It’s proving to be a pretty good year for British retailer Ted Baker. The brand has just announced a 14% increase in half-year revenues, as well as an impressive 43.8% rise in ecommerce sales.

It’s not just the UK that’s been loving Ted Baker either. Sales in the US increased 18%, while sales in Asia rose nearly 30%.

So, what’s behind Ted Baker’s recent success? Here’s a few reasons why I think it’s succeeding in today’s increasingly competitive fashion retail market, and what we can learn from its example.

Distinct brand DNA

Ted Baker sets itself apart from other fashion retailers with a distinct brand identity. This is characterised by ‘Ted’ himself, who is a personification of the brand’s quirky and decidedly British image. 

The brand’s founder, Ray Kelvin, has previously been described as the ‘closest man to Ted’. He says that it is “an individual and quirky viewpoint on fashion which keeps the customer coming back for more”, and it is the brand’s distinctly British sense of humour that is a big part of this.

Ted Baker now has 36 standalone shops, 237 concessions and 14 outlets in countries across the word, capitalising on its British heritage to appeal to international consumers. Alongside this, it also focuses on a dedication to quality (in terms of both its product and customer service) and a real attention to detail. 

The latter is particularly evident in its retail stores, with each one being entirely unique in design. Its stores also serve as an opportunity for the retailer to reflect its whimsical personality. Examples of this include its Bluewater store including its own fictional village called ‘Tedbury’, as well as its London-themed Tokyo outlet, which is complete with a booth made to look like a black cab.

Altogether, it has managed to create a brand identity that is both fun and highly recognisable to consumers across the globe.

Experiential and innovative retail

Ted Baker was one of the first fashion brands to launch an experiential retail concept. Its line of Grooming Rooms, which first opened in 2010, offers customers the opportunity to enjoy a traditional Turkish barber experience (which ‘Ted’ apparently discovered during his travels).

It offers haircuts and shaves and even brow threading – drawing in customers who are fans of Ted Baker’s dapper and perfectly groomed image. Some Grooming Rooms are standalone, yet others are placed inside larger Ted stores to entice shoppers to linger.

On the back of this demand for the brand, Ted Baker has also expanded its product offering, stretching to bath and body products, spectacles, and even a range of bicycles in collaboration with bike retailer Quella.

This has meant that Ted Baker is transforming into much more of a lifestyle brand than just a straight-forward fashion brand – which is a clear advantage over competitors like Paul Smith and French Connection. 

Elsewhere, Ted Baker uses digital technology to dazzle in-store customers. For its Spring 2017 campaign, it installed an interactive window displays in its flagship Regent Street store.

The display, which involved passers by placing their hands on the window and peering through, was effective for piquing consumer interest. It also gave them the chance to enter a prize draw if they got involved, which was a great way to forge long-term connections.

Strong logistics

While the aforementioned activity is bound to delight customers, Ted Baker’s recent success can also be put down to heavy investment in infrastructure. It has recently opened a brand new distribution centre based in Derby, which acts as the main base for all of Ted Baker’s retail, wholesale and ecommerce operations across Europe. It also allows Ted Baker to fulfil the increasingly demanding expectations of consumers, such as next-day delivery and click and collect

This approach has also led to steady but strong international expansion, with the brand leading with concessions in markets like Vietnam and South Africa to build desire for its product – and building further standalone stores in China and the US.

With a 43.8% rise in ecommerce sales, its investment has clearly paid off.

Non-traditional marketing

Ted Baker has famously avoided traditional advertising, mainly focusing on digital and social channels. Video has been a huge area of focus, with the brand clearly paying attention to the prediction that 79% of all internet traffic will come from video by 2020.

In 2016, it released a shoppable video directed by Guy Ritchie – essentially a mini-film that allowed viewers to click and save items featured. For its follow-up campaign, ‘Keeping Up with the Bakers’, the brand launched a 360-degree shoppable film, allowing users to become further immersed in the world of Ted. 

This demonstrates how eager the brand is to innovate, with each campaign introducing new elements to surprise and delight consumers. According to research, 360-degree video increases engagement (and therefore sales) as people are said to feel greater affinity with things that they can control. Combining this with shoppable content means that consumers are even more likely to take action. 

Meanwhile, Ted Baker uses social to further increase engagement around its campaigns, particularly focusing on Instagram for its large reach.

It released its ‘Keeping Up with the Bakers’ sitcom on Instagram Stories, building anticipation in the run up to each episode, and giving viewers incentives to view each episode with daily challenges.

Key takeaways

So, what can we learn from Ted Baker’s approach to retail? Here are few key points to remember.

1. Define your DNA. Ted Baker has created a memorable brand image based on its quirky and British sense of humour. This allows the brand to differentiate itself from the competition, and engage consumers on a deeper level.

2. Constantly innovate. With a strong brand (and product) as its backbone, Ted Baker is unafraid to improve and innovate in other areas such as in-store technology. Again, this makes it stand out in a competitive retail market, as well as delivering a memorable customer experience.

3. Focus on logistics. While engaging customers is important, Ted Baker ensures it is able to deliver top quality service with heavy focus and investment on logistics. Factors like fast delivery and easy returns, as well as large and new amount of products helps to satisfy customer demand.

4. Refresh your content. Lastly, Ted Baker shows how an innovative and creative approach to marketing can pay off. With a focus on video – experimenting with 360 and shoppable content – it constantly surprises and delights consumers, helping to increase long-term loyalty to the brand.

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Nikki Gilliland

Published 18 October, 2017 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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