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Tackling both the sports and performance shopper as well as the “sneaker heads”, there’s no such thing as a “typical customer” for this retailer, Lee said.
As part of its efforts to inject some fun into its product range, the brand has done a string of collaborations with popular anime and manga (Japanese comic) series, such as Hello Kitty and Sailor Moon Crystal.
Next week, it will launch Skechers X One Punch Man, a collaboration with the Japanese superhero franchise. The collection features four styles of sneakers for both men and women, each inspired by an iconic character from the series, as well as four hoodie designs and one pullover.
Eileen Tan, senior regional marketing manager at Skechers SEA, said it’s not just young people that are buying up these collections.
“It’s quite interesting that the consumers are not just young [people] some are in their 30s [and] 40s. These are their childhood cartoons, so we do see this group of customers who buy the shoes as well,” Tan explained.
A recent collaboration between Skechers and LA-based label Chinatown Market went a step further on unique style, allowing consumers to be part of the design process.
The collection features unisex apparel and a specially designed chunky sneaker, for both men and women, that can be personalised according to the consumer’s preferences.
They are given a set of markers to add their favourite colours, lines and patterns for a truly personalised product.
“This is new to us and also to our customers because they’re able to get a free pack of markers and create their own style on the shoes and we have a range of apparel for them to design as well,” Lee said.
To launch the product, Skechers held an activation in Singapore to showcase the artistic possibilities with this range.
“We engaged six local artists to come up with their own design. Some choose Chinese characters, some used flowers. It was all based on their inspiration,” Lee said.
The collection received a positive response from the brand’s influencer network and has just been released to the public.
Influencers are an important part of the marketing strategy at Skechers, with its network of KOLs including an array of different personalities such as cosplayers and over 50s.
The brand often holds livestreaming events with influencers to create some hype around the launch of a new product, Tan explained.
“We showcase the products, we tell them about the different colours, the product attributes, apparel. They [influencers] try on different outfits and show [viewers] how to style it, we gave them certain themes such as, what to wear when meeting a boyfriend’s parents,” she said.
After watching the livestream, consumers receive a promo code that they can use to purchase products.
Health and wellness
The area of health and wellness is a key focus for Skechers, which is evident in the vast selection of activewear products it sells.
“Nowadays keeping and staying healthy is a number one priority for everybody. We have a performance shoe range that caters to beginner runners, elite runners and we also have walking shoes,” Lee said.
“With the current situation, people are still very health conscious so categories like sportswear and activewear will still be very much popular. During this time, the athleisure category will continue to grow steadily.”
Thanks to the popularity of its walking shoes, the brand has built up its own community of walkers through the annual Skechers Friendship Walk. The non-competitive global event is designed to encourage consumers to stay active and keep fit while also bonding with family and friends. As a reward, participants can earn discount vouchers upon both sign-up and completion of the race.
More than 3000 people took part in the 2019 walk in Singapore, and while Covid restrictions prevented another large gathering, the walk was held in a virtual format.
On the ground
Like many retailers, Skechers SEA enjoyed high growth in its e-commerce business during the pandemic, with sales increasing fourfold.
“We started with marketplaces Lazada and Shopee, we launched last year in March/April for Singapore, then in Thailand and Vietnam, we started in July/August,” Lee explained.
But the retailer has been careful not to neglect its store network.
In 2020, the retailer opened a total of 45 new stores and expanded 6 stores across the six SEA markets: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Brunei.
A 10,000-square-foot superstore flagship opened at One Utama in Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia, in November, and an 8,000-square-foot superstore flagship was introduced at Siam Square One in Bangkok.
Following the opening of a new flagship at Wisma Atria in Singapore last month, Skechers will also be welcoming two more stores in the heart of Orchard Road in Q1 2021.
“E-commerce is a must have these days, but our bricks-and-mortar stores will also be around because we believe consumers appreciate the touch and feel, and communication with frontline staff,” Lee said.