bonprix: a strategic partnership

Strategic Partnership

Laudert and bonprix have a strategic partnership that goes far beyond the provision of individual services. In our cooperation, operational topics are just as important as innovation and change. A holistic approach, crucial to successful marketing, takes centre stage in all areas – for both companies.

The bonprix transformation: from catalogue retailer to successful omni-channel player

A significant interview held in 2019:

How does digital transformation work from a fashion brand’s perspective? In his Connect lecture, Markus Fuchshofen provided first-hand answers. As CEO of bonprix, he is responsible for e-commerce, sales in Germany and branding and has played a key role in the company’s transformation from catalogue retailer to an omni-channel player. Here’s our summary of the steps bonprix took and what change will mean for the fashion brand in the future.

“Any sailor knows that when the wind changes, you have to change tack.” This is how Fuchshofen illustrates the mindset required of companies in order to continue to position themselves successfully in changing competitive conditions. There has always been transformation. The difference today, however, is that changes brought on by digitalisation are developing much more rapidly and in more profound ways.

A fashion company faced with fierce competition, bonprix is fully aware of the power that change can exert over its own business model. It knows that it will constantly have to adjust its sails to the wind. Starting with the catalogue business – the company’s sole pace and structure provider. New collections were planned in time with catalogue publications and space on the limited number of pages optimally utilised. Thanks to efficient processes and partnership-based collaboration, including Laudert, bonprix was a pioneer in the catalogue business and knew it inside out.

Until the first online shop opened in 1997, bonprix sold solely through their catalogue. The company then took things a step further, using insights from international markets such as the Netherlands – pioneers in the e-commerce sector – to gain a foothold in the digital world. What was providing pace and structure was no longer only the catalogue but rather the opportunity to present the products in more detail, using different content formats. There were no paper pages limiting space and no release dates timing the new collections.

bonprix was faced with the challenge of implementing the rapidly increasing content production in the most cost-effective manner. Laudert’s media IT team stepped up and after developing creative processes and establishing new ways of automation, went on to completely rethink the customer approach. With online shops – compared to physical catalogues regularly arriving in the customer’s home – there is no longer that direct stimulus to buy. That’s why bonprix created a new stimulus – and focused on strengthening its own brand as well as on gaining traction in the market.

But a strong brand doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels. Competition is fierce across global platforms – particularly in the fashion world. bonprix is competing by trying to offer customers added value with new and complementary platforms. We were recently tasked with creating something brand new, digital, and appealing. The result was Fashion Connect – the bonprix pilot store to connect online and offline worlds, inspiring not only customers but also the industry press.

With this additional touchpoint, bonprix is expanding its business model in an innovative way. The one-item presentation sparks inspiration and the shop has a tidy and modern look. Using a smart phone, items to try on can be selected in the required size at the touch of a button. The customer then finds the chosen pieces in the changing room and is able to examine them in a variety of light settings. If an item doesn’t fit, different sizes are available via a touchscreen in the changing room, the new item arriving within a short time. The purchasing process has also been digitalised, enabling easy payments via the app. The customer can leave the shop without having to wait in a long queue, let alone have security tags removed. bonprix has both created a new shopping experience and benefits from enriched customer data. However, the company explicitly views the shop as a pilot project to be changed or adapted if needed.

The development of bonprix shows that successful business models have to be constantly realigned. Innovative technologies and changing user behaviour as well as competitive conditions have a special relationship to one another and must be constantly reconsidered and recombined. Companies should understand exactly what determines their personal pace and structure and what they want to develop. But one thing is clear: changes should be allowed and, even better, challenged. That’s how successful digital transformation works.