I’ve written a few times about how, as the US grows its competency and reach in online retail, it will be able to scale around the world without the need for stores.
A strong retail brand, great service, good prices, and products manufactured anywhere in the world, will mean US-based, and other innovative retailers in any country of the world, will be able to reach out and ‘sell’ to the world. It may be one of the reasons why several of the larger multi-format retailers, like Walmart, have slowed their international expansion. It may also be why digital adverting and communication agencies are booming.
The ability to take a brand that has never been seen or experienced by a nation, and build the core attribute of trust, to then move through the timeless marketing steps from ‘Attention’, through to ‘Interest’ and into a ‘Desire’ which triggers a tangible ‘Action’ is an much valued talent. It’s happened already here with ASOS in clothing, and with Amazon UK’s DVDs and games, without any mainstream advertising.
So I was pleased to see Neiman Marcus, the Dallas-headquartered luxury department store, advertising www.neimanmarcus.com on the inside of a glossy magazine last week. The same mainstream print media that our own DJs and Myer were advertising in on that Sunday morning. Now I am pleased because I love for shoppers to have choice and great prices. And I love it because if Neiman Marcus can do it, then other regional luxury retailers can take their brand, service and products to the world.
Neiman Marcus is not a global heavyweight. It operates predominantly in and around Texas, a state of 25 million above-average wealthy world citizens, alongside interstate interlopers like Nordstrom out of the sleepy north-west and Saks out of the decadent north-east. And now they offer their brands, service, prices and free shipping on qualifying orders, to the “state” of Australia.
We are a “state” of 22 million above average wealthy world citizens. We have DJs and Myer. Stores that are iconic trusted brands that have retailed luxury goods to us locals for over a century. With the right thought and digital strategy they could retail their wares to small towns like Guangzhou and Shenzhen in southern China, where a combined 30 million people live.
Our laconic “Aussie” brand has strong currency in the US and UK at the moment. So strong that a “fake” Aussie brand like “Gilly Hicks from Bondi Beach” is trading very strongly in the A&F retail stable. So there’s no reason why Sass & Bide, Aussie Bum, Deus Ex Machina and range of other genuine Australian brands can’t be retailed to the world via DJs and Myer’s online “dotcom” stores targeted at specific nations.
Except our prices. We would have to offer better prices to US and UK shoppers. But that shouldn’t be an issue as the sales would be incremental, firewall protected and the products manufactured just as competitively as the US brands like A&F and Gilly Hicks…in China.
I reckon it’s a winner.