What shopping experience do you prefer?

Daily conversations we were having back in 2018 when the brand was in its infancy, visualised MARAI working as an omni-channel DTC [Direct To Consumer] brand across both e-commerce and bricks & mortar. Right now, physical shopping experiences are having a resurgance, and customers are enjoying the option of being able to come back into city centres and visit brick & mortar locations. At MARAI we pride ourselves on offering a personalised shopping experience, interactions we have with customers, offering advice and just getting to know who are customer is and what’s important to them is how we aim to stay ahead of the curve.

When designing MARAI we are very focused on fit, fabric and how our colours blend with other pieces in the collection, we strive to carry this message forward online and within our physical retail sector of the brand. That being said, one of the benefits of choosing to visit our stores is the opportunity to see the brand full realised in a physical space. Since our brand is purposefully unbranded and sleek in its look, a lot of our distinctiveness comes from our fit and fabric choices, so you really have to see and feel it to believe it.

Recent articles in Business of Fashion suggest luxury brands are becoming more selective about their wholesale partners, with many now restricting buyers and giving themselves exclusivity in order to push consumers towards their own websites or retail stores. This is a trend we believe will continue. This will make it harder for multi brands stores to stay ahead of the game. A recent survey by Deloitte found that 70% of executive’s were investing in improving their own DTC over wholesale this year. This DTC model also covers online growth, and what is becoming clear is that physical stores are becoming the priority for this growth.

Golden Goose for example operates 180 stores worldwide and last year generated 500 million euros, 14% of which came from e-commerce. Similarly, Levi’s currently operate 1000 of its own stores which accounted for 31% of sales in the final quarter off 2022, it has been reported that the brand have plans to open a further 400 stores by the end of 2027. Examples such as those previously mentioned are appearing more and more frequently daily, that we hear about in trade magazines, further underlining our initial thoughts and predictions of where the market was heading way back when.

None of this is to say online shopping is going anywhere, nor are we trying to paint a negative picture of this sector of retail, as a high quality online shopping experience is still and always will be very much in our ongoing strategy for the future. Having said that, it is within our opinion, that it is a good sign to see customers returning to the high street, as this continues to give us confidence in our beliefs and future plans for MARAI and the how we aim to sit within the market.

Feel free to let us know your thoughts on which shopping experience suits you best, retail stores, or an online shopping experience?

July 06, 2023 — Martin Webster

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