Accent Group launches online marketplace Crèmm

Footwear retailer Accent Group is bringing together all of its products under a single online banner – a new, destination footwear marketplace called Crèmm.

The marketplace, which launches on Wednesday, offers products from all of Accent Group’s vertical brands, such as Skechers and Merrell, as well as third-party brands sold through its Platypus, Hype DC and The Athlete’s Foot retail chains. 

It also offers international brands not currently available through Accent Group’s stores, and in the future, the company plans to bring new-to-Australia brands onto the platform that are seeking to establish a foothold in the local online market. 

Accent Group chief executive Daniel Agostinelli said the marketplace would benefit the group’s overall brand and create a space where local and international footwear brands can co-exist. 

“Accent Group has significant knowledge of the target consumer and existing retail infrastructure to help rapidly grow and elevate new technologies, which will be beneficial to the growth of Crèmm,” Agostinelli said. 

The company reported $935.3 million in total sales in FY19, and a 22 per cent year on year increase in net profit after tax to $53.9 million.

Crèmm launches with over 50 brands and around 12,000 SKUs, though chief digital officer Mark Teperson told Inside Retail Weekly these figures are likely to double in the first year. 

“Marketplaces are traditionally about price. We believe there’s an opportunity to disrupt the market by providing customers with a different approach, giving them access to the greatest brands in a curated marketplace with a heavy focus on content and an editorial lead,” Teperson said. 

“Accent Group represents about 20-25 per cent of the total footwear sales in Australia, and looking at our internal data we knew we had a very low instance of internal customers buying across our sites online, which suggests that we have an opportunity for us to cross-pollinate and take a greater share of wallet in the category.”

Following Australia, Crèmm will likely launch in New Zealand, Teperson said, where Accent Group already has a strong e-commerce following. 

Accent Group last week acquired women’s athleisure brand Stylerunner, vaulting the group into its first non-footwear-based category – though of a similar scope to the footwear market it operates within. 

“The footwear market in Australia is roughly $4-5 billion in total, and the women’s athleisure market is about the same size,” Teperson said. 

“So, we’ve just entered another $4-5 billion market, which is a terrific opportunity for us.”

And while Stylerunner will potentially see bricks-and-mortar stores launching as a result of the acquisition, Teperson is still assessing if it makes sense on Crèmm.

“We’re really excited to get into the space, but before we make any long-term decisions on that we’ll certainly take our time to assess it,” Teperson said. 

Sneaker culture finds its footing

Globally, sneakers are a growing sub-section of the footwear market, worth an estimated US$58 billion ($86.2 billion) in 2018 according to industry intelligence company ReportBuyer. The sector is poised to be worth US$88 billion ($130.8 billion) by 2024. 

With the growing popularity of what was once a niche subculture, more businesses than just Accent Group are eyeing the prize. 

The Iconic launched SneakerHub earlier this year, bringing together thought-leadership in the sneaker space with the ability to market and sell the sneakers on its platform. 

“The rise of sneaker culture has accelerated releases from the biggest and best brands, while giving niche brands visibility and opportunity to reach cult status,” The Iconic chief marketing officer Alexander Meyer said. 

“As a homegrown retail player, we have the advantage of truly understanding our customers to ensure we deliver them the best and most exclusive styles from our local and international brands.”

However, the sneaker customer is discerning and immersed in the culture enough to know a bad deal when they see it, according to Sneaker Freaker editor Simon Wood.

“A lot of kids are pretty sharp. You can’t sell them something where the message is off,” Wood previously told Inside Retail Weekly.

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