Chris Griffin, co-founder, Lifestyle Retail Group
1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business?
To be the largest marketplace in the world for discount fashion apparel sportswear and beauty.
2. What is the biggest challenge to your business?
We designed Secret Sales to be a marketplace that consistently protects our brand partners’ brand values and helps them clear inventory and creating new customers through us that they can take into their own channels. The challenge, and it’s a good one, is making sure all our teams are always putting our partners brand equity first. Brand equity in fashion is everything and it’s staying on top of this challenge that helps us and our partners win.
3. With the benefit of hindsight what would you have done differently so far?
I wish we had moved to marketplace-only earlier. The flash sales part of the business, which will be killed off, was such a poor model and poor experience for the brands and their customers. Moving to marketplace-only has revolutionised Secret Sales and our brands and partners attitude to clearing inventory.
4. What is the future of the physical store and the high street?
Twelve months ago I saw a future for high street fashion retail if retailers embraced technology and made the shopping experience more of an experience. But now I think high street retail for fashion will never fully recover. I think in the big cities like London and New York, where the populations are big enough to support stores and give the retailers the foot fall they need in order to make it viable to create an experience, will survive. But in smaller towns and cities I’m not sure it will ever return.
5. What technology-related plans have you got for the next 12 months?
We’re looking to launch six country-specific, fully-localised sites in 2021 and opening up fulfilment to 200 countries globally with a sophisticated delivery and returns network to enable our brands to grow with us. They will let new customers experience the brands’ products and it will be logistically, and economically, viable for all.
6. What other retailers/brands do you admire?
Asos and Zalando.
7. Who would you place at the top end of the Movers & Shakers in Retail?
JP from Slerp. He has built a Deliveroo challenger/disruptor by making it possible and profitable for food and beverage retailers to do on-demand delivery by connecting them to all the services and tech needed to by-pass the marketplaces like Just Eat and do it for themselves. And make money. It’s going to be huge and JP is a great leader.