“From product to people, from processes and values, we reset our business to make Splash future-fit. We introduced new ideas and technologies to ensure long-term and sustainable growth for Splash,” says Raza Beig, CEO – Splash and director – Landmark Group.
With massive changes in the retail landscape, brands have had to rapidly transform amid dramatic shifts, having been confronted with a transformed and conscious consumer. This transformed consumer is demanding convenience, experience and value. Like several businesses around the world, home-grown fashion brand Splash – part of the Landmark Group – undertook various meaningful initiatives across its value chain to be future-fit and responsible.
We cared for our people
As the pandemic broke out, Splash’s first priority was to ensure the safety of people – colleagues, customers and suppliers. “We have always been careful in our approach towards safety, by ensuring that our products and practices are safe. But the pandemic brought about a 360-degree change in the way we started caring for our people, in the way our colleagues helped each other,” Beig points out.
A lot of efforts were also placed on upskilling people too. “And they supported us in equal measure to navigate through these challenging times. We decided to share the pain by not reducing salaries and by being more patient and understanding,” he adds.
We stood by our suppliers
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the region ahead of Ramadan, which is one of the peak seasons for retail. Fashion retailers, like Splash, usually plan special collections around this time. As such, orders are paced ahead of time. “We had to defer some orders, but we didn’t cancel anything. Instead, we worked very hard to smartly plan and manage the inventory for the next six months and beyond. All the while, we have ensured that our suppliers don’t face the heat. Further, the Jagtiani Foundation supported the community and our suppliers impacted by COVID-19 across the Middle East, India and Bangladesh,” Beig states.
We engaged with our customers
Amid the COVID-19 related lockdown in the region, Splash increased its efforts to engage with customers, with an accelerated omnichannel approach. “We looked into every detail from logistics and last-mile to product availability and payments to offer our customers the ease of shopping on Splash,” Beig emphasises. The Splash online platform was rolled out three years ago, which was revamped last year. This proved to be a massive advantage, as the brand was well-prepared to react to a dramatic increase in its online business.
As the pandemic broke out in March, Splash’s online business grew two-three times. “Our year-on-year online business volume grew dramatically. Our conversation rate and engagement online have been significant,” Beig shares. “As people stayed at home, they were looking for essentials – like loungewear, lingerie and basic fashion items – and we delivered to their doorsteps.”
We strengthened our sustainability commitment
Another key focus area for Splash is its sustainable strategy. In this context, Beig says, “We reviewed the entire product lifecycle – from sourcing to stocking to selling. The end-to-end journey of the products, from quality to pricing and everything in between, was thoroughly reviewed. We had a lot of dialogues with our suppliers, we evaluated our factories and strengthened our commitment to sustainability.”
As part of its ‘Love the Planet’ commitment, currently, almost 92% of Splash’s product portfolio is not only sustainable but sourced and produced in factories following ethical practices. “We are putting in concerted efforts to make the remaining 8% sustainable too within the next few seasons, by changing certain sources, processes and raw materials,” he affirms. “A big step in that direction is trialing the use of natural dyes, which we have started. Besides adding value to the bottomline and topline that’s crucial for any business, I feel incredibly proud of our sustainability journey over the last decade.”
We’re preparing for recovery
McKinsey & Company estimates that revenues for the global fashion industry might contract by 27-30% in 2020 year-on-year and regain positive growth of 2-4% in 2021.
As such, the fashion industry has been challenged for the past couple of years; the pandemic added to the woes. Companies and brands, like Splash, which have switched on the “reset” button are, thus, building resilience for the future.
“The fashion industry has been facing a turmoil,” Beig agrees, “and often brands didn’t have enough time to reset while firefighting. Over the past few months, we have had the time to deep dive, take a serious look at our business and reset a few things to make Splash future-fit. As a result, our people are far more confident about the future of the brand.”
Splash is also re-evaluating its expansion plans. “We have carefully looked at our store portfolio across geographies to ascertain performance against cost, placing 18-19 stores under review. While we will expand our store network, it will be far more calculated and possibly slower as e-commerce continues to grow. COVID-19 has created several opportunities amid various challenges that we are confronting, but we are confident of emerging stronger, more efficient and more responsible,” Beig concludes.
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