C&A: Fashion retail ecommerce at its finest
Propelled by the change of consumer’s profile and shopping habits, C&A commenced its digital journey to an ever-growing ecommerce operation in 2014. Little by little and with the right tools, the retail giant conquered the digital arena, maximizing its productivity, generating growth, and perfecting its ecommerce.
After only one year of operating on the VTEX Commerce Platform, C&A Brazil sold BRL 50 million through the platform, proving that the physical-to-digital changeover was the right way to go in the fashion industry.
For me, VTEX differentiates itself on the market through scalability and speed in innovation. Ecommerce has been transforming C&A and boosting its acceleration in the digital market. This allowed us to move forward. The two companies together.Fernando Guglielmetti, Director of Ecommerce at C&A Brazil
Taking a ride on the digital train
C&A is a Belgian-German-Dutch chain of fast-fashion retail clothing stores, running over 280 stores across Brazil since 1976. With stores on five continents, it incorporates other 11 sub-brands and has a wide range of collections dedicated to every phase and mood of life, from baby clothes to swimwear. In Brazil, C&A has become a reference for Brazilian people to find accessible fashion and related categories.
In 2014, the retailer engaged in the ecommerce project from the need to give the fashion business a digital dimension and chose VTEX as a platform provider. C&A has been investing in the growth of its digital presence ever since, with results being collected in all areas of the business:
- The company grew from 100 to 300 sellers from September 2020 to December 2020.
- While many businesses downsized during the pandemic, C&A’s online sales grew by 350% between July and September of 2020.
- Over the six years of operating in ecommerce, C&A has increased its revenue from digital 20 times.
- Today, the app already represents more than 50% of C&A’s digital sales and is the most downloaded fashion app in Brazil.
- Even with the closing of the brick-and-mortar stores in all of Brazil due to the pandemic and lockdown policies that took place, the omnichannel maturity enabled C&A to keep track of all its sales remotely.
Future-proof marketplace capabilities
As the online business kept growing, C&A Brazil was one of the first retailers that successfully incorporated as many as 150.000 SKUs from different sellers into one catalog, pioneering the marketplace wave we’re seeing take shape now. But it wasn’t a simple task: one of the main challenges was handling the inventory for its 10 subsidiary brands, which was easily surpassed with the marketplace solution: it made C&A’s catalog management simpler, easier, and full of new capabilities.
For example, it allowed the company to define rules for categories, brands, and products to automatically correlate SKUs with existing products, keeping an instant track of all the items available.
C&A’s goal was to go beyond its own catalog, sell more than fashion, and expand its offering with new sellers and new categories. Growing from 100 to 300 sellers in just four months has recently resulted in a tremendous increase in product assortment. All thanks to the marketplace solution.
We advanced a lot and managed to get where we wanted. C&A became more valuable and experienced each week. We seek to make an improvement and to deliver improvement to the customer.Fernando Guglielmetti, Director of Ecommerce at C&A Brazil
But it’s not only about becoming a marketplace: VTEX’s ingenious architecture also enabled C&A to pioneer the concept of having different logistics and payment options within the same store. It’s possible to customize the catalog, divide it into clusters, expand by integrating new sellers and distribute products in any channel at no extra cost. C&A began its operation with 150.000 SKUs. Now that there are different accounts with independent configurations, each store is more manageable.
A new ecommerce culture
The decision of C&A to heavily invest in ecommerce and digital transformation is directly connected with the change of customer behavior: shoppers are now more engaged with different social channels and are willing to buy through them. For example, the store is connected with WhatsApp and social networks, letting customers decide from where they will actively shop
But change first comes from within: besides the growing numbers and positive results, this digitalization project has given C&A a knowledge legacy, teaching the ecommerce teams how to work in a more agile way, better focus on customers, and give them the value they deserve. And this can lead to even more innovation and customer-centered projects.
The ecommerce project that C&A took since 2014 to this day, with bumps of many shapes and sizes, has brought high market status and improved customers’ perception of the company as more reliable, delivering more value to the end customer.
And above all, during the pandemic, working from home functioned like a hotspot for VTEX and C&A—it brought everyone together.