two in Los Angeles and one in San Francisco. Dreyfus said wholesale was intended to be part of the U.S. business strategy following retail development in the U.S. as part of a step by step process.
The company in September will unveil its first outlet store at Sawgrass Mills in Miami.
The brand operates in 15 countries in Europe, but e-commerce sites exist in only four countries: France, Germany, the U.K. and Switzerland. The Kooples, which operates 350 stores worldwide, attracts one million visitors to its European web sites each month.
E-commerce accounts for 9 percent of the company’s total business, Dreyfus said, adding that online sales increased 25 percent in the first half of the fiscal year. “Last year we had 70 percent growth online versus the previous year,” he said.
The Kooples will next launch e-commerce sites in Ireland and Netherlands.
The U.S. e-commerce site will be largely the same as the European ones, Dreyfus said. Products will be shipped from the company’s New Jersey warehouse with same-day delivery from a store or the warehouse as a planned option. In-store pickup and e-reservations are available in Europe. Same-day delivery, return in store and store to Web ordering will be available in Europe by the summer. In-store pickup and return in-store options are already available in the U.S., and the other ordering features will be implemented in the future.
The Kooples is launching a new transition collection online. Designed for the period between winter and spring, the collection, called Sunrise, will consist of 27 pieces. “It’s a very feminine collection,” Dreyfus said. “It has a huge inspiration from California. We’re offering it for the client for going on vacation.” Described as soft, summery and “very hippy,” the line will consist of silk and crochet pieces, and will be sold throughout the world.
Dreyfus said The Kooples is a multichannel business and as such, must motivate its teams to work together. “If we don’t have a product in the warehouse, the store can send it to a client, or if the boutique doesn’t have something, it can be ordered from the warehouse. We cannot work separately. When client comes to a store, you can’t say you don’t have an item.”