101 with Linda Greene. The founder of personalised products retailer Identity Direct sheds lights on why she decided to sell certain assets of the company to OzSale, saying part of the attraction was its technology investments that have made them a top pureplay digital marketer.
Last week international online retailer Ozsale, part of the MySale Group, announced it acquired certain trade and assets of online retailer Identity Direct, to expand into the vertical category of personalised products.
Greene says although Identity Direct was a pioneer in the personalised products market, and costs in this space have rapidly declined over the last few years, some products in the industry have been commoditised and there has also been a lowering of barriers for new competition in the industry.
This is where Ozsale comes in, according to Greene, who says were a great fit to sell Identity Direct to, with the scale, capacity and commitment to grow the business and to continue to build its product range. Most importantly, Greene says it will give Identity Direct access to the digital marketing platforms of Ozsale that will transform the brand’s customer experience.
What was behind the decision to sell Identity Direct?
“Tom and I are very proud of what we have achieved with the business over the past 25 years. We were pioneers in the personalised products market and during that time we sold and manufactured over 7 million personalised children’s books and over 10 million personalised gifts across Australia, New Zealand, UK, USA and Canada. It is heart warming to know that we have made so many millions of customers happy with thoughtful personalised gifts and practical back-to-school products, but more importantly brought joy and smiling faces to many millions of children.
Over recent years digital art manipulation and digital printing costs have rapidly declined and some products have been commoditized and the digital marketing revolution has lowered other barriers to entry for new competitive offerings. Additionally, many of the paths to market that had been so successful for us were also in decline. These and other factors, including a poor result in the northern hemisphere, all contributed to the decision to sell and ideally to find a buyer who would be positioned to build growth and momentum in the business, taking the brand to the next level.”
Why did you see Ozsale as a good fit for Identity Direct and choose them to sell to?
“Ozsale were a perfect fit for many reasons. They are exceptional digital marketers who are transitioning from their purely flash-sale model to a broader based strategy into which Identity Direct was a logical building block following their acquisition last year of the DealsDirect, OO.com and TopBuy sites. Their digital marketing expertise totally compliments the offline experience and strength of Identity Direct.
They have a very large, engaged customer database with similar demographics to the Identity Direct customer. This will provide an immediate lift in revenues and margins and provide a foundation for future growth adding value to the business and to the licensed relationships which have been important to us.
The technology investments that have been made by Ozsale have made them a top pureplay digital marketer and their outstanding mobile platform is recognised as number one in the industry, and mobile responsiveness is critical to success (in retail and e-commerce) in the future. Being
Being Sydney-based was also important in order to optimise staff retention. Finally, they have the scale, capacity and commitment to grow the business and to continue to build our outstanding product range.”
What do you hope will be achieved following the sale of Identity Direct to Ozsale?
“The sale is very positive for Identity Direct. The brand will grow quickly and significantly with the assets that Ozsale brings to the acquisition. Ozsale will eventually be able to offer personalisation as an options across all products in all brands and this has the potential to greatly add to sales and margins generating new customers to enjoy the personalised experience.
Ozsale have the strength and capacity to invest in new processes and technology whenever it is justified to meet increased consumer demand for customised products and experiences.
Most importantly, giving Identity Direct access to the digital marketing platforms of Ozsale will transform the brand’s customer experience. Last year Identity Direct was ranked No. 59 in the Power Retail Top 100 online retailers in Australia. This was an exceptional performance for a company of our size, but I expect to see that ranking climbing rapidly over the coming years if Identity Direct is still assessed as a freestanding brand.”
About Identity Direct
In the early 1990s, company founder Linda Greene discovered a collection of personalised storybooks. She thought the concept was a fantastic idea, but felt that the books were outdated and did not contain the magic that they could have.
So, in 1992, Linda and husband Tom appointed a team of talented writers and illustrators to develop a new range of personalised storybook launching the Identity Direct brand. Since then the company has grown and extended its online store’s product range to personalised clocks, labels, back to school essentials, Christmas goods and personalised sports gear as well, including Sherrin and Steeden footballs, soccer, rugby and netballs, golf gifts and AFL sports prints. Identity Direct has also partnered with world famous brands including; Disney, Marvel, Nickelodeon and Mattel.
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