Investing in digitalisation and expanding internationally are key to growing in a challenging fashion market, Peter Wood, global chief operating officer at AllSaints, told the Drapers Fashion Forum this morning.
Peter Wood, AllSaints
Kicking off the event at 30 Euston Square in London today Wood said AllSaints had gone through a “step change” to meet customer demand, moving from being a retailer with a website to a digital brand that has stores.
“Digital is the way we do business – it’s not just a function,” Wood said.
To drive the business forward in the UK AllSaints has a developed a system in house that allows online shoppers to access all stock in stores as well that stored in the business’s distribution centre.
“We effectively turned all of our stores into mini-distribution centres so shoppers can buy stock from everywhere. It has increased our full-price sell-through as we freed up stock levels. We were able to grow our business in a mature market by adapting to changing needs of customers,” Wood added.
Around 50% of all AllSaints sales are now from global markets compared with 25% four years ago. Wood said driving the international part of the business is essential to growing the brand.
When launching in South Korea – the retailer’s first Asian market – two years ago, AllSaints created brand awareness in the region digitally through product placement with local influencers, rather than going down the traditional advertising route.
“One year before we launched our first store in Korea the country was 60th in terms of countries visiting our website. By focusing on local influencers to showcase our product, the day the shop opened Korea was fifth,” said Wood.
“That digital awareness was so important in driving the success of the business. You have to see challenges as positives. We can’t control what’s happening in the outside world, so we have to adapt to changing trends and use them to our advantage.”