“Digital is Experiencing Higher Sales Growth,” Crumpler CEO Talks Online Success

April Davis By April Davis | 04 Feb 2019

With digital sales out-pacing in-store performance, the cross-channel retailer talks to Power Retail about its plans to capitalise on the e-commerce boom.

Described as a business that “stood out from the pack” when it first hit the Australian retail scene in the early ‘90s, Crumpler has come a long way from its roots as a bag brand that was predominantly for bike couriers.

In the early days, the business had a store in Melbourne and not much else, with the brand relying on the vibrant colours of its bags and “irreverent, rebellious spirit of its marketing”. Speaking to Power Retail, Crumpler’s CEO, Adam Wilkinson says the brand has evolved significantly in the last 20 plus years and is now re-thinking its entire business model.

“The Crumpler brand today now has offices in Australia, Asia and Europe, 30 Crumpler stores globally and is sold by leading retailers around the world,” Wilkinson explains.

Far from its humble beginnings as a single Melbourne-based store, Crumpler has built a successful cross-channel offering that’s allowed the brand to spread its message to customers both locally and internationally.

Crumpler says its digital presence is quickly overtaking its traditional wholesale model.

“Our [digital] store allows us to create a unique brand experience that complements our bricks-and-mortar stores. It gives our customers additional information on the brand’s history and our design approach, as well as our sustainability focus. It also shares some great stories from members of our Crumpler creative community,” he says.

The company’s digital presence has also become a valuable sales channel, with Wilkinson claiming “digital is by far experiencing higher sales growth” than its physical offering in the current retail climate, representing 15 percent of total group revenue. With this in mind, he says improving its online retail offering is the company’s main goal for 2019, and beyond.

“We are investing heavily in our own Crumpler online store along with partnering with many of the leading marketplaces globally. We are also focusing heavily on developing video content to grow brand awareness and educate our customers on all of our product features and benefits,” he says.

Its vast product range is regarded as one of the most important aspects of Crumpler’s e-commerce model

“Our biggest area for growth will come from the online marketplace channel, replacing the traditional wholesale business that is shrinking in our industry.  Creating a seamless, highly personalised shopping experience across channels will also allow our businesses to maximise customer engagement and loyalty,” Wilkinson says.

To ensure the company’s offerings continue to align with consumer demand, user experience, as well as the product offering that’s available to online shoppers, will continue to be a focus. “Our customers know that when they are buying online from us that they can buy from our full product offer, which may not always be available in bricks-and-mortar stores given size constraints in certain locations.”

However, despite its online growth and success, Crumpler has still faced a number of the same challenges that plague others within the local industry. As such, the bag retailer has had to tackle a number of hurdles in the logistics space, especially in terms of providing shipping solutions for its international shoppers. According to Wilkinson, shipping from Australia is “cost prohibitive and slow”, which has created tension with its customers shopping from outside of Australia.

“We have had to set up 3PL warehousing in Asia and North America to enable us to drop ship to users in these locations and provide a  leading service to our customers,” he says.

But overall, Wilkinson is confident the business is at the top of its game and primed for future growth.

“We have learned that the Crumpler customer wants high-value content tailored to their requirements, relevant to their needs, and delivered when and where they want it. Consumers today are very savvy and the landscape is extremely competitive, without this quality content we would not be in a position to build trusted relationships with our customers.”

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