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Nicola Mira
Feb 5, 2021
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Desigual to extend e-tail activity to 108 new markets, integrating franchisees

Translated by
Nicola Mira
Feb 5, 2021

Desigual is boosting its omni-channel capabilities. The Catalan fashion label’s online sales posted an average annual growth rate of 50% in 2020, with peaks of up to 70%. Desigual is now kicking off a project to expand e-tail operations to 108 new markets, and will integrate its franchised stores into its e-tail channel, in those markets where Desigual already has a presence.

Desigual’s upcycling project - Desigual

After introducing e-tail operations in markets like Turkey, Russia and Hong Kong in the past year, Desigual plans to extend its online presence to more than 150 countries during 2021. Specifically, the label wants to open an online presence in 108 new markets, by deploying cross-border e-commerce technologies developed with specialised platform Global-e.

“This is a project that enables us to offer a globalised, consistent brand experience, one that will strengthen our omni-channel model,” said Desigual's channel strategy director, Jordi Balsells, adding that, “insofar as we adopt a uniform technology solution, we can guarantee the same quality standards in the shopping and customer response process, while at the same time being able to localise this global experience in each of our countries.”

The Catalan label, founded by Thomas Meyer, is also keen to, "globalise the desigual.com e-shop,” and in February it will start integrating franchisees into its e-tail operations, in countries where it already has a monobrand store presence like Mexico, Colombia and Singapore. The project will be staggered in two phases, beginning with a pilot test in Slovenia this month. Then, during the month of March, Desigual is planning to extend the system to all its franchisees.

“This project will enable us to be active with our online store in those markets where we do not have a presence now, and in those where we are already present with franchised stores, giving the latter the means to manage their online sales independently," said Balsells.

Desigual wants its franchisees to be able to manage their own inventory and do business both physically and virtually, a capability that is increasingly necessary while health protection measures are still limiting the activity of physical stores and their opening hours.

E-tail accounts for 30% of revenue

One of Desigual's current challenges is strengthening its digital capabilities. Online sales now account for 30% of the label’s total revenue, but by 2023 Desigual’s goal is for 60% of revenue to be generated by e-tail and from markets outside Europe. As of today, the latter's share amounts to 43%. Needing to accelerate the implementation of its “strategic priorities” owing to the pandemic’s impact, Desigual said it is rethinking the “role of physical stores” and seeking “solutions to be closer to customers.”

“The countries that performed most successfully in 2020, when we look at growth, were Poland, the UK, Spain and Italy,” said Aleksandra Olszewska, Desigual's director of digital operations, pointing out that this year’s objective is to continue to grow in Japan, the U.S. and Canada, and on T-Mall in China.

Last year's data indicates that more than half of the label's online sales were made via a mobile device or tablet, and that 75% of Desigual’s e-shop traffic came from smartphones. Spain, Italy and France were the countries generating the highest visitor numbers. Desigual recorded a 40% increase in online buyers, while purchasing frequency rose by 15%.

Desigual was founded in Barcelona in 1984 and currently has over 3,300 employees. It is present in 89 countries via 10 commercial channels and 438 monobrand retail outlets. In the 2019 financial year, Desigual’s sales fell by 10%, down to €589 million.

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