As the COO of Adore Me – a disruptive, innovative, online lingerie brand - I never thought I’d be announcing that we’re opening over 300 retail stores during the next five years. With daily headlines on how traditional retailers are closing stores, Adore Me is among the D2C brands moving towards opening physical retail. To us, the key to succeeding in retail is innovation and differentiation. For a previously online-exclusive brand, I want to take you through the thought process behind the decision.
First, a permanent store will help fuel further growth and strengthening the brand; it will work as an extension of the Adore Me brand as physical retail stores will assist in the discovery of the brand for new customers. It will also garner impulse buying which isn’t feasible online. Also, for a new online based brand, physical stores help build brand credibility.
Another reason why retail stores are important is for customer values; the principles we’ve set on how we want to service our customers will benefit from the humanized element of shopping in physical stores. With one-on-one size fittings, style advice and in-store events, we can tailor the interaction towards the customers, and create a greater relationship and customer community.
Third, as the customers are our main focus point, physical retail will assist in strengthening their shopping experience by leveraging omni-channel and the use of data. Just because we’re offline does not mean we’re turning a blind eye to data. As a true digital native, Adore Me plans to gather as much data points as possible. We’ll make sure we’re able to understand conversion rate, demographics, in-store customer behavior, SKU performance, omni-channel dynamics, fitting room conversion, etc. in order to continuously improve our experience and operations to build the best stores for our customers.
Moreover, our customer focused values influence our strong, seamless connection between online and retail -where the customer can make a purchase online and return in-store - and vice versa. Building our own cutting-edge distribution center has been a fundamental stepping stone in being able to deliver an omni-channel experience. The distribution center is 130k sq. ft. and house a highly-automated order management process; state of the art-technology brings the warehouse to life – the two main elements being the Autostore and the Sure sort. The new warehouse will be able to process and fulfill a higher volume of orders to a lower cost (thanks to robotics technology). Accuracy on orders will be increased – meaning all orders are completed with the right product to the right customer. Most important, owning the process of distribution is key to succeeding in retail today. In the era of Amazon, customers expect their packages to ship and be delivered within two days. Having control of our shipments also allow us to be creative with inserts and local communication in boxes, such as inserts; utilizing our customer data, we can send personalized messaging - such as invites to store openings. For omni-channel, we have built a matrix technology tool that allows our internal tech system to talk to each other. If our marketing team identifies a sales opportunity in our physical retail store and need to be able to do changes in inventory through our distribution center overnight – this can now be done.
To sum, our retail journey is centered and built around the customer. It has just begun and we’re eager to keep test and iterate until we find the perfect retail store for Adore Me.