How Walmart plans to turn its fashion business inside out in 2020 – Glossy
Walmart is eager to increase its belief in fashion.
The company is determined to position itself for a stronger fashion e-commerce business in 2020. In late 2019, Bonobos co-founder Andy Dunn announced his plans to step away from Walmart in late January. He currently oversees all of Walmart’s digital consumer brands, including Eloquii and Allswell, and the company has yet to name his successor. The refurbishment of this part of the business will be one of the priorities this year.
While Amazon is Build his fashion credibility With new fashion-oriented services and a focus on influencer collections and Target has long been developing fashion collaborations with great designers like Jason Wu and Lily Pulitzer, Walmart is also trying to make a name for itself in fashion. This boost is mainly led by the company’s investments in private label and exclusive brands. At the end of 2019, Walmart rounded off the year with more than 600 fashion brands, including 150 premium fashion brands exclusively for Walmart.
“2020 will be the year Walmart intensifies its e-commerce fashion game,” said Ronn Torossian, CEO of PR agency 5WPR. “Walmart has made some major acquisitions in the past few years to build a large e-commerce business. If other areas of the company are any indication, Walmart will likely begin pulling back on new purchases and instead focus on growing and improving existing brands. “
While there was speculation in 2019 that Walmart might sell bonobos, a Walmart spokesman said acquired brands, including the women’s plus-size line Eloquii, will continue to be an important part of the fashion business in 2020. Micky Onvural, former head of marketing for Bonobos, took over the CEO role of Dunn in September 2018.
Data from Edison Trends showed Consumer spend at Bonobos.com increased 11% in November 2019 from November 2018. The company forecast Bonobos.com sales for 2019 to be approximately 0.7% of all sales on Walmart.com.
Not all of the brands Walmart acquired remained, however. Walmart in October sold out ModCloth to Go Global Retail, just two years after acquiring the business for between an estimated $ 50 million and $ 75 million. Over the summer, Recode reported that Modcloth, Bonobos, and Eloquii were at that time all unprofitable. However, Sherene Hilal, vice president of product marketing and business operations at retail technology company Bluecore, said that doesn’t necessarily mean Walmart will abandon its strategy of acquiring digital brands.
“It’s clear that Walmart has started to shift its focus from discounts to connecting people with the right products in order to get shoppers to come back and buy more. In 2020, I expect Walmart to expand its fashion business to focus more on curation and quality [with a focus on companies like] Eloquii, ”said Hilal. “We will also likely see them continue to invest in technology that will allow them to grow their customer base while apparel is seen as the primary acquisition lever.”
While Walmart doesn’t specifically highlight fashion sales for e-commerce, online sales grew 40% in 2018. E-commerce does about 5% of Walmart’s US business. Going forward, e-commerce and a growing online fashion store will help Walmart compete with companies like Target and Amazon as more purchases move online. The company had fiscal 2019 sales of $ 514.4 billion.
With Walmart likely to focus on own brands in 2020.
Denise Incandela, Head of Fashion, US E-Commerce for Walmart.com, was a key driver of Walmart’s private label push. She joined Walmart in 2017 after serving as CMO for Saks Fifth Avenue and President of Global Digital for Ralph Lauren.
Her mission since joining has been to make Walmart a fashion shopping destination. She has focused on introducing exclusive brands that buyers can only find at Walmart. In September, Incandela and her team brought back New York fashion brand Scoop after the company closed all of its boutiques in May 2016.
Walmart has also invested in launching exclusive celebrity brands like Ellen DeGeneres on the EV1 women’s line and Sofia Vergara on the Sofia Vergara denim line, Sofia Jeans. The Vergara line was launched last February and the DeGeneres collection in September 2018. Both started out as online-only brands and started moving into Walmart doors late last year. The strategy of working on clothing collaborations with well-known celebrities versus influencers or other digitally native companies makes sense for Walmart. As the cost of acquiring customers on Facebook and Instagram increases, working with celebrities with built-in followers almost guarantees revenue for the company. Ellen DeGeneres has 81.4 million Instagram followers while Sofia Vergara has 17.8 million.
“[Sofia and Ellen] Both felt like natural partners to us and were very successful because we are all focused on creating great brands on Walmart.com, ”said Incandela. “Now that the online success has been successful, the stores carry Sofia’s range. We build on brands. We are in the process of building these brands with our own DNA. We strive to produce high quality products at an exceptional price. “