As you know by now, every week we welcome talented bloggers to capture what Threads, the Business of Fashion Accelerator Program is all about. They play a key role in engaging with industry related discussions and get an exclusive insiders look on the program. Our Western Cape Field Trip was joined by Lifestyle blogger, Chloe Farley.
On the 12th of February, the Threads entrepreneurs got to visit Spree at during their Cape Town field trip. As a part of the Threads program, the entrepreneurs are taken on field trips to key regions across the country in order to learn fundamental lessons in the business of fashion from the experts themselves. And what better place to learn about ecommerce than Spree, one of the most popular online clothing store in South Africa.
The entrepreneurs first lesson in ecommerce of the day involved an inside look at Spree’s buying procedure. Spree’s online clothing store is predominantly made up of products from South African designers. This is very beneficial for South African designers because according to Spree’s supply manager Lezell Peter, “Many South African designers have great products but no knowledge on how to sell that product, that’s what makes Spree so great.” However, Spree’s buying procedure involves a lot more than just stocking the products of local designers. It additionally involves careful analyses of the South African market.
According to Peter, there are three pivotal analyses that need to be conducted when deciding what an online store should stock. Firstly, a gap or competitor analysis. A gap analysis involves looking at what your competitors are stocking, who their target market is and what their price points are. These are important insights into your own online store because this knowledge can be implemented to ensure that your online store is unique from others and therefore stands out.
“Not everything that happens internationally will work in South Africa. You have to apply a lot of knowledge and caution when looking for trends to buy and stock.” Spree Buying Manager Lezell Peter. #ThreadsBySB
The second pivotal analysis to Spree’s buying process is known as a trend analysis. “Not everything that happens internationally will work in South Africa. You have to apply a lot of knowledge and caution when looking for trends to buy and stock,” says Peter.
Peter informs the entrepreneurs that trend analyses used to occur every 18 months, however due to social media, trends are now occurring at a faster rate as consumers want the latest items as seen on celebrities.
This phenomenon makes trend analysis paramount to the success of an online store as it allows one to ensure that their stock is ‘hot and happening’.
The third and final analysis pivotal to Spree’s buying process is known as a SWOT analysis. According to Peter, SWOT analyses should be done at the end of every season’s range in order to identify the colours, patterns and styles that really appealed to customers. This allows one to document these findings and later learn from them. “You do not need to reinvent the wheel every single season, you can update best-sellers and make sure they are still relevant,” says Peter. Therefore, this is an essential analysis as that informs what will be stocked in future ranges.
“People need to consciously and unconsciously know about you. After launching the new season, marketing is essential in order to remain relevant in the coming weeks.” Spree Head of Content Annelize Visser. #ThreadsBySB
The entrepreneurs second lesson in ecommerce of the day involved insights into Spree’s successful marketing. Spree utilizes various forms of marketing in order to make their online store known. These include the use of television, print, Onsite and Apps, newsletters, events, social community as well as paid media such as Facebook and Google. “People need to consciously and unconsciously know about you. After launching the new season, marketing is essential in order to remain relevant in the coming weeks,” says Annelize Visser, Spree’s head of content. Spree’s marketing strategy also understands the importance of identifying and reaching their target market through marketing. Their strategic target market predominantly falls in the 25 to 35-year-old age bracket as this is when individuals tend to first start earning their own money making it more likely that this target market will generate numerous sales. They understand that in order to reach and retain this target market, they need to offer exclusive content in order to remain unique from other online stores.