The world's most famous and not to be missed lingerie event for all lingerie resellers, the 50th International Lingerie Trade Exhibition has closed its doors last month in Paris. Most known brands were represented and it is during this Show that resellers select their new collections for the next season. What's the score on the e-commerce side of this sector?
With an annual turnover of 2,6 billion euros (2012 figures, source French Institut of Fashion ), France, "the craddle of corsetry", reminds Séverine Marchesi, Commissaire générale of the Show, ranks as world leader of the lingerie industry, followed by Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.
A survey carried out by the French Distance Selling Authority FEVAD and published last September indicated that "women's lingerie articles are the most purchased over the Internet, followed by men's underwear with respectively 15,1% and 12,1% of spendings".
Encouraging figures but...
Yes but...The lingerie sector on the Internet is also highly competitive....There are hundreds of lingerie stores opening. What's more, trafic campaigns are expensive and ranking is proving long and difficult.
In order to survive in this super-competitive environment, one needs to make a difference... This is all the more difficult that price differentiation is not exactly a viable option. Indeed most brands often insist on a minimum selling price, policy on which 90% of resellers seem to have agreed.
Another significant hurdle to overcome relates to the difficulty in finding suppliers. Indeed sourcing goods like everyone else at Chilirose, Daring, Dreamgirl, Imagination, Inspires or Obsessive, Roxana, etc...will end up making you lost in the flow of the thousands of existing stores that open up and close every day.
So how can you make yourself a seat in the sun in this over competitive field?
Several parameters may alow a lingerie store to survive the jungle:
Quality ranking to attract targeted traffic
One of the main challenges in this over-crowded sector is to build yourself a reputation, a name. A significant budget for natural and paid advertising is therefore necessary. But, one needs to be aware of the fact that a careful and professional ranking campaign takes time. In order to harvest the fruits, one will need to be patient and surround oneself with skilled people. Before your turnover rises, you better have financial reserves to 'hang in there'.
A niche and unique concept
Beyond ranking problematics and acquiring traffic, it is the quality, the originality, the price or a special design that will make all the added value to a lingerie store and ensure its financial soundness in the long term.
As an example, here are some Prestashop lingerie stores with astute business acumen who managed to exploit a niche area to get a name for themselves amongst hundreds of lingerie stores:
Felinelingerie.fr specialized on post-surgical and
Lilyslingerieshop.com focused on lingerie and costumes
for all occasions
Annickcreation.fr specialized in the fields of tights, silicone breasts, wigs and accessories
VSLingerie.fr, a specialized store offering a wide choice for deep and generous bras
The master idea is to offer a simple and unique concept.
To sum up, if you want to enter the lingerie selling market (and any other market for that matter), do not go in like a bull's head...or all your efforts may be wasted in less time than it takes to create your Prestashop store!