ABOUT YOU sets benchmarks: the online-only retailer is growing faster than planned, expanding in Europe and aiming for sales of €1 billion in five years
Three years after it was established, ABOUT YOU is still growing: with sales of €135 million, it clearly exceeded its target of €100 million in the last financial year (cut-off date: 28 February 2017). With this performance, ABOUT YOU strengthened its position as one of the top five online-only fashion retailers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It plans to record sales of over €1 billion in the next five years. The company’s growth is driven by replicating its successful business model in international markets, installing an innovative IT organisational structure and developing up-to-date marketing concepts.
‘Our development is impressive and we’re continuing to press ahead at full steam,’ says Hannes Wiese, co-founder and director of Operations and Finance. ‘In the current financial year, we aim to double our sales to between €250 and €280 million.’ ABOUT YOU – which currently employs approximately 350 people – intends to achieve this by means of internationalisation and is using its successful concept from the German market as a blueprint for other countries. Its online store will start delivering inspiration in the Netherlands and Belgium in October; other European countries will follow at a later date.
Tech-driven company: flexible organisational structure proves successful
ABOUT YOU has created a flexible, scalable infrastructure for its tech-driven organisation as an ideal starting point for growth. The new organisational model MOVE centres on the objective of always developing the best solutions, making them scalable for additional markets, and ensuring that projects and staff remain flexible and able to exercise discretion in decision-making. MOVE offers each developer the opportunity to switch between different teams (known as circles) and units, allowing them to gather fresh experience and assume different roles. From the company’s viewpoint, this enables ABOUT YOU to react quickly to new challenges or changes without slowing down its growth. ‘We see ourselves as a tech-driven organisation and work in a kind of e-commerce lab, where we quickly develop new features with the aim of enabling customers to browse online,’ explains Sebastian Betz, director of Tech and Product. ‘Like blueprints, we can quickly scale concepts that work well in new countries as well as rolling out and testing additional features at high speed.’ With MOVE and its open structures, ABOUT YOU offers optimum conditions for a stimulating, varied working environment, especially in the highly competitive developer market.
ABOUT YOU establishes innovative marketing concepts
ABOUT YOU has gathered huge social media expertise in e-commerce and the fashion industry in the space of three years. Establishing innovative marketing concepts – including some in the field of influencer marketing – has enabled ABOUT YOU to grow with relatively little capital expenditure. The company has been working with influencers successfully since it went live in May 2014. It now has 70 such ‘Idols’. ABOUT YOU celebrated its third birthday with an award ceremony, inviting more than 250 celebrities and influencers plus over 500 industry decision makers to acknowledge the most creative and most influential social media stars. The response on social media was huge: more than three million viewers watched the influencer event of the year live via Facebook and YouTube.
‘The ABOUT YOU Awards offered further proof that we are the first mover in Germany when it comes to successful influencer marketing,’ explains Tarek Müller, director of Marketing and Brands. ‘Working with influencers is part of our company’s DNA, so we will add international Idols to our ABOUT YOU family in due course and further increase awareness of our brand.’
Due to its considerable reach, ABOUT YOU is also opening up its site to non-fashion brands and generated sales of over €2 million in the past twelve months with its internally developed Brand and Advertising Solutions unit.
Own brand also proving successful
ABOUT YOU’s own-brand strategy also draws on increased awareness. Its first own brand, ‘EDITED the label’, is a resounding success. ‘Financially speaking, we know of very few other fashion brands which have grown so rapidly,’ says Müller. ‘All of the feedback from our customers is positive too: we’ve built up a real fan base of very loyal customers now.’
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