Thomas Knudsen, Managing Director at Pandora for Eastern Europe & Emerging Markets, gives us his insights on how the famous jewelry brand is implementing Omnichannel solutions to create a seamless online and offline retail experience.
Pandora is a world-famous brand from Denmark that sells hand-finished and contemporary jewelry made from high-quality materials at affordable prices. Its global retail chain consists of over 2.700 brick and mortar stores. The average size of the stores is between 50 to 75 sqm, positioned in prime high street locations and shopping centers. Besides its physical retail network, the retailer operates successful eCommerce websites across the world.
We spoke to Thomas Knudsen to see how the brand is tackling the challenges of the pandemic and what practices they are using to ride the waves of change.
In your opinion, how has the retail market been affected by the pandemic and how has your brand managed to tackle the challenges?
The impact of the Pandemic has been significant for the retail industry and added a new dimension of complexity, which most retailers are still trying to adjust to. Very early on we redirected our focus and found that many of our loyal customers were happy to continue to shop with us online!
Have your customer preferences changed since the beginning of the pandemic?
I believe we have been through different phases since the first wave of the pandemic. First the unknown put a halt to spending but very fast spending power came back. However, customer expectations were at first more on “getting a good deal”, rather than shopping after the latest trends. Today we see customer preferences being close to what they were before the pandemic.
How have your sales and marketing activities changed since the beginning of 2020?
Pandora has always been a very strong and engaging brand on social media which is a great tool to continue to reach and communicate with our fans. This supported us during the pandemic to redirect customers to our online stores. Facebook and Instagram in Europe continue to dominate.
You have started with live streaming, tell us more about that experience, how has it affected your sales?
Live Streaming is an initiative that allows us to communicate with our fans in a simple way. The recent event we did on Facebook was hosted by our own PR manager with support from one of our fantastic store managers. It is kept simple and authentic and allows our fans to have direct contact with the brand. From a performance point of view we clearly see an effect and uplift in sales on the collections we present during the event.
Does your company work with macro or micro-influencers?
We do work with both macro and micro-influencers. Being present in over 100 countries, macro-influencers are important to support and drive the brand positioning. But also local micro-influencers increase brand awareness in the local markets by inspiring their followers and our customers to new styling ideas. They typically support the promotion of new collections and campaigns through affiliation agreements.
How are your physical stores holding up with the expansion of online retail and does your company plan new store openings?
Our physical stores have recovered well after lockdowns and we do see the potential to continue opening new doors moving forward. At the same time, we put much effort into our Omnichannel solutions to build a much better and more seamless experience across online and offline formats.
How are your stores in shopping centers performing? As a tenant, what changes or actions would you like to see within shopping centers and how can shopping center managers help out retailers at this time?
Stores within shopping malls are on a rebound post the Covid lockdowns. Some are doing exceptionally well, while others are struggling due to continued reduced traffic. Both landlords and tenants must come to terms with this new reality and secure reasonable compromises on lease costs in order to keep the retail industry going.
Finally, how do you see the future of retail?
I remain very positive about the future of retail. Online shopping is here to stay but it will never be able to substitute the experience of physical stores. Inspiration, dialogue, and solid customer service is the key to continued success in retail and I am confident consumers will continue to visit malls and high streets.