French fashion designer Isabel Marant boosts international growth via e-commerce and digital technology with Cegid

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Retail software vendor, Cegid, announces today that French fashion label, Isabel Marant, is deploying various omni-channel services in France and abroad as it continues to expand its retail and e-commerce operations internationally.

E-commerce turned out to be a saving grace for Isabel Marant’s throughout the Covid-19 health crisis, it says. While the first two weeks of lockdown were relatively quiet, sales then gradually resumed and, from the beginning of May, the pace accelerated with growth well above pre-crisis levels.

“There was a sort of ‘revenge spending effect’ after months cooped up in quarantine,” explains Jean Keller, VP of global distribution at Isabel Marant. “We were already seeing solid growth before Covid-19, and at the beginning of June, we saw even better results. This shows that Isabel Marant customers are able to buy our products online even if they can’t actually get to a store to try clothes on.”

Isabel Marant is moving away from its roots in wholesale to further develop its core retail business, which now accounts for more than a third of sales. The fashion label will have amassed 47 stores by the end of 2020 and is experiencing strong growth in China, Europe and the United States, alongside rising sales through e-commerce over the last three years.

“Digital accounts for over a quarter of our sales, either via our online retail store, or through online resellers,” says Keller “In the US, it’s over half.”

To support retail growth and the rollout of new digital services, Isabel Marant decided to switch Cegid Retail’s unified commerce platform to SaaS and managed to use the slowdown in activity during the global pandemic to carry out the operation smoothly. And having the back-office teams mobilised during the first half of 2020 made introducing new omnichannel services even easier, bringing with it more agility when dealing with new scenarios.

The retailer is setting up new services to keep up with growing online demands: such as introducing ‘click-and-collect’ and ‘ship-from-store’ services to favour local stores for swifter deliveries to consumers and maintaining closer contact.

Isabel Marant is adding other Cegid solutions to help extend ranges beyond the store, including offering products that aren’t always available in stores thanks to a broader mix online (known as ‘Endless Aisle’). It’s even considering a ‘try and buy’ scheme whereby customers can order a selection of clothes to try on and only pay for those they keep.

Keller imagines scenarios where customers could get entire outfits to try on at home, or sent to a hotel, and they only pay for what they want. The retailer has also set up a system for making appointments online so that customers can book time with consultants individually in-store, if desired. Live shopping programmes are another possible addition in future – something that’s already taken off in China (especially during lockdown), including watching QVC-style shopping videos online to boost e-commerce sales.

“Our staff always have a lot going on, especially when a new store is opened every month,” says Keller. “Moving our retail IT systems to the cloud has helped us clean up our databases and target our customers more effectively.”

“During the coronavirus crisis, new omnichannel services have proven decisive as consumers expect multiple shopping options, including being able to buy online and picking up orders in stores or being delivered,” says Nathalie Echinard, director of the retail business unit at Cegid.