TURNING RETAIL ON ITS HEELS
Written on the 8 December 2015 by Laura Daquino
FAST fashion retailers and online competitors are taking their toll on department stores globally, but the same can't be said for the innovative brands many of them rely upon to drive sales.
Nordstrom distribution was 'at the top of the list' for Shoes of Prey co-founder and co-CEO Michael Fox (pictured left with co-founder and chief creative officer Jodie Fox, co-founder and co-CEO Mike Knapp).
This is despite department stores drawing less and less foot traffic, despite starting the business in 2009 with a belief that 'bricks and mortar is dead'.
Fox says Shoes of Prey's unique business model, which he sees as the 'future of retail', means the team could actually view the opportunity to enter into Nordstrom as a way of reducing risk.
"If your product is just the lowest price like Kogan then bricks and mortar might no longer work, but it makes a lot of sense if you're trying to build a brand like us," says Fox.
"We were profitable within six months of opening at David Jones and were the most productive space on the women's shoe floor in terms of sales dollars per square metre," says Fox.
"We thought we should try rolling out the strategy globally and Nordstrom was top of our list, with 173 department stores in the US. We noticed these brands focused the first four years on wholesale partnerships selling shoes through Nordstrom, and as they built up their brand they moved on to open their own stores and selling online.
"It applies to any industry really; instead of trying to compete head-to-head with bigger retailers, ind a way to collaborate with them that works for their business and yours," says Fox.
"Because we have so many different shoe combinations available, online shoppers are actually viewing photo-realistic computer-generated product photos.
Fox discovered a passion for retail when undertaking Super Cheap Auto Group's graduate program, rotating through the capacities of merchandising, marketing, supply chain, HR, IT and retail operations of a then 300-store retail chain.
"Manufacturing on demand is the next step for retail," says Fox.
"Newer mega retailers like Amazon and Zappos don't have 'design your own' shoes functions, so they will want to work with us and they will work with us exclusively and then we're able to leverage that to get our profit margins.