Primarlily we’re shoemakers. Been doing it a long time and we’re based in the SW.
But we sell shoes around the world. In the UK we’re more well known as a retailer- abroad generally as a brand/wholesaler.
UK ecommerce site, launched 20085 european ecommerce sites, first one launched 2011Us ecommerce site, originally run by zappatos then by clarks in 2011Indian ecom site live last yearAustralia ecom went live 2 weeks ago,A further 25 clarks marketing site worldwide1 clarks originals marketing site
I work in europe region. Predominantly wholesale business, we run 3 different operating modelsFor each market- subsid, agent or distributor.A lot of my experiences will be through that lens but not all- other learns and tips are same for all.
Trading team, inc Visual merchandiser per siteMarketing team, inccontnet editor per siteOps team inc PMFR and DE based in UK with usFirst sites we launched key to control themNL and ES teams based in countryEngaging with the local teamsBalance between Global consistency and localisation
Going global - Clarks European ecommerce
Dave Elston- Head of eCommerce- EuropeOverview of ClarksPractical experience in EuropeResearch from Asia
Virtual Trade Team4 VM’s, 1 data analyst + trade managerEU MCR Retail Ops + Project ManagementEU Digital Marketing teamManager and EU Marketing ManagerVirtual Content teamFR, DE, NL, ES + Manager2 x Webmasters+ DaveTeam Structure
• Big challenge is communicationand engagement with markets• Periods of great collaborationand then times of disconnect• We focus on constantly trying toengage across the teams,highlighting the positives• Not only P&L benefit, which sitsin their P&L’s– other wins such as store locatoruse– good SEO results and resultingbrand visibility
• Our DC is based inSomerset! Cut off timestricky..• URL strategy- went local.Positive for SEO but alsowe want to be local withinour global brand• The words are all providedby our native contenteditors (even in Somerset)• Call centre is outsourced,we work with Sykes and sofar been very good for us.
• Nothing new here- got tobe local• NL- Ideal• DE- don’t like creditcards!• We take ELV in DE• Also working to takeSofort and payment byinvoice• PayPal is good acrossEurope
• Cliches are true• Germans are fastidious• Shop by product type-shoes/boots• Shoe Technology is very important• Planned purchases- market isquickly into new season• They like to use internal searchand left hand nav.• Lots of calls to the call centreabout shoes purchased manymany years ago
• High. Very high returns rates.Payment by invoice could makethis worse.• But we have our highestconversion rate and highest AOVfrom Germany.• Paid search is important for us butis v competitive• SEO is also verycompetitive, especially on genericterms• Affiliate commission rates are veryhigh. It has taken a while for us tobuild but now much morepositive.
• Cliches are true• The French are much more‘emotional’• Less internal search andnavigation, much more use of linksin content/graphics etc• Shop by end use (ie workwear).• Fashion and inspirational featureswork well and get highengagement• Purchase when need to purchase-much later start to season
• Lower conversion rates andAOV than DE, but also muchlower returns.• Price driven market online• Strong affiliate results• Sales are very different! Datesare legal..• A lot more online retailersholding more promo events,esp private sales• Good SEO results for genericterms
• NL is a tough market• Much lower conversion rates aspeople tend to shop around• Higher returns rates than FR• React very well to promos– We’ve seen much higher response ratesto 20% promo’s vs sale• As per DE move quickly into newseason• NL is our highest direct load market,but also reflects on local marketingteam who are more active thanother markets.
• In Spain we’ve seen low conversionrates– compounded as we see a lot of trafficfrom the americas though we don’t shipthere• Lots of window shopping and research• V low returns rates• Excellent, quick generic SEO results• Device usage is behind UK, NL the mostadvanced.• Partnerships/working with 3rd partieshas been very positive in extending ourreach
Top Level Learns• No license to print money or substantial amount of sales to be madein year 1 of any business plan and break even at margin level wouldbe an incredible performance.• Online sales growing across Asia Pac, with Clarks shoes present forsale across many sites• The market for full price Clarks new season shoes is quite limitedonline• The cost bases of operating Asian online businesses will be verydifferent to the UK and EU (Comparatively cheap marketing andfulfilment)
Top Level Learns• The brand is at risk in all territories from a combination ofgrey (parallel) imports, last seasons markdowns or fakeand needs protection.• Sales of Clarks shoes online are mostly at a substantialdiscount of the local retail prices• Market places (online shopping malls) are the dominantform of consumer shopping• The brand needs to establish a strong online presencenow to exploit the opportunity when it comes. Theopportunity in the next 5 years is huge as e-commercegrows. Get a foothold in the market now before themarket matures and set up is more difficult.
China• The market is huge, potential of 500m consumers but the market iscurrently very small for full price Clarks shoes!• C2C, and marketplaces, completely dominates and will continue todo so for some years.• Chinese B2C AOV is v low and there are not many consumers ableto purchase high priced products yet• Taobao is the dominant internet sales platform across China(accounting for some 80% of the total retail market), and is mostlyused by consumers for C2C. Products and prices are cheap. Greygoods and fakes are prevalent.• Tmall is Taobao’s B2C platform and both sites are interlinked viasearch. To have any ecommerce success in China you must have apresence there.
China• Most payment is taken by COD or via Alipay, part of theTaoBao family.• For Brand Protection, an official brand presence onTmall would be v useful. Currently the commercialbenefit is less.• Our nearest market competitors in China currently makecirca £50k in sales a month from a presence on Tmallcombined with a stand alone site.• For Brand ‘sites’ within Tmall, sales equate to about 3large physical stores in sales. Most of their trade is at alarge discount.
China• There is increasing traffic looking for Clarks online.• We could expect potentially sub 100k visitors a week butwith a low conversion rate around 0.2% (typical for a premiumwestern brand.)• Search Engines are lot more disparate than in the UK anddifferent techniques are used to acquire traffic.– ie on Baidu you can buy page 1 of search results for yourbrand for a quarterly fee and add video’s, image etc– TaoBao/Tmall is the largest used search engine forecommerce as they do not list in Baidu• A typical sales split would be Full price 10% of mix , reducedprice 90% of mix. Returns will be around 10%
China• A Web site set up could take 3-4 months with a localservice provider. These can provide a full service offer(contact centre, website build, fulfilment & marketing).Set up fees + % sales agreement (ideally highly variablebased at launch dependent on volume which is likely tobe low)• There is high availability of domestic logistics providers,but local platform providers are less prevalent.• China requires a more localised solution to the rest ofAsia as market so different• Substantial opportunities exist in Hong Kong, Taiwan &South Korea with right business relationship
Japan• The opportunity in Japan is as big as China for the first 2 years• 80% of the population have access to the internet, with 70% ofinternet users having purchased, predominately throughmarketplaces.• Although younger consumers in Japan have led adoption ofecommerce over 30’s are now showing increase spend online, esparound mid-premium goods• Marketplaces are very important in Japan as in China .– Rakuten is by far the biggest, and has lots of grey imports andlast season reductions. General Brand presence on Rakuten islow
Japan• Distribution needs to be reviewed to manage grey imports etc pluspresence on Rakutan should enable better brand protection.• Zozotown is a brand key marketplace and represents a good brandfit.• One service provider for platform, customer care and fulfilmentacross SE Asia and Japan could fulfil requirements.• In Japan, service providers who can provide all ecom capabilitiesseem to be much less than China so a solution would probablyrequire a number of partners.
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