$2 Million Worth of Orders in One Day – Q&A with Accent Group

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By Published On: November 2, 20200 Comments

It's been a turbulent year for everyone, and for retailers across Australia, there have been serious transformations in customer behaviour, online expectations, and restrictions, ultimately changing the face of retail as we know it forever. We spoke to Daniel Agostinelli, the CEO of Accent Group, to discuss the ways customers have changed, and how the retailer adapted across the span of the pandemic.

During the height of the pandemic, when stores were closed, and e-commerce was the only source of retail for Australians, Accent Group experienced a serious uplift in online sales. Coping with the onset of orders was ‘very challenging indeed’, Agostinelli told Power Retail.

“We sold $2 million worth of orders in one day during Click Frenzy in May, followed by many $1 million sales days, and this put pressure on our systems,” he said. “But our great team worked hard to fulfil and hold up overall customer expectations.”

While the Group was expecting an overall increase in online sales, the pandemic accelerated its growth. “We were always growing, but COVID has spread up the overall percentage of overall sales to come from online,” he told Power Retail.

Online sales for Accent Group before the pandemic sat at approximately 15 percent, but the acceleration to online as stores stayed closed has been seismic.

“Our pre-COVID our overall sales from digital were approximately 15 percent, now we feel that we will settle well over 20 percent, it’s a seismic shift in consumer behaviour,’ he said.

“Our brand and our capability have allowed us to showcase that online works, and is safe to use a credit card over the net, and also assured that product would show up at their desired address on time.”

For many Australians, the pandemic was the push they needed to try online shopping for the first time. One of the key tools that retailers must rely on during trying times is making e-commerce platforms accessible and easy to use, especially for those who have never shopped online before.

“We do our best to ensure that our systems make it as seamless as possible for our overall customers and indeed older customers shopping with us for the first time,” Agostinelli explained.

While the shift to online has been unprecedented and seismic, there isn’t a reason for retailers to abandon the idea of a brick and mortar store, even after the pandemic has passed.

“We at Accent feel that stores are still the driver of the brand, and this grows brand awareness, and the stores are a marketing tool,” he told Power Retail. “We will continue to open stores where feasible and hopefully grow our online sales, allowing us to grow our overall share of commercial sneakers in Australia and New Zealand.”

When it comes to the future, there’s plenty to expect from Accent Group. Lat in 2019, Accent Group acquired Stylerunner, with the plans to open physical stores across the country.

“We have a lot of runway to grow our current trading businesses, especially Skechers and Platypus,” he said. “We are also looking to grow our new banners being Pivot and Style Runner both online and via physical store openings.”

Today, Stylerunner opened its first physical store in Melbourne.

Every business has faced serious challenges this year as a result of the pandemic and its restrictions. With these challenges comes opportunity, as Agonstinelli explained.

“Challenges for most businesses, to me, is simply that we must all keep up with technology. Capability and integrity, customer service and satisfaction is key to success; the opportunity to grow sales via digital online is apparent, but we must earn customers trust,” he told Power Retail.

The influx of online orders has set the last mile industry into overdrive, with retailers facing the incoming crush of e-commerce orders as the Christmas holiday season arrives. Ahead of Click Frenzy and Black Friday, how has Accent Group continued to stabilise the onset of online deliveries during the pandemic?

“Simply more emphasis on dark stores helping fulfil orders, rather than just our distribution centre – we have the technology to be able to do this,” he said.

So, what is the biggest piece of advice that Accent Group can give retailers during these hard times, and start their road to recovery? “…be ready for anything; to ensure complacency never creeps in as a rainy day like COVID could always come your way,” Agostinelli said.

“We are optimistic that businesses will hold up whilst we all learn to live with COVID, but really hope that a vaccine is found fast!”

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