The retail landscape in late 2016 is as competitive as it has ever been, and with Brexit weakening the pound and raising consumers’ costs in the UK, reports abound of retailers struggling to attract customers at home. During this time, there is one fashion retailer, Ted Baker, which has managed to buck the industry trend and has exhibited better than expected growth at home and abroad with revenues 14.4% up on the previous year. Ted Baker’s approach to marketing has been a breath of fresh air for the industry, and there are a number of lessons retailers can learn from the brand’s strategy.
Innovative marketing experiences
Ted Baker is committed to creating unique and innovative marketing experiences for its customers. In September, the brand launched the first voice shoppable video experience, drawing customers in to a world of fashion espionage crafted by director Guy Ritchie. Throughout the video, viewers are encouraged to click on the various ‘looks’ showcased, which then bookmarks the various garments in a ‘vault’ below the video for later browsing and purchasing.
Projections from Cisco show that by 2020 79% of all Internet traffic will be from video. With this ahead-of-the-curve approach, the retailer has been able to showcase the innovative and fun aspects of the brand as well as enabling them to promote their range of clothing in an entertaining way. It overcomes one of the unique-to-online-commerce hurdles, of clothing largely being presented through static images. The video also lets the retailer promote its links with luxury retailers Selfridges in the UK and Nordstrom in the US, elevating its brand in the process. Imagery and video are extremely powerful communication tools, especially for retailers who are fashion and design led.
Ted Baker has shown that brands who are willing to use the latest technology and be creative with their video production can create highly engaging marketing collateral in an increasingly popular media format for their customers.
A measured approach to international expansion
Gaining a foothold in international markets is difficult, and Ted Baker’s approach appears to be more measured than most. The brand has committed to building a handful of its own stores in China, the US and Canada. It is also supporting concessions in key growth markets of Mexico, Taiwan, Vietnam and South Africa. As uncertainty reigns in the political and economic spheres the world over, Ted Baker has decided to let demand lead supply, building up the stature of the brand in new markets and creating desire for their products, thus adding an element of exclusivity.
The brand launched its first language-specific site in Germany last quarter, a country where only 60% of the population learns English to a high enough standard to hold a basic conversation and browse English language websites. Customers respond well to content in their own language. Not only does it drive engagement with the customer and encourage them further along the customer journey, but it also shows a level of commitment by the brand to build a relationship with the market. As a next step, brands would be smart to match the customs of their target market to ensure their message is well received and that their customers get the personalised experience they desire.
Ted Baker has been careful to build demand for its brand abroad and to build up its presence in foreign markets slowly, always ensuring that consumers are not over supplied. This keeps interest high and reduces the need for price-based promotions.
A strong digital effort
The continued investment in its ecommerce sites has been one area where the retailer has set itself apart from its competitors. Ted Baker’s CEO Ray Klein himself highlighted the importance of “improved design, performance and personalised content.” And Head of Global Marketing Gail Dobinson has said that “digital is providing more scope than traditional channels for the brand.” And that “marketing has caught up with science fiction.”
Ted Baker is approaching its marketing efforts in the same way Apple famously approaches designing its iconic products like the iPod and iPhone, it is looking to ‘surprise and delight’ consumers. The levels of interactivity and innovation Ted Baker is utilising sticks in consumers’ minds because the consumer is able to connect and enjoy the advertising and marketing content, creating a richer relationship. With so many brands clamouring for consumers’ attention, innovative and personalised shopping experiences cut through particularly well.
Ted Baker has been growing successfully as a business over the last 5 years and its agile and considered approach to expansion, and its digital presence strongly underpins the brand. The key lessons for retail brands are to be realistic when building a presence abroad, utilising video and taking full advantage of the opportunities created by new digital channels for interesting marketing campaigns
What ultimately pulls together the various strands of Ted Baker’s strategy is a respect for digital channels. The opportunities open to brands are extremely varied, and the reach and personalisation capabilities offered by digital marketing are unparalleled. Retailers looking to learn from Ted Baker’s success would be wise to adopt its attitude to digital as an exciting channel to create the next level of interactive content. This content can be used to engage customers across borders and makes a brand accessible beyond the high street, both critical elements in today’s uncertain retail landscape.
About Saima Alibhai
Saima Alibhai has over 10 years of experience in the marketing technology industry, working alongside clients internationally in the UK, Europe and Latin America.