Matches Fashion – A Brand Profile
In 1987, Matches Fashion was founded by the couple Tom and Ruth Chapman. The first boutique was opened in Wimbledon village, and it’s interesting to note that this location was the first to stock Prada in all of the UK. Despite their humble beginning with a single boutique, Matches Fashion has grown into a dominant force in high end fashion industry.
In the last four years, Matches Fashion’s online sales have grown 75%. That’s where the true story of their success lies. Through a series of smart decisions, they have placed themselves in a position to become the market leader in online luxury fashion in the coming years. Despite more than 200 billion pounds of sales in the high end fashion industry every year, only an astonishingly low 5% of that actually comes from online sales. That’s significantly less than what online sales account for in other markets, and it’s the main reason which accounts for Matches Fashion’s continued success.
While Matches Fashion has proven to be a consistently profitable retailer, what really took the company to the next level was one smart decision that Tom and Ruth Chapman made. In 2012 they took 20 million pounds of funding and used it to redesign their website. Not only that, but they placed a heavy focus on ensuring that it was mobile friendly. This seemingly obvious move has been overlooked by other competitors in the fashion industry, who are still using platforms that are old and outdated.
With online sales growing every year, and mobile sales in particular, it was this smart investment that has allowed Matches Fashion to remain a dominant force in the industry. The entire web design process was well thought out, and perhaps can be best explained by Mr. Chapman’s insistence that the when it came to Matches Fashion’s online presence, he wanted the “the digital as physical as possible”.
This powerful move has allowed Matches Fashion to enjoy some wonderful success in the high end fashion industry. Today, 85% of all their sales are online, and 70% of those sales come from international customers. The website itself receives 2.5 million views every month, and each sale on average is 430 pounds. With these kinds of numbers, it’s easy to see how Matches Fashion has created a lucrative niche for itself.
The benefits of having a mobile friendly website cannot be overlooked, no matter what industry you’re in. The mobile market already accounts for more sales than those coming from a traditional computer.These numbers are showing no signs of slowing down either, especially as technology becomes more popular in emerging markets like Asia. Not everyone may be able to afford a laptop, but many people will be able to afford a Chinese smartphone. That’s why it’s so important to cater to this market, and to make sure that your own website is mobile friendly. You can learn a lot from Matches Fashion’s success by looking at how much a mobile friendly platform has influenced their dominance in the market.
The investment firms believe that it was his creativity and inspiration that led the brand to be a success in the first place. It remains unclear whether or not the bondholders of American Apparel will accept the money or not. Although, given that the $300 million dollar infusion would guarantee that their investments are returned in full, they may see it as a very tempting offer.
Matches Fashion continues to operate fifteen different stores in the UK. However, these account for just 15% of the brand’s total sales. Mr. and Mrs. Chapman correctly anticipated that owing to their large online sales, the small number of sales made at a physical location would not hurt their bottom line.
To this day, Matches is a private company and the majority owners are the Chapmans. They’ve held onto close to 70% of the company, while the rest of is primarily owned by the Scottish Equity Partners. While the Chapmans have considered the idea of an IPO, they admit that should that day come, they would probably cease to be involved in the day to day operations of the company. Mr. Chapman feels that running a public company is not something he’s interested in, and thus an IPO would mean the end of couples reign as head of Matches.
Number of stores located in the UK – 15
Private company primarily owned by founders Tom and Ruth Chapman
80 Million Pounds of revenue in 2013
Market leader online, Matches Fashion ships to over 190 countries
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