Virtual Roundtable: Fashion retail wakes from hibernation

From the C-Suite newsletter: Leaders at Hudson's Bay, Indochino, CF and GroupM discuss reopening strategies.

Retail Roundtable

This is the latest in a virtual roundtable series co-hosted by strategy and Media in Canada that explores advertisers’ branding, marketing and media investment strategies throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

In this instalment, MiC’s Bree Rody and strategy’s Justin Dallaire look at the unique challenges facing the fashion retail industry at a time when many brands are in the midst of their reopening strategies.

The roundtable brought together Meghan Nameth, SVP of marketing at Hudson’s Bay; Peter Housley, chief revenue officer at Indochino; Jason Anderson, SVP of brand, marketing, communications at Cadillac Fairview; and Monique Brosseau, president of GroupM Quebec.

You can listen to the roundtable audio-only version below, or view the video version at the bottom of this article.


On drawing customers back into stores

“We’re seeing the demand already pick up again. [But] I’m not seeing, for the balance of the year, a store or showroom where I have 30 or 50 customers in it [or] wedding parties of seven or eight and their fiancés and their friends all getting measured in the showroom at the same time.” – Housley

“We are seeing that people will return to a different experience, where it’s much more a blend of online and offline… We’re seeing that omnichannel shopping experience continue to [grow] on steroids. We have leaped forward 10-plus years.” – Nameth

“People are slow to come back… But the traffic growth is growing at a rate faster than I had personally expected… Our retailers have also been slow to open… We’re three weeks [into opening] in Winnipeg and still only have half our stores are open right now, because, for our clients, it’s a lot of work to get something reopened.” – Anderson

On aligning media spend with fluctuating demand

“We did see search trends for sweatpants go way up… But we also saw other categories like personal care, beauty products [and] home products do extremely well… So we shifted a lot of performance marketing into the categories that were maybe more relevant for consumers in the moment.” – Nameth

“We really went with a greatly pared down – literally a 70% or 80% reduction in media – for about seven or eight weeks… And then, about six or seven weeks into it, I started turning it up slowly, watching cost-per acquisition and keeping it very efficient. And I’m still relatively in that mode today for June.” – Housley 

“The lower funnel is key right now. However, some of our clients are also looking at the long-term, because they do know… things will shift and change and they need to address that. There’s been an opportunity for some clients to accelerate their presence and their business online.” – Brosseau