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Victoria’s Secret Executive Talks International Expansion – WWD

Victoria’s Secret’s direct-to-consumer transition began long before underwear giant decisiond to update its image. It stwas started around 2014, when the brand – then part of Brand LO, now Bath & Body Works, Inc. – decided to push its global reach beyond the US market.

Ishan Patel, digital chief executive officer of Victoria’s Secret, said Sunday at National Retail Great Federal Program at New York. “We shipped to over 200 countries before we went online, but it was a very US-focused experience: US dollars, in English, payments really only there. USA – Visa, Mastercard and AmEx at the time – and we shipped out of Ohio. But in 2014, we really started thinking about this…. We’ve moved to five markets where we’re really trying to create [same] experience with languages, currencies and commodities [abroad]: Canada, Australia, UK, France, Germany, and then Spain. And then we really started to understand those markets better. ”

The efforts have led to an international expansion that today spans more than 60 countries – most recently localities like Milan, Israel and India – 40 currencies and 20 payment methods, plus many franchise partners. And while the company has lost market share in recent years in the country (down from 32% of US women garment market in 2015 to about 20% by 2021, according to consumer tracking service NPD Group) before its combination from Bath & Body Works Last year, Victoria’s Secret’s international sales were still sizable. In the most recent quarter, Victoria’s Secret’s international business generates $114 million in revenue, push the company to give a positive outlook ahead of important things holiday shopping season.

But Patel warned other retailers that expansion was no easy task. There are nuances to moving into new markets, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all proposition.

“There is no such thing as international,” he said. “It’s a country-by-country, market-by-market assessment; it’s that mindset breakthrough to understand that in every single market there are variables and synergies and distortions from your home market that you need to understand. We have different areas of distortion within our own core categories and classifications that we really need to understand. And in doing so, we are actually meeting the consumer where she is. We are meeting the consumer regarding what is relevant and important to her. ”

Shoppers at a retail complex walk past the American lingerie company's Victoria's Secrets store in Beijing on Friday, December 13, 2019. China's vice commerce minister said China and the United States had reached trade agreement, which would reduce punitive duties on each other's goods. (AP Photo / Ng Han Guan)

People shop outside a Victoria’s Secret store in Beijing. Patel told attendees at NRFBig show of New York It’s important to understand the different ways your brand resonates in each local overseas market.
AP

“And it’s more than just brand language. [It’s] consider the touch points,” continued Patel. “Moving into a new market, it’s been a bit difficult. One of the [other] the things we learned along the way was just taking the time, understanding the market, understanding the consumer; talk to a lot of people [locally]. The partners you have in the market may be your own with which you are operating may have experience abroad, talk to local agencies, talk to experienced suppliers [there] with the consumers themselves. And when you build a picture of [a] brand, how your brand resonates, that’s your flying star. It is an understanding of input costs, competition. All that super important research.

“It’s an infinite game,” he added. “There is no end point. You’re constantly working to understand where the market is going, what consumers think, what’s going on with the competition, and what adjustments we need to make. ”

The executive said another question retailers should ask is whether the expansion is worth the effort in specific locations.

“One thing that you have to understand is the size of your customers [base],” said Patel. “Some markets – based on your path, your niche, your expertise – are much more lucrative than others.”

In addition, things like creating trust during the checkout process (no hidden fees and clear delivery dates), offering multiple secure payment methods, and return options are essential in creating loyalty. among new customers.

“It doesn’t matter how great your brand is or your category, if you’re right down to that checkout and then you have friction there… that’s a bad move there,” says Patel. Patel said. “The ability to get back local quickly, to make sure her credit was applied as quickly as possible, that convenience factor was really important so she had less reason to say no [to the brand]. It lowers the barriers to brand entry.

“It is important to us as a retailer, and to anyone here as a brand, to understand [that] You also have an obligation. And I think, understand how to ensure those obligations are related to the security of your customers,” continued Patel. “[You built trust] by repeatedly making that commit and that promise and every time that promise is unfulfilled someone will comment on it. They will comment in the reviews; they will comment in a social media post. [Consumers] are participating in it. They are getting their trust from other consumers; It’s not just what the brand is saying. They are getting that trust from other people who already have experience [with the brand.] So you [as the brand] is building on that trust. You’re building that relationship by consistently making that promise. “

https://wwd.com/business-news/retail/victorias-secret-nrf-1235035184/ Victoria’s Secret Executive Talks International Expansion – WWD

Linh

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