Lacoste eyes youth in online push next year

Lacoste eyes youth in online push next year

French company seeks stronger presence here

Lacoste opened this pop-up store at CentralWorld last week.
Lacoste opened this pop-up store at CentralWorld last week.

Lacoste, the French premium casual apparel company, plans to start its online business in Thailand next year, as it sees a lot of potential in the youth market.

Jean-Louis Delamarre, Lacoste's chief executive for Asia-Pacific and global travel retail, said the Lacoste brand has developed very strong presence in Thailand in the last four decades. The company plans to expand its business via e-commerce next year through its local distributor ICC International.

"E-commerce will enable access to younger people, who are target customers for Lacoste clothes," he said during his Bangkok visit last week.

To reach young customers, ICC will open Lacoste pop-up stores and launch marketing events in major cities such as Chiang Mai and Nakhon Ratchasima.

"Consumer loyalty is our priority," Mr Delamarre said, adding that Lacoste prioritises building new customers, developing products and innovating design.

Lacoste does not identify its core customers by age or gender, but instead tries to create a sense of shared brand value.

"We have innovative shapes and designs as well as a unique brand logo, so customers can wear Lacoste clothes to work and be also comfortable over the weekend," he said.

Delamarre: Customer loyalty is priority

Lacoste has many categories of apparel, leather goods, footwear, perfume, eyewear and watches.

Apart from pop-up stores and marketing events, ICC plans to open a modern Lacoste shop at Terminal 21 shopping complex by the middle of this year and renovate major shops in Bangkok and major cities.

Mr Delamarre said Lacoste's business in Asia-Pacific this year is stronger than last year when it had high single-digit growth.

"Asia-Pacific is a big market and last year was a solid year for us. We have very high growth especially in Thailand, the Philippines and Australia," he said.

Last year, Thailand was one of the fastest growing markets for Lacoste. Thailand and the Philippines ranked in the brand's top-15 countries globally.

Sales from Asia contributes to a quarter of global sales for Lacoste.

"Thailand and Philippine have potential growth. Thailand has a strong market and strong distributors. We also have products that suit the Thai climate such as polo shirts, T-shirt and short-sleeve shirts. Leisure clothing has become popular and we believe that Thai people are looking for comfort with elegance," he added.

This year, Mr Delamarre said Lacoste put a lot of energy into its online channel in Asia-Pacific.

The French clothing company wants the consumer experience to be seamless when purchasing products both online and offline.

"Lacoste wants to maintain itself as a premium lifestyle brand. Fast-moving brands are available in the market, we see it as a positive challenge that we have competitors and it's important for us to make sure we maintain our consumers' unique experience and deliver products that meet their expectations."

Lacoste company was established 85 years ago. The company relies on its sport-inspired heritage and French know-how to keep on improving customer experience.

To understand consumers, Mr Delamarre said he went to markets in many countries and spent time to see consumers and observe what they bought and how they used the products. He also followed them to shopping malls to observe their shopping behaviour.

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