Challenge: Growing Demand, Shrinking Resources and Manual Processes
As it did for most brands, the global pandemic brought on a number of challenges for Skinnydip that have gradually impacted their ambitious growth goals. Some of these challenges were amplified even further by the recent shifts in demand.
Loss of multiple sales channels and increase in digital competition
In addition to generating sales through their online store, Skinnydip sells their products in over 200 concessions in the UK. With the pandemic abruptly halting brick-and-mortar shopping, their sales growth on these channels disappeared entirely. Like most brands who faced a similar loss, the brand has shifted their focus to the online experience as their sole channel for traffic and sales.
The shift to online experiences has been both an opportunity and a threat for the brand: while they’ve seen an increase in new traffic to the site during the pandemic, competition for digital real estate is steeper than ever. Skinnydip is one of many brands who’ve completely pivoted to online-only experiences, now competing against a sea of digitally native brands with strong footholds in the online sphere.
Balancing growing customer demand with manual merchandising and minimal resources
While Skinnydip did see an increase in new site traffic, working with a small team has made it that much harder to keep up with growing customer demand (especially during peak season).
To add to their lack of resources, their manual merchandising strategy has put an even greater strain on their ability to foster product discovery, convert new site traffic and nurture new shoppers into loyal customers.
The brand showcases dozens of categories on their site – and with a manual merchandising process in place across categories new and restocked products would be automatically placed at the bottom of their assigned collection. This meant that customers searching a specific category (like “handbags”) would have less of a chance of discovering new products within that category.
Additionally, if a new product was launched, Skinnydip had no visibility into how those products fit into other categories. This meant that products with great sales potential would often end up in the wrong places and not visible to the customer, causing the brand to miss out on the crucial initial sales window.
Our previous merchandising was done through intuition and what “looked good”. There are tons of products in our collections that work really well as add-ons, but someone manually merchandising might rank them much lower on the category page.
Meghan Lewis, Head Of Ecommerce, Skinnydip London
Skinnydip needed a solution to eliminate an extremely laborious process at a time when resources were limited and traffic was on the rise. They also needed a way to eliminate gut feeling and guesswork that often led to human error; instead, adopting a merchandising strategy that uses data to drive their decisions.