"There is one Monsoon ladies store which is located in Sliema. That was a strategic decision taken many years ago (we have been operating in Malta since 1998) because although there was demand in the market for more stores, Monsoon clothing often focuses on prints, colour, embroidery etc. which can make it quite distinct and special. Malta is small and we felt it was important that we didn’t flood the market with too much of the same item, so we were happy to only stock a few of each piece to avoid people turning up at a wedding/event in the same outfit. This was greatly appreciated by our customers.
- Over the years, Sliema has suffered as a location because of building and development, traffic, lack of parking etc.
- The online phenomenon was born, and some people preferred to avoid the hassle of going out when they could buy their clothes from the comfort of their home
- Rental and store running costs have continued to rise
- Covid came along and changed everything, people avoided going out to shop, and events and parties all but stopped altogether.
- Whilst all retail stores were closed last March and April, we took the opportunity once we had the manpower and time on our hands to launch our online platforms for all three brands, Monsoon Ladies, Monsoon Children and Accessorize, and this was very successful.
- We realised that Monsoon Ladies as a product lends itself excellently to the online platform, because each item is viewed individually on screen and the particular qualities of the garment do not get lost in a rail of other items. We had always been told by customers that they found it difficult to ‘see’ items in the store, however, whenever we had a fashion show and the clothes were showcased on a catwalk, we always had a fantastic response. Online has a similar effect.
When weighing up all the factors, it made much more commercial sense to move from bricks and mortar to online and adapt to an ever-changing world by focussing more on a personalised shopping experience. Costs are saved and the customer ends up getting a better, more convenient service. We will also be introducing personal shopping for people who prefer to physically see and try on items before purchasing. This will be by appointment in our new mock shop within our warehouse space. There, customers can view the collection in peace and quiet, and get the customer service they have become accustomed to in a shop environment. We are also exploring personal shopping where we would deliver hand-picked items to customers to try on in the comfort of their own homes.
We have not discounted the possibility of opening another bricks and mortar store in the future, perhaps in a different location altogether. But we are taking this time to monitor the challenges the retail world is facing, the needs and preferences of our customers and the best way forward. "
Jackie & Theresa, Directors at Monsoon
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