This article previously was published in Cross-Border Magazine
Turkish fashion brand Penti has been a success since the 1950s. The multichannel retailer has become a beloved brand by consumers over the world. Focusing on underwear fashion, Penti has become a market leader in intimates, beach wear, leg wear and home wear. What started with a store at Valikonağı Avenue has developed into a brand with more than 500 stores in five continents and more than 60 million visitors every year. We meet Fehime Garan, Senior E-commerce Manager at Penti.
Penti’s success started with socks, a basic item everybody uses. These days, the fashion retailer is still Turkey’s leading and Europe’s second largest hosiery manufacturer while it expanded to other product categories as well. That way, the company developed itself to the multi-category intimate retailer it is today. In the last ten years, a lot of these new categories were added. “We have seen some special highlights over the last few years. By innovating on products, we have attracted attention to the category of underwear,” Garan points out. “It is to say that we really added a lot to the creation of the underwear category. We, for example, reintroduced fishnet tights to the market. Today, intimate fashion has become complementary to all categories it serves, including specific style codes, too. It provides us with the possibility to strengthen our market position as market-pioneer by matching production, design and marketing demands with existing and emerging customer demands.”
Online expansion: promoting the brand
One of the demands of the last years, obviously, was the possibility to order online. With an online shop, the (online) business grew and Penti.com instantly adds new features to the platform. The multichannel fashion retailer used a Magento Commerce Community solution before it partnered with MNM, an Intershop business partner. “We wanted to replatform so we would be able to set up multi-level promotion campaigns. They are very important for both our online and offline business. This flexible solution makes it possible to add the new features we want in our shop in a way that offers us the possibility to stay up to date with changing online trends and consumer demands. We were looking for a solution like this as our promotions often are very complex. Having to work with only one e-commerce infrastructure has made things a lot easier.”
While growing online over the years, the e-commerce team of Penti has been growing as well. Now, a team of ten is working on a daily basis to optimise the platform and generate sales. The ongoing process is to fit the online and offline strategies in the overarching omnichannel strategy of the company. “It was a logical step to match our online and offline experience,” Garan states. “However, realising this is not as easy as it is to do this. Our e-commerce team has to work closely together with our offline team to strengthen our globalised perspective. We aim to provide our customers with a holistic brand language by giving them the same experience at every point of contact. That means approaching consumers the same way when purchasing online as well as offline. It is one of the reasons we are continuingly improving on our online content.”
Penti aims to be a unified brand, no matter the channel of contact. “We call this our 360-perspective. It is the perfect fit for our multichannel strategy and helps consumers define who they are dealing with and what to expect. With our new platform, we can integrate the offline and online world even more. In more than a hundred of our stores, for example, we can offer a click-and-collect purchase option. Our platform triggers a selected store that gets a notification an online purchase is on its way to be picked up by the consumer. It is an extra service for our customers and an extra sales generator for us,” Garan tells.
A personalised experience
Aiming for a unified experience is only one side of the coin. Penti is aiming to make this unified experience as personal as possible too. As a leading brand in intimates and beach wear the company has a lot of product expertise in house. “Our knowledge always puts us up front in the market. It enabled us to raise the bar in leadership,” explains Garan. Penti offers collection structures with more options. Colours and patterns vary each season. “In 2018, we added personalised bras to our assortment. This approach was implemented in our online shop. Consumers can select a basic bra model and design it themselves with desired patterns and strap alternatives. A few years earlier, we already launched a tool that helped millions of women finding the correct bra size and model that suit them. It is named MyBra and has been ground-breaking in the field of online intimate fashion. It is our mission to bring technologies to our consumers, like the Penti MybraTouch, that makes their life healthier, comfortable and elegant. We believe that, with the quality of products we deliver and our market position, we continue to be accessible to all women,” says Garan.
Providing consumers with the most optimised product assortment, based on their preferences, requires a lot of data research and technology. “It is why we connected customer segmentation and personalisation solutions to our current platform. It helps us to select which products to offer to a specific consumer,” tells Garan, immediately providing an example. “Recently, our Ma Vie Privee collection was released. Online exclusive. This product line is appealing more to daring and mysterious women. Based on clicks, historical order data and other information, we profiled our consumers and decided to show them more or less of this new line. We have seen some very positive results.”
Eyes on the horizon
Penti closed 2018 with more than 530 stores in more than 30 countries. It is massively located in Turkey, with 364 stores in 62 cities while its cross-border ambitions become clear with 170 stores and an English online shop abroad. The international operations of the brand are becoming more important. “We aim to open 50 new stores on 5 continents, from Kazakhstan to Canada. Our cross-border operations grew with 82% and aim for market leadership in countries like Kuwait and Lebanon. Furthermore, we will continue our growth in Europe, the Middle East and plan to enter the Greek market.” Says Garan, continuing: “The Romanian market is a prime example of what we aim for. In 2018, we hosted more than 5 million visitors in our stores here. By opening more stores in the near future, we aim to become a market leader here too. Here, our strategy to raise brand awareness of Penti paid off. Our operations are growing and for the coming period, Romania will be our second point of focus, after the Turkish market. Our online activities are growing rapidly in Romania too. By opening a warehouse, we aim to process to all European countries. An ambitious goal for the future but one we really look forward to,” concludes Garan.
Read all interviews in Cross-Border Magazine.