JAYNE HOUGHTON talks to PrettyLittleThing Marketing Director NICKI CAPSTICK ahead of their highly anticipated e-commerce launch in The Middle East.
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Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I joined PrettyLittleThing (PLT) in January 2015 as Marketing Manager from fast fashion rival Missguided and was promoted to Head of Marketing two years later. 2015 was the year in which the
business grew by over 600% year-on-year in terms of gross turnover and 300% in terms of site visitation. Working in a fast-paced environment which is constantly evolving has meant I have had to adapt very quickly to the demands of the business. The Marketing team has grown from 3 to 65 employees and I have been responsible for the growth of all Marketing channels including PPC, CRM, SEO, PR, Social, Affiliates and Paid Social. I oversee top line marketing plans in all markets across 4 core areas – Planning, Brand Marketing, Digital Marketing and CRM.
I have worked across the brands International expansion with launches including Ireland, Australia, France, USA and now MENA as well as opening showrooms in LA, Miami, Paris, as well as dedicated sites for The Middle East and South America.
As the Marketing Director of PRETTYLITTLETHING, tell us about the biggest challenges of situating yourself as a purely online platform.
For PLT we continuously focus on staying ahead of the competition and ensuring we are reacting to what the customer wants. Being a purely online platform has many advantages, particularly that we are able to move quickly in everything that we do – our teams are dynamic and used to moving at a fast pace which allows us to turn around launches, product ranges and new social initiatives extremely quickly.
Women love the experience of shopping. What’s the attraction of online fashion sites when a digital experience takes the emotive aspect of retail away?
As a brand we focus on bringing lots of emotive experiences to our customers through channels beyond the website. PrettyLittleThing is a lifestyle brand and it’s important for us to make them feel a part of that. Our social channels offer the customer style advice, behind-the-scenes footage on our shoots and live chats with our expanding influencer and celebrity base. We’ve developed a strong brand identity in our existing markets with our unicorn branding and we have taken that branding beyond digital platforms, wrapping taxis, trains and trams in pink PLT unicorns.
Whilst the customer can’t touch or try on the product before they buy it we offer fast and easy delivery and returns which make it easy for the customer to shop from the comfort of their own home. This year we also plan to open up PLT branded cafés which will invite the customer to be a part of the physical experience.
PRETTYLITTLETHING.com is renowned as the one-stop-shop for trend led women’s clothing at seriously killer prices, but what is the secret (other than the price!) of PRETTYLITTLETHING’s success?
PLT has been molded by our customer: we try things, we change things, we listen to the customer and we’ve become a brand that the customer wants. It isn’t about selling just products, we want our customers to feel they can come to us for lifestyle, beauty tips, work outs, life advice – being an all-round “best friend”. We are a young business and we pride ourselves on our youth, our youthful management, our youthful leadership from start to end. We adapt really quickly to the ever changing landscape, especially throughout our social media and Influencer strategy as well as our campaigns. We were one of the first online retailers who showcased the same outfit on two different size models (a UK 8 and a UK 18) with a campaign that went viral after we collaborated with Hailey Baldwin and this is what our customers want to see.
A little PR birdie told us about your plans of localising plans for PRETTYLITTLETHING in May and we are indeed thrilled. Tell us more about what that means for regional designers across The Middle East.
Our team at our Manchester HQ are working closely with our team in The Middle East to adapt our product offering, our focus on launch will be to expand our PLT offering however we are excited about the possibility of working with regional designers, models and Influencers to develop collections further down the line.
Does the concept of a “discounted” product offering make it difficult to maintain premium fashion positioning?
Not at all. We’re at the forefront of what we do and I don’t believe our customer offering at a lower price point makes us less “premium”. We have worked with some incredible talent which a lot of people may deem as high end including Ashley Graham, Kourtney Kardashian and Hailey Baldwin with an attractive price point.
With social media dominating marketing do you have any upcoming plans to collaborate with regional influencers?
We are working closely with in-market agencies to ensure our approach is relevant and appropriate for the Arab market, this will include modest collections. We will also be adapting our social media platforms and advertising to ensure this is relevant to the market. Eventually, this year, we will launch an edit with a local influencer, tailored to the market where they will work closely with our design team on curating their own collection.
Where do you see PRETTYLITTLETHING in The Middle East in the next 5-10 years?
We have big ambitions for the Middle East, our focus will be on launching the brand successfully over the coming months and continuing to adapt our offering to offer customers in the Middle East everything they want from a fast fashion brand. Tell us an interesting fact about yourself. Before the lock down I hadn’t spent more than a week at home in the UK. We were so busy working on expansion plans that between January and March, I was on a plane nearly every 2 weeks!
@nicki_cap / @prettylittlething
Quick Fire Questions
FACEBOOK OR INSTAGRAM? INSTAGRAM
FAVOURITE BEAUTY PRODUCT? CHARLOTTE TILBURY – MAGIC CREAM
FAVOURITE DESIGNER? BURBERRY
FAVOURITE PERFUME? GIVENCHY – L’INTERDIT