IMRG Online Retailer Interview: The Kooples

A Q&A with Rocco Ghrenassia, Global eCommerce Director

In our second retailer Q&A, we spoke to Rocco about cross-border expansion, social media, and personalisation in online retail.


Tell us about The Kooples

It’s a French brand, created in 2008.

We sell clothes, accessories, and shoes for men, women, and kids. We’re an international brand. And We have more than 400 points of sale globally in 36 countries.

We started our online business in 2011.

Our online growth has been amazing. We ended 2017 with 50% growth. We also just opened in three new markets online a few months ago – Spain, the Netherlands, and Ireland.

How many territories do you trade into online in total?

Eight: France, The UK, Germany, Switzerland, The US, and now the three I mentioned — Spain, Ireland and The Netherlands. We also ship from the French website to every country in the Eurozone.

We have big plans to expand. Especially into Asia.

Map of Europe

Do you focus more on customer acquisition or retention?

Basically we do think that if you spend money to acquire the customer you need to spend money to keep him or her. So we focus on both.

And what sort of strategies do you use for those?

We have a strong social media strategy for acquisition, with content from our official Instagram account. We use paid social as well as free. The Instagram account grew from 200,000 followers in 2017 to more than 600,000 followers in 2018.

For retention, the idea is to personalise and customise the whole customer journey, using targeted emailing, product personalisation, and personalised product recommendation on site, and finally the post-purchase experience, which includes logistics, and returns. We also train our customer service staff to provide the best experience possible.

What sort of social campaigns have you tried?

We produce our own content, and we also partner with bloggers and influencers from around the globe to produce content. We also repost others’ content on Instagram.

We also run ‘takeovers’, so during a few days, a partner will take ownership of our Instagram account to post their content through our Instagram account.

Phone with Instagram

How have you used personalisation on your site?

We try to personalise as much as we can. Starting with the homepage, we work to personalise all of the product recommendations.

First we personalise the homepage by gender. Then comes product recommendation. We have three stages of product recommendation — on the product page, on the cart pages, and personalise product recommendation according to navigation.

The personalisation by gender increased the conversion rate by 30%, which is huge. It was crazy. All the personalisation in product recommendations increased conversion by 10%.

A year ago we also launched a personalised product — customised polo shirts. Customers can design their own polo. Polo shirts is an amazing category for us, and there has been a lot of demand for that customisation.

There have been amazing results. We saw the best ever sales in polo shirts from that offering.

We’re working to keep improving those results, doing a lot of A/B testing. It’s the basics, the fundamentals of ecommerce testing and strategy.

Have you been able to join up elements of the online and offline journey?

We’re merging the data all our orders that are from stores with online orders with the same email address.

To obtain the data on in store purchases we launched e-tickets — non-physical receipts — so when you make a purchase you can receive your receipt by email. We’ve seen between 60% and 70% take up of that.


Commentary from Kevin Sparks, UK Country Manager, Early Birds

When you have clients with such a strong brand identity as The Kooples it’s important to help them truly harness and influence the data they have to personalise products and content at scale.

It’s vital this is achieved across all channels on a one to one basis to each loyal customer to ensure they maintain their distinctiveness as a brand in a thriving sector. A natural consequence of personalisation at this level is both retention and customer acquisition alongside further reinforcing their brand identity, this is evident from the growth The Kooples have achieved in just 10 years.

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