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Omnichannel Marketing Is Helping More E-Retailers Like Indochino Understand The Need For Storefronts

National Retail

Online menswear specialist Indochino is a pioneer in the shift of e-retailers entering the realm of brick-and-mortar storefronts. Starting from a handful of “Traveling Tailor” pop-up shops across the U.S. and Canada in 2013, Indochino opened its first storefront a year later in Vancouver.

Today, Indochino has 20 showrooms in the U.S. and Canada and plans to expand to 37 by year’s end.

Much of that growth can be traced back to the appointment of Drew Green as CEO in December 2015. Green said the showrooms have become Indochino’s largest channel for acquiring new customers, and a main reason why the company experienced 50% year-over-year growth the past three years. They are also proof e-retailers are learning as much about how brick-and-mortar retail is affected by omnichannel marketing as traditional retailers are using omnichannel to embrace online sales.

Indochino CEO Drew Green

Green said brick-and-mortar was not part of Indochino’s strategy when the company launched 11 years ago. Back then, its focus was solely on taking a previously inaccessible aspect of the fashion industry — bespoke men’s clothing — and making it affordable by taking it online. After doing that successfully, Indochino looked at the type of company it wanted to become and represent to consumers, and felt a brick-and-mortar presence was a pillar of its growth strategy. The pop-up shops gave Indochino the confidence to move forward with permanent locations.

“Looking at retail and where it was, we felt it was turning into a transactional-based experience. It needs to get away from that and return to a personalized experience. Storefront retail allowed us to become an experiential brand, and our approach to brick-and-mortar was different,” Green said.

Indochino showrooms are founded on an appointment-based model, and 80% of its customers make appointments. Customers are paired with an expert style guide who works with the customer to help design every aspect of his suits or shirts, from the types of fabrics and materials used to measurements and custom style options. Each garment is made to order and delivered within four weeks. Green said this is a completely personalized experience, from start to finish.

Indochino Chicago

Green said Indochino’s explosive three-year growth is an extension of its success in e-commerce and a result of studying its customers' habits and its own omnichannel approaches.

“We’ve brought custom-made apparel mainstream. In doing that, we focus on pricing strategy, how do we make it available to everyone, and providing a better experience at a better price,” Green said.

The growth of Indochino’s brick-and-mortar strategy may look rapid in a short space of time, but Green said it has actually been a patient growth. The company opened 10 showrooms last year, focusing on high-demand target markets like Chicago and Seattle, based on customer trends and data, while also opening showrooms in major North American markets.

“Our showrooms become destinations,” Green said.

Indochino has spent the past couple of years refining its omnichannel approach. Green said it engages its customers online and in person to choose the best path to create the garments of their choosing.

“Our marketing budget is spread across the transactional focus as well as driving appointments to our showrooms,” Green said.

Green said Indochino’s data also shows the company is establishing deep relationships with its customers. Nearly 50% of Indochino’s transactions are return customers, which is the company’s second-largest channel for customer acquisition.

Although Indochino’s showroom strategy is growing in scale, Indochino is also looking at ways to enhance its online experience, and will launch those enhancements in phases throughout the year.

Drew Green is a panelist at Bisnow's all-day Midwest retail summit Feb. 27 at the J.W. Marriott Chicago.