Raluca Radu, Country Manager of Answear, was a speaker in the opening panel at Business Review’s recent re:FOCUS on eCommerce, Retail & Logistics 2022, where she shared her perspective as an eCommerce specialist concerning trends, challenges, and strategies to run a thriving online business.
By Mihai Cristea & Deniza Cristian
The pandemic-related restrictions on in-store shopping generated rather drastic changes in consumer behaviour. Buying clothes and shoes online was not something most shoppers were used to doing, but now they don’t think twice about it. Efforts made by retailers and delivery companies to ease the buying process have also helped a lot. And the results of these measures came in 2021, when companies like Answear doubled their sales compared to 2020, as we learned from Country Manager Raluca Radu during the event.
“We are expecting e-commerce to continue growing in 2022. Last year our sales doubled compared to 2020 and this trend will continue this year, too.” Says Raluca Radu, Country Manager at Answear Romania.
As a general look at Answear’s perspective of on trends, challenges, and eCommerce strategy, Raluca Radu explains:
“What we are expecting this year is for eCommerce to continue its growth. Last year wasn’t such an accelerated growth if we look at all the eCommerce market, but fashion was definitely the star, we even had months when sales were doubled, so 2022 will be a year of investment and our main plan is to become a generator of inspiration for our customers, not only a destination. And this is something we must build over the next few years, so it’s not only about this year and its strategy, and hopefully, we will start by adding more home and deco on our website and on building more content to inspire women.”
Regarding customers’ needs and customer-centricity, Raluca Radu commented:
“I think if we look at the whole eCommerce market and I’m not talking only about fashion, it is that customers want faster delivery, they want as many delivery options as possible and predictability, as many payment options as possible, and so on. So what we can do as a business, is to focus on our buyer persona on one hand, and on the other hand, focus very well on what our strengths and weaknesses are. because you can’t do everything. For example, to be 100% honest, we know at Answear that the online fashion market in Romania is growing more crowded and it’s going to become even more crowded this year, but we can’t really deliver in two hours, because our warehouse is in Kracow, so this, for us, is not something we can do. But, of course, our customer wants this.”
When talking about the challenges Answear is facing addressing customers’ needs, Raluca Radu stated:
“What I think it’s important for us as a business, is to know where we can meet the needs of our customers. And our main strength is our product assortment, which is very well selected. I think it shows that our company has somewhere around a hundred people that are fashion stylists, that are doing the buying in Cracow, who are ensuring that our customers get the best product selection on the website. And another thing that we also excel in, is the way we present our products and this is something that, for example, generalist retailers can’t really tap into as we’ve seen, because we understand fashion very well, we know how to present the product, how to make it appealing to the customer, how to explain to the customer what it looks like, we’ve been doing videos of our products for years already, and we’ve become better and better in this. And now we will probably tap into life shopping for example, and we will focus on meeting the needs of our customers, in terms of delivery and payment options, we want to integrate the “buy now, pay later” solutions, delivery to lockers and so on.”