As part of the Talking Point, Power Retail is highlighting some of the leading retailers in Australia. We sat down with Jordy Kallios and Corey Decandia, the Directors and Co-Founders of Vacay Swimwear to discuss the e-commerce boom and the future of retail in Australia.
Can you please take us through the history of your online retail business? What was your inspiration for getting into the space, and how has the business evolved?
Decandia: Our main inspiration came from being young millennial marketers who spent the majority of our lives in the online space. Whether that was on platforms like Facebook or Instagram, we instantly knew our target market would also be actively using this space on a daily basis. It was only suitable that we launched our brand online to reach a mass market worldwide, rather than being restricted by only selling through bricks & mortar stores that were significantly declining.
Since 2017, Vacay Swimwear caters to markets in Australia, North America, Europe and the Middle East through our online channel, which ultimately makes up for 70 percent of our companies revenue. We only see this number increasing with how the E-commerce space is evolving.
How would you describe your e-commerce business model? What key features differentiate your offering?
Kallios: Our differentiation begins with creating a strong lifestyle on social media which is portrayed through our content and branding. By creating a lifestyle for our brand and customers we then build a Vacay Family of like-minded individuals who have a passion for travel and fun in the sun! From here, we create products that allow our niche to look and feel their best wherever they may be. Our business model focuses heavily on paid social advertising and through influencer marketing where our potential customers are engaging in the content we produce.
Retail has certainly changed in these uncertain times. How has your company dealt with the crisis, and have you learned anything along the way?
Decandia: As a travel brand the current times have affected us drastically. It forced our team to alter our marketing strategy, focusing on a ‘staying home in style’ campaign that effectively enabled us to provide a message that our products can also be worn at home.
The current times have taught us that each company’s individual marketing strategies need to be constantly adapting to uncertain change as we never know what’s around the corner.
Do you think that the current online boom will continue after the pandemic has passed? Why/ why not?
Kallios: Of course, this pandemic has disrupted peoples normal buying habits and forced almost everyone to now buy online. People are now seeing the convenience of this model which I feel is only going to continue growing! When borders are open again and people can travel we are expecting a large influx of sales as we strongly cater to those travelling overseas!
What do you believe are the biggest challenges for Australian e-commerce businesses right now, and what could be done to address these? What are the biggest opportunities?
Decandia: The biggest challenges are certainly companies that are struggling to import/export stock from overseas. This is affecting supply and demand and therefore hindering sales. However, these factors may be uncontrollable, so it’s important for businesses to have a contingency plan in place for when unexpected environments like these arise. From challenges certainly comes opportunities. For Vacay Swimwear, in particular, it’s been a great time to focus on other areas of our business, such as our wholesale side of the business – an area we are now looking to expand in.
In recent months, Australian retailers have become more popular as borders close and supply chains become strained. Have you noticed any changes in your customer behaviour since the lockdown began?
Kallios: As the pandemic hit Australia, primarily in Winter. Our Australian sales certainly plummeted as holiday plans were cancelled meaning fewer people were buying our products. This forced us to direct all marketing to the European and North America regions where it was approaching the warmer weather. This time of year in Australia is generally quite busy, however, we have seen a slight decline in Australian sales, however, it’s allowed us to increase our sales in other parts of the world.
Are there any exciting developments coming our way from your brand?
Decandia: Certainly! We have recently signed with David Jones, Australia’s largest retailer which will see vacay Swimwear stocked in 25 of their most high performing stores this summer. This is something we had always dreamed of when we began the brand, and to finally tick this off our list is an incredible achievement. We also have an amazing collaboration which we are soon to announce with a worldwide company in our space that is going to see us broaden our customer base and bring on new opportunities.
Introducing Talking Point, an exciting new series from Power Retail. Each month, we will cover a specific topic relevant to e-commerce. This month, we are showcasing and celebrating #Australian retailers. Watch out for this logo every month as we dive into new topics and investigate what it means to be an online retailer in Australia.
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