Anastasia Roumelioti is Head of Marketing at Hawes & Curtis. She’ll be among the speakers at the Figaro Digital Retail & Ecommerce Seminar on 2 February 2016. We caught up with Anastasia to hear about the clothing retailer’s digital strategy.
In 2015 Hawes & Curtis announced it was relaunching as a lifestyle brand. What’s digital’s role been in conveying the brand’s repositioning?
First of all, a little bit of a background on Hawes & Curtis. Although widely known today as a traditional Jermyn Street shirt-maker, Hawes & Curtis used to be a very prestigious brand and an authority in men’s fashion with four Royal warrants and contributions to design like the backless waistcoat, famously worn by Fred Astaire.
In 2002, the then troubled company was bought for £1 by Touker Suleyman, who quickly scaled the business up and grew it to 29 stores by offering exactly what Touker manufactured best for other retailers, such as Ralph Lauren shirts.
Last year, after a long promotional battle in the British shirt industry with offers like four for 100, the company decided to introduce additional products that would dress customers from head-to-toe, from the office to the weekend. Digital has played a crucial role in repositioning the brand. We prioritised content management across everything: from communications to product descriptions, from website architecture to social media and campaign imagery. Digital has been the main tool in the brand’s journey as we had to re-introduce the brand to the public, invest in copy that would make SEO better for the new positioning and present the digital look of the brand in a more regal and prestigious way; and all this without alienating our existing customer base.
How has the brand adapted to the shift to mobile?
After thorough data and customer behaviour analysis where we discovered that half our online visitors come from mobile or tablet devices, we decided to launch our mobile responsive website.
Unfortunately, we are still trying to adapt to this change in consumer behaviour. For example, we’ve launched our iOS app and are looking into launching an Android one as well, but this is being treated as a separate revenue channel for the most loyal customers – those who’d actually go through the process of downloading and saving the app.
Having a mobile responsive website was absolutely crucial, not only for the Google rankings but also for the customer experience once users receive their newsletter and click through. With an open rate of more than 75 per cent via mobile, this was a no-brainer.
What other brands’ digital marketing strategies do you admire and why?
Right now we’re in the middle of a multichannel integration which, as the term suggests, involves the integration of our online and store systems. The goal is to achieve a single customer view in our data reports and CRM and to improve our communications and product offering to our customer base. This strategy was inspired by John Lewis.
Where do you go to for inspiration or motivation in your working life? Are there any books, bloggers, sites or apps that you can’t live without?
I really like Twitter and Instagram. Visiting them is part of my daily routine. Social media has democratised the way information flows and made knowledge more accessible. However, when it comes to fashion, a good source is Business of Fashion. With regards to marketing and digital, the Chartered Institute of Marketing is leading the way with rich recommendation lists for books, webinars and conferences, and this is something I cannot live without.
If you had one piece of advice to marketers working in retail this year, what would it be?
Retail marketing is both online and offline; we need to select the tools based on the customer’s needs and their shopping journey, rather than thinking about technology and real world. Now is the era of the internet of things and shopping online or browsing the online store while being in a physical store is expected behaviour. Marketers should view this as an opportunity rather than a sales cannibalisation risk between the stores, and maximise the potential with campaigns that have a marketing mix of digital and traditional advertising.