Inside Retail: When did The Outnet launch its menswear range?
Emma Mortimer: We hosted a soft launch back in November 2021, starting with a small edit of brands to test our existing customers’ reactions to the new assortment. This also gave us an opportunity to grow our customer base organically and garner relationships with new brand partners. We launched a full site experience in [the Northern Hemisphere] spring this year which replicates our womenswear site. This new experience offers a full inventory of product, an increased number of categories, alongside dedicated editorial and social first content, we have been working with locally based talent to help drive and engage a new customer base.
IR: Where is the menswear range currently available?
EM: We offer our menswear assortment to a global audience, and always ensure what they see is seasonally relevant and curated to the local region. We have also given customers the opportunity to navigate between both assortments on-site, with one basket at the point of purchase, offering the ease of an efficient and smooth checkout experience across both categories.
IR: How many menswear brands do you currently offer? And how does that compare to your womenswear offer?
EM: The soft launch phases saw us test and learn with a small edit of brands; this approach helped us to begin to understand what resonates with our existing customer base. We now offer 100-plus menswear brands and over 350 within our womenswear category.
The Outnet has a dedicated buying team who are working with our existing brand partners and have extended these relationships into menswear, partnering with the likes of Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana, Sandro, Rag & Bone, Acne Studios, Marni and Joseph to name but a few.
It’s been an exciting time as we have been able to grow and diversify our assortment, establishing new menswear relationships with designers including Montblanc, Canali, Dunhill, 1017 ALYX 9SM and Officine Générale.
IR: What were the main reasons for launching a menswear range?
EM: Having successfully offered past-season womenswear over the last decade, we felt we were in a strong position to launch menswear. We knew there was organic demand from both brand partners and customers; therefore, it felt like a natural step-change for the business to make. The menswear ‘past-season’ landscape is still a whitespace, and we felt confident moving into this new category and are excited for the opportunity it brings.
IR: What has the response been like since launch?
EM: Across all regions, including Australia, where we have a high penetration of customers, we’ve seen a positive response, and this continues to grow incrementally. We are starting to see regional nuances come through. Our locally based customer enjoys products with a contemporary aesthetic, which also aligns with our global customer preferences. Categories including jackets, tops, shorts and knitwear are all performing well. Brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Acne Studios, Sandro, Officine Générale and Rag & Bone have all seen good engagement with our Australian customers.
IR: Have you noticed any similarities or differences in the way customers are engaging with the menswear range vs the womenswear range?
EM: We’ve noticed some interesting behavioural differences, particularly when it comes to browsing. The Outnet’s womenswear customer is highly engaged by the ‘just in’ section, browsing designers and enjoying the newness within this space. However, we have seen our menswear customers browsing by category, directly searching for what they need. We’ll continue to monitor these habits as we grow our customer base and evolve our marketing strategies.
IR: What are some of the big trends you see in luxury menswear at the moment?
EM: This is still a very new space for us, we are getting to know our customers and shopping habits. Similarly, to our womenswear customer, we have noticed that our menswear customer enjoys making investment purchases, buying pieces that will remain in their wardrobe for seasons to come. Whilst we do have a strong contemporary customer, we’ve also seen the bounce back of suiting items, customers are experimenting with styles and colour and dressing up again.