BY OZGE YAVUZ
The readymade clothing company LC Waikiki has taken a new step towards e-commerce. The company, which will no longer give products to any intermediary e-commerce platform, will make sales only through its own shopping platform. “We have removed intermediaries to catch advantage in competition. We are setting up our own marketplace,” said Vahap Kucuk, Chairman of the Board of LC Waikiki.
Operating with 500 stores at home and with 550 stores abroad, LC Waikiki has decided not to give any products to any e-commerce and marketplace platform. Accordingly, the company will remove the intermediary and will make sales only through its online shopping platform www.lcwaikiki.com. Thus, LC Waikiki will position its platform as a marketplace, where it will also start to sell its brands including Southblue and X-Side, which haven’t made debut at online shopping to date. The company, which eyes TRY 36bn of global turnover this year, will develop sustainable trade and catch advantage in competition.
We’ve primarily examined consumer: Kucuk
During the pandemic, LC Waikiki primarily started to examine consumer behaviors abroad, which experienced the COVID-19 before. “Previously, we could carry out our works abroad when there was a problem at home, however, we have faced with a global issue this time,” said Kucuk. The company gave weight to categories such as sweatshirt, sportswear, and sleepwear with the impact of tendency to casual wear stemmed from the lockdowns during the pandemic. “Consumers initially stopped their spendings then headed towards e-commerce. We’ve invested in infrastructure, logistics and cargo businesses,” Kucuk added.
Entered the crisis with strong cash
The company’s turnover declined by 40% at home and by 35% abroad, which was overcome by the support of strong financial basis on the face of the pandemic, according to Kucuk. “Cash management is the most important one for such periods. Our turnover declined but our production cost didn’t fell. Capital is required to circulate this,” said Kucuk, stressing that the company utilized well its strong cash power, which didn’t victimize anyone, made payments on time and continued investments. “LC Waikiki generally errs on the side of caution,” he added.
LC Waikiki’s store investments continue at home and abroad during the pandemic. However, the company rather eyes relocation and store extension opportunities. Within this scope, LC Waikiki will launch new stores for its sub brands like LCW Home and LCW Dream. On the other hand, it also puts on the agenda its brands such as X-Side and Southblue set aside previously. “X-Side is a brand addressing the youth, while Southblue is an upper segment brand. We’ll sell them both at our stores,” said LC Waikiki Chairman.
In fact, LC Waikiki aims to further strengthen in e-commerce, which has rapidly grown during the pandemic. That’s why the company has put into use its new brands in order to sell them under a single roof on the company’s online shopping platform lcwaikiki.com. “We will invest as the marketplace. Dream, Step, X-Side, Vision… These are our sub brands. We’ll address to many segments if we gather them all,” said Kucuk.
In the meantime, LC Waikiki achieved its 2023 turnover goal already in 2020, which also plans to triple its growth this year, compared to the pre-pandemic period. “Moreover, we’ve stopped to sale of our products on other digital platforms such as Trendyol and Hepsiburada. We’ve removed the intermediary. LC Waikiki products will only be sold through lcwaikiki.com,” Kucuk added.
“We couldn’t derive profit”: Kucuk
Operations were non-profitable when LC Waikiki gave its outputs to other platforms, according to Kucuk. That’s why the company removed the intermediary in order to offer more competitive prices. “Products were sold without profit. We’ve made such a decision for sustainable trade,” said Kucuk. All brands of the company are planned to step in by the end of year. On the other hand, LC Waikiki also aims to increase the number of online members to 5-6 million people from existing 2 million people. “The growth coefficient of internet is higher than physical stores,” Kucuk added.
Moreover, LC Waikiki aims to launch 100 stores abroad, while 30 new stores towards sub brands and 15 LC Waikiki stores will become operational at home this year. The company’s physical stores are visited by 12 million people every week.