Justin Stead, CEO, wrote that when Radley was acquired by private equity firm Bregal Freshstream in 2016, the business had established a good foundation in the UK but was underrepresented internationally.
When Radley was acquired by private equity firm Bregal Freshstream in 2016, the handbag brand is mature in the UK, but international representation is not enough. With this in mind, we identified several key markets that we believe have strong potential: China, the United States, Japan and Australia. As the world’s largest luxury market, China is vital. We launched on Tmall in China on [Alibaba’s China e-commerce platform] in 2017 and made its debut in Jingdong last week.
We have a clear opportunity to stand out through our products, London, the Scottie Dog logo and the brand’s playful features. This is especially important in China because the market is so saturated. It is important to provide a point of difference and provide customers with reasons to shop.
That is to say, we are careful not to overuse it from the beginning. Many companies have suffered losses due to excessive investment without fully understanding Chinese consumers. The initial sales targets we set are realistic and sensible.
First, our focus is on harnessing the growing purchasing power of the Chinese middle class, which is driving people’s interest in more quality goods and ensuring that Radley’s investments are low risk. Doing business in such a crowded and rapidly changing space requires companies to have a deep understanding of who their customers are, what the brand represents and how to differentiate them from their competitors.
Radley’s goal is to create a consistent brand that delivers superior quality and value and wins people’s trust. Our digital marketing strategy plays a key role in delivering brand stories and information to Chinese customers and enables us to connect with them. We have further strengthened this by engaging in culturally relevant activities such as the Lunar New Year, as they provide an interesting opportunity to create a specific, customized or limited edition product line to commemorate this day and interact with Chinese consumers. .
Developing a successful fashion business in China takes time, concentration and expertise, from local knowledge and nuances to speaking the language. The most important advice I can offer to retailers is to be patient.
We have experienced multiple challenges, but the biggest challenge is to identify the right products for Chinese consumers. There are a total of 30 municipalities and provinces, each with its own culture – from the north to the south, the style preferences are very different. Size, color, handling and small logos need to be considered. One size is not entirely suitable for the Chinese market, and it takes some time to install properly.
Although the economic slowdown has not affected Radley, we are ensuring the development of China’s business by finding suitable platforms and partners. It is critical to have strong partners on our trustworthy basis to implement our strategy.
We chose Alibaba in 2017 because the company reported a weekly increase in searches for Radley products on its platform. Not only did they help us improve Radley’s influence in China, but it also gave us a deeper understanding of the market, shoppers and their habits. This is especially important in the first year of trading there, because we have limited knowledge of the market.
We will vigorously develop online business in China. We plan to open the Tmall domestic store in early October, open the global JD.com store in China last week, and then open a domestic JD store in China. Vip.com and Secoo.com are also in the plan for the second half of this fiscal year.
We also plan to build a physical store, but we need to find the right partner. Expansion is a continuous learning curve that requires a comprehensive understanding of Chinese consumers and their product needs. We still know nothing about it: it’s an ongoing process, but it’s critical to Radley’s continued success.