Adore Me has successfully been challenging the lingerie market with its online-first focus and affordable retail. As a digitally-native brand, it exceeded $100 million in revenue last year alone, and is setting sights on making a big physical imprint with 200-300 stores slated to open within the next five years. It’s strategy is offering unique in-store experiences combined with omnichannel capabilities to build brand awareness and increase sales.
We sat down with Iris Voltaire, Adore Me’s Business and Brand Development associate, to discuss the e-tailers’s venture into pop-up stores, investing into brick-and-mortar, and its dedication to a strong consumer experience on all channels.
- Adore Me just announced its plans to open 200 to 300 stores in the next five years. Tell us about the brand’s retail strategy.
We’re constantly looking for new innovative offline ideas. In 2017, Adore Me hosted a 1-day pop-up store at the iconic World Trade Center’s Oculus. Rather than a 4-wall store, the pop- up store was centered in the middle of one of NYC’s busiest transportation hubs and designed as a 360-experience set.
The set featured a live, 9-hour-long fashion photoshoot, as well as a 16-feet-wide selfie wall for visitors to engage with. The pop-up store didn’t have any merchandise sold on-site; instead, the set featured a freebie giveaway station with discount coupons that could only be applied online.
These types of engagements are very different from the classic retail store as the visitors were encouraged to engage with the brand offline and go on a shopping spree online when they’re already at home. With our retail stores, we’ll still continue to host these fun activations!
- Why has Adore Me chosen to invest in brick-and-mortar?
Adore Me has successfully been challenging the traditional lingerie market since 2012 by selling inclusive, affordable, fast-fashion intimates online. To fuel further growth, and to articulate a stronger brand statement, we’ve decided to move into brick-and-mortar.
- What has been the success of your previous pop-up stores?
We’ve seen a benefit from customers interacting with the brand in real life. Also, at our New York HQ, we have a by-appointment showroom where our customers are welcome to come in and receive a personalized, free, 45-minute one-on-one experience with our lingerie stylist. Our stylist will assist with finding the right styles, take measurements and guide them to find their perfect fit.
The response to this service has been very positive – thus, we’re confident physical retail stores will be appreciated – reaching even more women across the country.
- What are the brand’s goals regarding a brick-and-mortar retail strategy vs. sticking to online-only?
For us, one does not rule out the other. Adore Me will always stay true to its digital DNA, delivering a strong customer experience across all platforms. We’re confident that consumer demand for physical interaction with products maintains its stronghold, even with our online commerce. The trend we’re seeing with today’s startups is that they’re changing the landscape of brick-and-mortar retail – offering unique in-store experiences combined with omnichannel capabilities.
- What elements do brick-and-mortar retail stores bring for brands like Adore Me that digital platforms can’t convey?
With the nature of e-commerce, the customer will not be able to touch, try or feel the product before she makes a purchase. In addition to physical retail stores, another recently introduced effort can serve as an example of trying to fill this gap – the Adore Me Elite Membership Program. This membership is a new subscription-based business model that lets customers try on clothes before they buy them – shipping and returns are free. The new model uses all our products and customer data to recommend and send personalized products to customers using different Machine Learning Algorithms, to create the most convenient way of shopping for lingerie.
- How will Adore Me choose which cities to set up brick-and-mortar stores in?
Our customers are urban millennials, and we will open stores where they are – in the bigger cities across the country. We’re starting with the first five stores on the east coast, in order to have proximity from our HQ and distribution center.