Clare Haines and Melissa Burton own and manage Lingerie Outlet Store, a UK-based leading online lingerie retailer founded in 2009. The business has gone from strength-to-strength, building its reputation among online competitors, and establishing itself as a one-stop-shop retailer of both designer and value lingerie brands. In 2011, the company won the Wiltshire Business Small Business of the Year award, and it is currently the biggest underwear seller on both eBay and Amazon.
To succeed in today’s competitive retail industry, it is no longer enough to rely on a single platform from which to sell products. Cost-conscious consumers searching for products, delivery options and price-points that most appeal to and best suit their needs regularly head to online marketplaces. These often include the big players – Amazon, eBay and Etsy, or the likes of LaRedoute and Zalando on the continent.
Marketplaces bring benefits for retailers too, as they can make their inventory available to a wider market. They also allow brands to attract potential new consumer groups due to the ease of marketplace browsing.
Lingerie Outlet Store realised the potential of marketplace selling early-on. In addition to its own website, the company also sold its stock via Amazon and eBay. However, the company’s strategy for doing so was not proving to be an efficient use of the team’s time. After listing items on its own website, the company then had to duplicate these listings on both Amazon and eBay – a timely and repetitive process.
“We’d seen huge success using online marketplaces, which allowed us to reach more shoppers and build up our brand,” explained Burton. “However, as the business developed, we realised our approach to selling wasn’t working. Having to list items three times over meant that we had less time to focus on other aspects of business, like building relationships with manufacturers and suppliers. This prevented us from further growth, and we knew we had to change tactic.”
Lingerie Outlet Store selected ChannelAdvisor’s Marketplaces solution to help streamline its selling strategy and manage its presence and visibility online. The platform helps Lingerie Outlet Store to quickly and easily list and manage its entire inventory. Importantly, the team is now also able to list and oversee products across multiple channels, via a single platform. This has removed the need to manually list every item numerous times, driving efficiencies across the Lingerie Outlet Store business.
ChannelAdvisor’s Marketplaces also automatically reformats product data to suit the online platform it will appear on. As a result, Lingerie Outlet Store has increased confidence that the product listings adhere to the different requirements of eBay and Amazon, allowing the team to focus more time and attention elsewhere.
The success of the solution deployment meant that stock could be listed and updated more frequently, helping to drive sales. As the business inevitably grew, Lingerie Outlet Store decided to enlist further help from ChannelAdvisor’s Managed Services. The specialist team now provides expert support to Lingerie Outlet Store, assisting with account management, performance analytics and technical support.
“Originally, we wanted to keep full control of the business ourselves, but having moved to Managed Services, the benefits are endless,” said Burton. “The additional help from ChannelAdvisor has given us that all important time to focus on the things that will really help our business scale. We have big ambitions for international growth, and we’re now able to progress with these. We currently deal with over 100 manufacturers, and now we’ve got the resources to build these relationships. This means we can work towards our goal of adding one or two manufacturers every month, over two years.”
“A turning point for us was Amazon integration. Suddenly, we could see all products that weren’t listed on Amazon, and the typo errors that weren’t recognised by Amazon. With ChannelAdvisor we could bundle these errors and export them to fix them, saving us a considerable amount of time,” added Burton.
Lingerie Outlet Store has seen huge success since adopting ChannelAdvisor’s solutions and services in October 2015. Following an initial induction period where data was allowed time to stabilise, Lingerie Outlet Store has now started to see substantial growth. At Catalyst UK on 16 May 2017, Haines and Burton recorded a video interview with ChannelAdvisor in which they reported that their business had grown 2,000% over the last two years, increasing SKUs to 40,000. In August 2017 they reported they had tripled the number of SKUs to nearly 90,000. In terms of revenue, Lingerie Outlet Store reports that their previous monthly turnover of £15,000 now tops half a million.
“In addition to the time-saving benefits, ChannelAdvisor has allowed us to expand to new premises, enlarging our physical footprint and enabling us to focus on buying more products so we can continue growing,” said Haines. “We are looking forward to fully capitalising on ChannelAdvisor’s e-commerce experience to help increase traffic to our website, boost our brand visibility, and make the most of the market opportunities available.”