If you think about what retailers are “reinventing” the fashion retail business and also leading the omnichannel era, you will probably mention Zara, Nike, H&M… and a few niche players like Everlane, Bonobos, Goop or Rent the Runway. Some might mention Amazon, but Amazon Fashion has room for improvement yet… Those companies are going beyond of selling products, and their value proposition includes a digital customer-centric approach, innovation, curated experience and sustainability. Bonprix is probably not in the average “top-of-mind”.
Bonprix was founded in Hamburg (Germany) in 1986 as a mail order company specializing in apparel and evolved to an omnichannel retailer including online, print catalogues and offline stores. As a subsidiary of the Otto Group, the company operates in 30 countries across Europe, Russia, North America and South America. In 2018, generated revenues of €1,56 billion and e-commerce represents around 80% of revenues.
The company offers a wide range of styles and sizes including womenswear, menswear, kidswear, accessories, home textiles and interior design organized in 5 private label brands: bpc, bpc selection, BODYFLIRT, RAINBOW and John Baner. Assortment is refreshed in a monthly basis and it´s value proposition is “fashion at exceptional value-for-money” (similar to Primark).
On February the 14th (Valentine´s day, maybe a strategical date?), Bonprix opened an omnichannel pilot store in Hamburg (Moenckebergstrasse 11) with a clear objective: delivering a digitally driven shopping experience. The new store includes a fashion bar, smart fitting rooms (RFID technology that automatically update the shopping bag in the app), self check-out points and payment via app… A store in the era of fashion technology or fashtech.
The customer experience
The article about Innovative Customer Experience in NYC, commented about what stores where excelling at customer experience and why. In this case, Bonprix store in Hamburg is presenting a trend floor, like a showroom. Far from stocking inventory and presenting all the sizes, every single garment and accessory is showcased as part of Bonprix’s style worlds. The “fashion connect” concept is aimed at style-savvy women aged 30+ and features popular pieces from younger, more on-trend brands Bodyflirt and Rainbow.
The Trend Floor
In this new concept store, every item has its own QR code. Customers scan the code to add it in the shopping bag. Then head to the fitting rooms or select “Buy It Now” to pay without trying it on. In case the customer needs to try on clothing, they can wait having a drink at the “fashion bar” while shop assistants will prepare the “order”. A similar process happens at Flight Club, when shop assistants ask you about your size and then you seat and wait for it. But there is no digital experience or bar…
The fitting room experience is also innovative. Once everything has been prepared, the customer is invited to their personal fitting room. The size of the fitting room is above the average, rooms are well ventilated and offer a choice of four mood lighting settings. A large screen displays the contents of the bonprix app and shows the next steps. If the customer needs a different size, or advice from a fashion assistant, they can order it directly to their fitting room.
Other retailers are betting on innovation and have a similar approach to digital customer experience like Rebecca Minkoff. The difference is that Rebecca Minkoff sells t-shirts at 70€ and Bonprix at 10€. So, a mass-market fashion retailer is offering a “similar” customer experience than an affordable-luxury brand (customer service would be different). It´s an example of how a pure-player is using bricks to test their products, optimize the assortment and get closer to the customer while delivering a service. “Fashion Connect” acts like a pop-up store, making noise and delivering a fresh and multy-sensory fashion experience. Bonprix is a clear competitor of Amazon Fashion, but with more experience, both online and offline.