5 questions for Alexandre Weill, Director, Physical Stores, and Anaïs Vanden Berghe, E-Commerce Coordinator at Weill.Interview with Sandra Fernandes, Marketing and Communications Director at Splio.
1. How do you explain the longevity of the Weill brand?
Before being a brand, Weill is a family-owned company rich in history, supported by four generations and that celebrated its 125th-year last year. The brand was at first a garment manufacturer, specialized in upscale women’s clothing, designing limited editions for haute couture, French department stores or order-based production.
In the fifties, the family-owned company went from industrial production to retail and launched its ready-to-wear concept by developing its own brand dedicated to timeless women with chic charm from 30 to 77 years old. Its expansion was accelerating at that time via the commercial campaign “Weill suits you” and the brand opened its first shop on the Champs Elysées in the eighties.
Today, Weill owns 28 shops in France and 7 worldwide and many other distribution channels!
2. Is it a pre-requisite to get digital for a fashion house like yours? How did it go?
Being graceful is timeless, so the digital transformation quickly became obvious! Our clients are super loyal to Weill for many years, transmitted from mother to daughter for several generations. We have a loyal and reactive clientele. Our brand must evolve with them and get adapted to changes in their buying behaviors.
But these changes first happen internally. The house managed to remain relevant throughout the years and answered the requirements of its customers by attracting human talents and some good partners to help with our transformation. We work in close cooperation with the agency Antadis, which developed our e-commerce website on PrestaShop and guides us through our digital and omnichannel strategy. Proximis helps us to manage our stocks and of course, Splio, in the creation and improvement of our omnichannel marketing campaigns.
The digital transformation is strategic because it represents also the opportunity to broaden our target audience and to expand internationally.
3. What is the digital strategy for Weill?
Weill is – and always has been – a modern brand. It communicates with its clients on social networks, especially Facebook and Instagram, where the brand respectively has 116,000 and 25,000 followers, via its newsletter, e-commerce website and points of sale. Weill continually adjusted its communications to its clients’ new usage patterns.
Our newsletter is a great success. Our last campaign “Stripe Looks” got an opening rate of 52% with 35% of unique openers! It’s a major channel for a brand like ours which aims to maintain close contact with its clients. Splio’s omnichannel marketing platform allows us, via quite a few scenarios, to convert abandoned carts or inactive clients, create an efficient buyer journey and match the user experience.
We are dealing with a timeless and chic client, charmed by our collections since she is 30 years old and who wanted these digital changes! The website was launched 10 years ago and the e-commerce shop 8 years ago. We have an audience that knows well the brand, who is close to the physical stores and is happy to be able to access our products on the Internet and to order via these four channels with great confidence.
4. Your brand has an on and offline strategy: what is your clients’ favorite channel?
Our clients are at the heart of our strategy and the store is the place where we meet them. The Internet changed our target’s habits, but the store stays the first channel and answers to their need to have human contact with us. The experience in-store is unique: a warm welcome, the ability to touch the materials, the physical contact with the brand. Our clients spend a lot of time in the store. They know that we offer good quality products and that the sales associate’s advice is valuable and qualified.
The store is also the place where we gather information about our clients to better know them and better guide them, thanks to the PoS software and click & collect or ship-to-store options. We are fully aware that an omnichannel strategy answers the needs of a younger audience and allows us to communicate and bring back in-store traffic.
We also like to guide clients willing to take a step into the e-commerce world. We have the ambition to bring our e-commerce website to the same level in terms of results as our most profitable Parisian store! We want to be connected to our client as much online as offline. There is no secret, a well-detailed product sheet and an attractive picture will always better catch our customers’ attention.
5. What is the biggest challenge for Weill today?
Weill wants to grow with its clientele from today and tomorrow. The challenge can be summarized in two words: customer experience. Our steps will be to develop our omnichannel strategy according to our values – which are our strengths: human contact, quality of our products and be a trustworthy brand. Our clients must go from the Internet to the store, from email to Customer Service, while living the same experience. We are trying to communicate same emotions for our collections on any channel that our clients are using. These emotions can as much be felt from a shopping window to Instagram, or in our newsletter…
Weill also has the ambition to be better known by a younger and more international clientele. Our presence on social networks offers us new perspectives! Getting digital is a huge opportunity for Weill. We know that e-commerce is going to help us broaden our target and allow Weill to be available everywhere in France and across the globe. Today, we achieve 20% of our sales on and offline abroad, especially in the US, Middle East, Senegal, and Russia.