David Butler, the CEO of Crew Clothing, has detailed his plan for successful clothing retailing over the coming years.
Butler believes that the secret of Crew’s success is to expand beyond its physical shops. Shop sales account for only 25% of the company’s business, with the majority coming from wholesale sales and e-commerce.
Shops are still important to Crew Clothing but the company focuses on market and resort towns rather than large cities and shopping centres. This means that it avoids high rents and this keeps its shops profitable.
Instead of seeing e-commerce as a threat, Crew has embraced it. Butler says:
“We’ve seen some great growth. In the last financial year, ecommerce grew by 11% and this year it’s growing by almost 30%. Conversion rates are sitting at 4.5%-5%, which is above the industry average. But there’s more we can do.”
He says that because the stores run by Crew are small, increasing its clothing range in them is limited. E-commerce ranges, on the other hand, are not restricted and Crew has developed a range of online exclusive lines.
Clothing retailers that want to expand their e-commerce business like Crew need to reorganise their logistics with warehouses capable of quickly and accurately processing online orders. Though automation helps, clothing retailers rely on manual handling equipment like heavy duty garment rails and warehouse trolleys. Crew also distributes some online orders via its stores.
Crew Clothing has shown that the key to retailing is not to rely solely on physical shops but to diversify into wholesale and e-commerce.Get a free quote