Mango's Elena Carasso predicts 1 billion euros in online revenues in 2021
The 20th anniversary of Mango's e-commerce platform has come at a difficult and bittersweet time. On the one hand, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to throttle the industry, imposing restrictions on a business which has already had to close practically all of its physical stores for months. On the other hand, online sales, which already accounted for 24% of the company's revenues last year, have made strong progress, reaching record levels. As part of a virtual event celebrating the anniversary of the retailer's digital platform, Mango online and client director Elena Carasso spoke to a handful of journalists about one of the company's main points of focus for future growth.
"E-commerce has accelerated so much over the last few months that, from the start of the year to October, online revenues have already surpassed the total of 564 million reported by the company in 2019 by more than 5%," explained the executive, before going on to point out that the retailer expects "to close the fiscal year with revenues of 800 million euros" in its digital channel, which would imply 40% growth year over year. "You also have to remember that we still haven't had the top two months for revenue yet, with Black Friday and Christmas," she added.
According to the company's predictions, this growth should continue next year. "We expect online revenues to be $1 billion euros in 2021," said Carasso, albeit with a hefty dose of caution. "It's something that we couldn't have imagined when we launched our e-commerce platform in 2000. It's an enormously ambitious target, but we're going to put all our effort and hope into achieving it," she affirmed. In support of these objectives, the company led by Toni Ruiz has invested some 150 million euros into the creation of an omnichannel ecosystem over the last three years.
"It's been a marathon"
Although the circumstances brought about by the coronavirus crisis have boosted the growth of the digital channel, Carasso maintains that "even before the pandemic our ambition was to grow our digital and omnichannel operations." She therefore sees the current situation as a logical evolution of the business, rather than a paradigm shift. "The pandemic happened when we had already done our homework and were prepared with very powerful digital assets which allowed us to react." This year the brand has gained 3 million new digital customers, 900,000 of whom joined during months characterized by Covid-19-related confinement measures, when online revenues rose more than 50%.
It is precisely with the objective of adapting and readjusting its operations following months of store closures that Mango has implemented a number of initiatives to strengthen its e-commerce channel and support growth in demand over the internet. "We've endeavoured to retain our customers by increasing our investment in digital marketing by 30%," commented Carasso, highlighting the company's "expansion of services in all markets," such as the extension of returns periods to 60 days, as well as the "many stock movements carried out at very short notice." "It's been a marathon. As the situation evolved, we were monitoring activity every week and making decisions with the board of directors and all of the company's departments. And we continue to do so," she explained.
In terms of online development, Carasso assured those in attendance that her team has "hundreds of projects on the table," as the Catalan company's digital division functions "like a startup, with lots of tests and short-term projects." In Carasso's opinion, the "hyper-personalization of the customer experience" is a key area for development, the goal being to make the brand as relevant as possible by adapting it to the "journey" of each customer.
Additionally, the company's priorities also include the implementation of new technologies and artificial intelligence in order to propose self-service tools to autonomous customers during the post-purchase process, as well as the inclusion of omnichannel capabilities in its franchises, so as to provide different levels of integration.
Brick-and-mortar continues to face uncertainty
Despite this optimism about its online operations, doubts still remain about Mango's physical stores. "There's a lot of uncertainty about our brick-and-mortar channel. The latest news has been promising, but we don't know when we'll really be able to go back to normality," explained Carasso, insisting that it would be "a mistake" to make major decisions "because of temporary circumstances." The company therefore intends to continue with the adaptation process started in its store network before the pandemic. "We'll be resizing, but always with the customer in mind," affirmed the executive, underlining that the plan is still to increase the company's total store footprint.
Having launched a website in 1996, the brand set up its e-commerce platform in 2000. Six years later, it introduced its app, which now boasts 6 million downloads a year. Currently, Mango's online store is available in 20 languages and in 80 countries spread over five continents. The platform is supported by 11 warehouses and registers an average of 42,000 orders a day, although it has seen peaks of 150,000. The company, which was founded by Isak Andic in 1984, has a network of more than 2,100 physical stores and employs over 14,000 people. Last year Mango achieved record revenues of $2.37 billion euros.
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