How This Swedish Brand Plans to Tackle Aussie ‘Discounting Pressure’

Fjällräven, a Swedish outdoor clothing equipment brand, has set its sights on Australia, marking its territory at Melbourne Central in the city’s CBD. Previously, Australian consumers could only access the brand’s products from its global online store and a select number of independent retailers. Now, the business is looking to take advantage of Australia’s growing omnichannel industry.

Susan Park, Fjällräven’s ANZ brand manager opens up about the company’s omnichannel strategy and its plans for tackling the Australian market.

Melbourne Central shop
Fjällräven launches first Australian store as part of its cross-channel expansion plans.

“There are so many elements of Fjällräven that I think will resonate with Australians – it’s sustainable, super robust and it’s not made from synthetic materials with a name you can’t pronounce in trendy cuts that you won’t wear in a year’s time,” Park tells Power Retail.

The company works predominantly with natural and recycled materials, styling its products in a timeless fashion to ensure they don’t quickly become last season’s ‘has-beens’. Park believes this is uncommon in the fashion and garment industry and will give the brand an upper hand against some local competitors.

“Our customers are the ones who are sick of replacing their gear season after season and are looking for great quality, highly functional pieces that also look great,” she says.

Establishing a Cross-Channel Shopping Experience

Now that Fjällräven has a physical shop front in Australia, Park says the company will be changing its local e-commerce approach, adapting its local site to suit its new omnichannel retail approach.

“We always knew an omnichannel approach was essential for what we wanted to achieve. Fjällräven is a premium brand with a deep heritage that extends back over 50 years and a range that spans many categories. An omnichannel strategy would allow us to create a variety of touch points for customers to engage with Fjällräven on different levels.

“I think it’s important to be crystal clear about the benefits of each channel – retail for us allows us to create the most tactile and premium brand experience where customers have the opportunity for deeper engagement.”

Fjällräven believes its unique products and customer-oriented approach will set it apart from competitors.

However, Park acknowledges that in order to succeed in a cross-channel market, the company does need to re-evaluate its local e-commerce offerings.

“Our ultimate goal is to make the customer experience across all our channels as seamless and true to the brand’s DNA as possible,” she says. “We’re treating our new Melbourne store as a ‘proof of concept’, and it will, of course, be a process of constant improvement as we open more.

“We definitely intend to make use of tools like click and collect and in-store pick-up that can help us improve the shopping experience for all of our customers.”

Tackling the Difficult Australian Retail Environment

Fjällräven has entered the Australian market in a difficult time. The retail landscape in Australia is in a constant state of evolution, with some global brands finding success in the space and a number of others getting spat out by rising rent conditions and slow consumer adoption of new technologies.

While Park is fairly confident Fjällräven will be able to overcome a number of the challenges facing the industry, she is concerned about the discounting pressure that’s currently plaguing the market.

Fjällräven Melbourne central store
Fjällräven says it won’t succumb to discounting pressure.

“One thing that does concern us is this culture of constant discounting and never-ending sale periods. Competing on price and price only is a dangerous race to the bottom, and we plan to do our part to counteract that, bringing the focus back to brand and service.

“Our aim is to create value by putting our customers first and offering an experience that makes people want to come back and talk about us to their friends and family.”

Fjällräven will officially open the doors of its new Melbourne shop to the public on Thursday, November 1, after the successful soft launch of its concept store on Monday morning.

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