Exclusive interview with Denim Dream: a leading fashion brand in the Baltics with a team of 400 fashionistas and 130 physical stores

The team at Helumium is curious by nature and therefore we contacted several brands that have a decent presence in the e-commerce industry. Why? As we are creating the world’s first and free e-commerce conversion kit – it is our desire to know what challenges real e-commerce brands face these days, especially now in the middle of the crisis. The knowledge and extra pair of eyes help us to make better decisions and we hope it will share some light on your thoughts as well. 

By the way, if you haven’t already watched our free webinar on Coronavirus, recession, and e-commerce (How to be wise and profitable?). You can easily do it from this link.

Meet our first interviewee Mari-Liis Medar 

Mari-Liis is a super friendly and extremely smart marketing manager/stylist from denimdream.com. Denim Dream is a leading fashion brand in the Baltics with a team of 400 fashionistas, 130 physical stores, and 100+ millions of euros of revenue. Having been in business for 25+ years the giant has many stories to tell. 

Buckle up and let’s go! 

Interviewers: Paul and Lauri from Helumium.

Questions and answers 

1) Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the business?

I’m Mari-Liis from Denim Dream and I have the privilege to wear many hats, especially these days. My main strengths lie in marketing and creating unique styles and outlooks – and I really love the management side of the work because I get to work with so many amazing people from inside and outside of the business. 

And the business… 

The Denim Dream retail chain is well-known in all Baltic States for its wide brand selection, world-famous brands, superior customer experience, and as well as more classic fashion brands like Guess, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Pepe Jeans, Tom Tailor and many more.

Owning more than 120 stores in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Our goal is to offer our lovely clients unforgettable fashion experiences and excellent personal service, we want to make the shopping process as easy and convenient as possible – online and offline.

Denim Dream is a family business that started with great dreams and willpower. The founder Mr. Heinar Põldma always says, you got to work on your dreams, only then they will come true. 

You can clearly see it working in reality 🙂  

2) What are your main struggles now and do they differ from the times before COVID?

The closure of shops has been the most impactful, as the COVID came so suddenly and we are facing a situation that has never happened before. 

Lithuanian stores went to quarantine before Estonian, only a few ones were left open in Latvia. Thinking about revenues before and now then it is not a secret that they are extremely different. 

As offline sales dropped like a comet from the sky, the whole company’s focus has gone to the e-shop and honestly said, before the crisis, it seemed like it didn’t need any big changes but the new situation forced it to improve and it is now the main focus. 

So now our challenge is to organize the collaboration rhythm and to maintain the ability to send out packages from each shop.  The challenges of the accelerating delivery demands and organizing a large workforce are time and energy-consuming. 

Our collective thinks the crisis will affect the company for many years to come, as the effects are long-lasting. You need to look at the results every day to analyze how the goods move, where to add focus and where to take it off. 

You have to adapt every single day, there seems to be no other way. 

Oh and not to mention the fact that we have to redo all the marketing planning and strategies we did for 2020-2021, it’s pretty much scrapped and needs an immediate revamp. 

3) How are you currently handling the e-store UX/CRO growth optimization process?

Innovation – we are lucky to say that our new e-shop development manager joined our team, she now deals with creative and IT people and handles all the communication. It’s a real bliss because while we understand that UX and industry standards are very important, we also acknowledge that innovation is fairly as important. We want to be the best at pleasing our customers.

Data – we just made a survey amongst our clients and had nearly 2000 responses which gave us enormous insight. We are also looking into the analytics a lot and try to make informed decisions.  

Also, I have to say we are excited about Helumium, this gives us the opportunity to put our findings into use in an optimal way as it seems 🙂 

4) How are you measuring the success of your e-store improvements?

Customer feedback is our number one priority. Who cares what we think after all our clients have the power as they are doing the majority of shopping, not us. We also measure the number of ideas implemented and obviously the results in numbers. UX and CX are very important to us. 

5) How many designs or improvements have you made in the last years?

I think the main focus went on increasing the scope before the crisis and as we see the e-commerce side skyrocketing now, I can say that there are a lot of things planned for 2020. Big plans 🙂

6) Can you tell us a little bit about your biggest wins and failures?

Wins – I think it is creating the mobile APP. We can be really proud of it. At the same time, we can now see the missed opportunities and the fact that we made it and did not focus on development as much as some other sides of business. We are now rethinking it of course. 

Also the logistical system is very good in Denim Dream because 10 years has taught us many things.  In other words, our e-shop goods are moving very very efficiently. 

As you know, Denim Dream has also won several awards for our e-shop!

Fails: no big ones I recall, so far it’s been pretty smooth. Perhaps one side I see that should be improved is the IT department – if the process could be faster, we could be moving onwards much faster. But we’re on it! 😉

7) What’s your process of working with designers and developers?

I think it is quite standard. We have a collaboration platform, we prioritize tasks and have weekly IT meetings. And we keep our hand on the pulse on the go, to make sure we are on the right track. 

8) What do you think about the importance of good user experience and a solid value proposition?

My biggest nightmare is that the clients who experience something negative on the site will never come back 🙂 As the competition is even denser now, it is even more important than ever.

9) What keeps you going and inspires you the most?

Professionally – our amazing team, the positive feedback on our work gives a nice energy boost and motivates us to push the boundaries further. 

10) What does Helumium mean for you, how do you understand it?

It seemed like a handy tool for various e-commerce stores who are just starting out or are already in the business – and who want to get even better in UX and conversion rates. It seems like a playbook on how to strategically move forward and grow. 

Endnotes

As you can see we live in interesting times and we all face challenges. This was the first interview and we can give a hint that there will be more and soon 🙂 

We hope you enjoyed the interview and look forward to your feedback. If you are running an e-commerce business or not, don’t hesitate to reach out and have a chat with us. 

Thank you for your time and don’t forget to breathe some Helumium and reach new heights

And thank you Mari-Liis for all the time and insights, pure pleasure! 

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