It’s no secret that the retail industry around the globe is currently experiencing one of the biggest challenges in its history, caused by COVID-19 and the subsequent economic downturn that is challenging businesses’ cashflows and ultimately their existence. In order to prepare for the future and ensure survival, some companies began to innovate and adjust to the micro and macro-economic shocks that reshape the already competitive retail space.
A retailer of tomorrow must not only be connected with its customers and key stakeholders, it should also be agile and quick to adapt to the challenges and new regulations that are imposed industry-wide. From the booming e-commerce industry and shifting generational trends, to AI and machine learning CRM solutions, a successful retailer must be aware of the opportunities that those changes create.
Retail Insider has in the past reported on a Concord based premium retailer, OriginalLuxury Inc., that currently carries a number of extravagant brands that were not widely available in Canada in the past including a notoriously rebellious Philipp Plein from Switzerland, a classic and chic Zilli from France, and highly-popular and growing Slowear group of brands. In order to learn more about the company’s success and its approach to maneuver through these difficult times, we spoke with Husan Aripov, managing partner of OriginalLuxury, to see what tools and tactics could be employed by other Canadian retailers facing the same issues.
OriginalLuxury Inc. is a premium retailer of exclusive (mainly European) brands that was founded in 2018 to cater to the Canadian market. In a short period of time, the company became an official distributor for a number of high profile brands, including Artioli, Faliero Sarti, Billionaire, Philipp Plein, Barba Napoli, Incotex, Zilli, and more. It is worth noting that some of those brands were not present in Canada before, or were represented in very small variety. Zilli, for example, is one of the oldest and most sought-after ultra-premium menswear brands, that caters to the most affluent clientele. This approach of targeting niche brands allowed OriginalLuxury to position itself among premium retailers very well, without directly competing with them.
Although the company is mainly focusing on e-commerce sales through its own platform, this year it has opened a “by appointment-only” showroom for OriginalLuxury clients to be able to see and try the products on before making a purchase. “We strongly believe that COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way individuals eat, go out, and most importantly shop” says Aripov. “You do not want to go to a crowded mall, or a store during a pandemic – simply because the associated risks outweigh one’s desire to go shopping. As a result, customers are shifting towards online shopping across all product segments, which puts even more emphasis on ensuring quick and high-quality production of content for e-commerce platforms”. OriginalLuxury was lucky enough to create its own subsidiary, Stylephotos.ca, that acts as an in-house photography and videography studio.
StylePhotos helps other retailers across Canada to create outstanding photo and video content at a reasonable price, something that is so needed in today’s economy. Retailers are always stuck in a “loop” of buying new collections three or four times a year, and the faster their order gets online the faster they will make money. “At StylePhotos we were able to create a system that allows for consistent and streamlined process to take place — something that never existed in product photography before,” said Husan.
Being in e-commerce industry themselves, allowed the young and innovative start-up to tailor their service offering specifically for every client. “Our photo-studio is not managed by photographers,” said Aripov, “it is run by business-minded individuals who look at cost-saving for clients first”. We believe that this mindset is the key factor that allowed StylePhotos to partner with the largest Canadian retailers, while offering the same service to small companies and individual entrepreneurs.
For OriginalLuxury, staying focused on customer service, having a limited and carefully-curated brand portfolio, and constant innovation allowed the company to survive the ravaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. These factors are also relevant to other retailers, who are looking not only to survive, but to succeed at a time, where odds are not in their favour.
For more information, visit: originalluxury.ca
For more information on StylePhotos, visit: stylephotos.ca