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STORIES OF RESILIENT COMPANIES – Interview with Corinne Noca, SLAM eCommerce manager

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Slam, the renowned brand loved by sailors, leaves two months of lockdown behind – accelerating forward with an omnichannel marketing strategy geared towards new consumer buying habits. The brand is also focusing on product research that is attentive to eco-sustainable fabrics – reducing the impact on the environment and preserving the seabed.

A few days after reopening the stores , Corinne Noca , Slam’s eCommerce manager, was asked how the first period of the social, economic and health emergency was addressed and what action plans they envisaged to deal with the wave of crisis that hit the whole global community.

“If they had told me that a global pandemic would have broken out in March 2020 and that the world would have had to face a new health, economic, political and social crisis never seen before, I think yes, I would have believed it. I always believed in the predictions of Nostradamus or the end of the world according to the Mayan calendar. “Emergency” means unexpected circumstance – something you didn’t foresee and for this reason you have to review all handlings of the case. In this area, we talk about work, about the company in particular, but we cannot fail to talk about the personal life of each employee. “

On that note, Corinne draws our attention to a matter of fact: both in the private and in the professional sphere. This is not simply an upset to one’s daily balances, but it is the development of a resilient and adaptive mindset. One capable to face unpredictable challenges with speed and creativity, without neglecting a state of mental and physical well-being. It is interesting to note how the Covid-19 emergency, has further accentuated company values for Corinne and the Slam company –  ​that for years have also led to process, communication and relationship choices with its employees and customers.

“Like many, where it has been possible, smart working has been implemented. I have been specifically smart working for almost ten years, since I started working with eCommerce. I have always tried, when I was able and when they gave me the opportunity, to work remotely – I believe that it gives space in parallel to personal life, work and one’s passions in a balanced way. We are more relaxed from an emotional point of view and while we work on objectives and the measure of efficiency is visible and measurable. Before companies “controlled” people, the employees – now that’s shifted toward checking that the work is done. In addition, you are certainly also happier (allow me an adjective like this, that we seem to struggle to use right now), because you are immersed in your own environment and with your affections. However, just because you are working remotely, you should not lose contact with the company, with colleagues and with the work environment. I always went to the office 1 or 2 times a week, which is not close to home as it is 125 km away . In my case, working with online platforms becomes more manageable even in terms of stress. “

Today, the situation is that the global community finds itself coexisting with the virus. In compliance with established rules and new social and working paradigms. All companies have experienced that, with the exception of some sectors (including the productive and logistics), it is possible for their employees to smart work remotely.

“All this means that those who have never been used to these new ways, find themselves having to deal with the management of work and affections at home. To share everything and to stay connected. I find I have always lived like this. Since I started work in eCommerce, not a day goes by that I do not even look at the phone (even in pre-covid times) to check orders, customer comments etc, considering that the eShop is open 24/7 . I could talk about the pros and cons of the situation that I experienced before and after: before it seemed impossible to make video conferences, you had to be always present.  I am not talking about Slam, which has always allowed me to work from home, but about past experiences. Now, everything is feasible and the results are perhaps even more immediate, despite the initial difficulties of organisation. Of course, there are some sectors that need manual operation, I think of production, style, etc. Now it is a continuum – every day, 5/6 video conferences a day, because you feel lost, disoriented and you need and need continuous discussion. While before it was enough to simply open the office door and ask on the fly. It’s a completely different way of working, but it still seems productive to me and all in all fast, despite the apparent cons. ” 

Slam has an eCommerce that has experienced continuous growth of over 20% year on year over the past three years.

“During the forced lockdown the online shop never stopped. At the beginning of the emergency, the production of the summer collection had just ended. We had to stop the shooting activities which, as soon as we were able, started again almost at full capacity. We hope to have the whole collection on the site by the end of May considering that Summer 2020 will be lived in a different way than usual, and perhaps it will last even longer. The strategy pursued was to focus on customer service. In the first instance, we suspended the discounts and promotions active online so as not to overload the work of our couriers. In addition, our articles are not classified as basic necessities, it wouldn’t be the right atmosphere and coherence would have been lacking in a moment of serious and extreme psychological difficulty for everyone. So there seemed no need to ride a wave that looked more like a tsunami than anything else.”

Little by little, we have seen and experienced the evolution of the situations. We started to discuss the strategies to be adopted and from March we started to rethink the future – acting on levers that often and willingly favour online sales: promotions . This strategy helps us with sales and also helps people in difficulty who can take advantage of discounts or promotions available on the site.

Many international marketplaces have contacted us and we have resumed the lines of communication that we had blocked. The presence on international markets is important for the positioning and for the knowledge of the brand – not only in terms of the technical items, but also and above all, for the sportswear collection. Through the marketplaces we can go where we would probably find it hard to go alone and clearly become an additional sales channel.

The average investments for the whole month of March were kept to a minimum. In order not to waste budget reserves, we kept focus on the two countries that recognise us most – Italy and Spain. Despite the lockdown, and the primacy as the countries most affected by the Coronavirus, Italy and Spain have not stopped interacting with us. They prove still to be the countries that generate the most turnover online. Investments therefore continued and strengthened from after Easter onwards and the results returned. We started from there.

We are constantly looking to the future, even before we know the reopening date of the shops. We have looked at a personal shopper campaign that will start the week before the reopening and that will allow our customers to make a reservation beforehand so they can visit in peace without danger of overcrowding. It is a real restart. We are ready to. 

In addition, to mitigate the impossibility of trying on garments in the showrooms of the store, we have incorporated a size recommendation technology, integrated into Kooomo in eCommerce. In this way, we are able to help our customers to find the right size and at the same time we have the opportunity to see their conformation and pass the data to the department of competence for the fit and creation of our garments.

Over the past few months, with Kooomo and Zerogrey, we started talking about the off-line / on-line synergy. We also considered the idea of ​​installing a monitor in the store to give customers the opportunity to have more information about the brand, the clothes and also to buy directly. A new way to shop.

As I have always said, omnichannel is a necessity – now even more so. The purchasing and social dynamics have changed and continue to change. There is still no settlement, but surely online shopping is now more affordable for everyone, even those who before did not do it and who have never contemplated it . The goal is to ensure that you have a sort of single interlocutor that allows you to buy online, possibly pick up in the store to see other items also live or to return to the store and buy a garment in the store that is not there. The customer is always at the centre of our business and we will implement more and more projects that increase the interaction between the brand and the consumer.

See you next story! Stay tuned

Jennifer Puzzo, Head of Client Service of Italy

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