Singer: a tailor-made PrestaShop store
Singer is an iconic brand with a global reputation. It has helped seamstresses express their creativity for more than 170 years. In recent years, there has been a revival of interest in sewing with a clientele in search of DIY projects, facilitated by the Internet and social media. In 2023, in response to a strong growth in online purchases, the company enlisted the WEEBY agency to help open their first merchant site, which enriched an already well-established distribution model.
An unusual growth
For 10 years, Philippe Leruth and his teams have been working to modernize the brand to surf the creative hobbies and DIY (Do-It-Yourself) market driven by the younger generations. This winning strategy enabled a return to growth that was further accelerated by two unprecedented events.
The first was the reality TV program "Hand-Sewn" hosted by Cristina Cordula. For three seasons, from 2014 to 2017, this amazing media booster generated a 20% increase in turnover.
The second impulse was the health crisis and its consequences: the constraints of confinement, mandatory masks, and the closure of stores proved to be very positive for the brand. Luckily, Singer points of sale were among the first to reopen to provide for a lack of masks. But even more, the obligation to stay at home fueled a return to manual activities. As a result, sewing machine stocks were exhausted in 45 days!
"Confinement gave our buyers time to complete the learning process of how to use a sewing machine, facilitated by the many tutorials available online." Philippe Leruth, Singer CEO (France)
Highly structured distribution
Singer sewing machines' marketing is organized by quartile. The entry-level products, whose public selling price is between €129 and €250, are intended for large retailers (supermarkets, specialized superstores) and marketplaces (Amazon, Cdiscount). They mainly target first-time buyers and represent 70% of volume.
The Specialists range includes high-end products, with prices ranging from €500 to €1,000, that are reserved for selective distribution: specialized sewing stores that can offer demonstrations and follow-up (service after the sale). The Specialists line is also present on the margins of major fabric and haberdashery brands such as Mondial Tissus or Self Tissus. The brand has 250 points of sale in France, including five brand stores and around a hundred exclusive resellers.
Capturing new purchasing behaviors
To further expand its distribution, which until then only had a showcase site, Singer decided to open an ecommerce platform with all of its product lines in late 2022. This decision was long postponed because of its network of exclusive dealers, but proved necessary with the evolution of purchasing behaviors since the health crisis.
"Given the demand during the health crisis and the increase in online shoppers, we decided to develop our own ecommerce site to capture customers who are looking for our products, and in particular, the Specialists range. " Philippe Leruth, Singer CEO
To facilitate the acceptance of the new site in their network, Singer set up an attractive commission system that benefits stores when a sale is made in their sector. For entry-level products, their price positioning respects those practiced by distributors and marketplaces in order to avoid competing with them.
"This launch represents a major challenge for Singer. It's their first ecommerce site. The UX and UI must strive to uphold the values of a brand that has a strong reputation. Julie Maurissens, co-founder and project director of the WEEBY agency
Very encouraging first sales
Within a few weeks, the site had already exceeded expectations. The first sales mainly occurred in the 2nd and 3rd quartiles, with products between €500 and €1,000, sometimes even more. This success was attainable because their base of existing customers made upgrades easier. This base has existed for a long time and was mainly built through an extended warranty offer, enriched by promotional actions (partnerships with well-regarded brands, contests, etc.).
"We chose PrestaShop over other solutions because it seemed to be the best-suited to our needs. " Philippe Leruth, Singer CEO
By choosing PrestaShop, Singer opted for a French solution, open source and without subscription, unlike its competitors. A platform that facilitates connections to the ERP used by the company to improve daily management, Odoo, and to the CRM tool, Sendinblue (Brevo).
For the WEEBY agency that assists Singer in this digital project, PrestaShop is the solution that makes it possible to evolve with the brand and support its growth through these varied modules.
"Among the must-haves, we've chosen the Store locator to pinpoint the stores, and Mega Menu and Elementor so that the Singer teams can manage the menu and content in the templates we stylized, that can be reused to create new pages. " Julie Maurissens, co-founder and project director of the WEEBY agency.
The agency also set up an installment payment plan perfectly adapted to the Singer catalog.
Haute couture educational content
Thanks to the content personalization features, Singer can offer a site rich in advice, tutorials, photos, DIY videos, etc., offering all the essentials to support online sales and facilitate the use of a sewing machine.
"The site aims to be functional, simple to use, ergonomic and intuitive, with as few clicks as possible to access a product page, a technical manual or a demonstration. Julie Maurissens, co-founder and project director of the WEEBY agency
Filters allow sorting by need, level and budget. The online help FAQ was built from the customer experience in physical stores. Singer already has long-term plans to expand its site with a chat service to advise and reassure its customers directly.
A seamless operation
While Philippe Leruth has great ambitions for this new retail site, with objectives representing 10% of turnover for the Specialist range, he remains convinced of the importance of a network of specialized stores as real showrooms that contribute to the brand's growth and credibility.
"Physical stores are major players. If you want to facilitate the use of a sewing machine, the consumer must have access to demonstrations, personalized advice and service after the sale. " Philippe Leruth, Singer CEO
This distribution, now omnichannel, is supported by a strong presence on social media: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and a YouTube channel that regroup all the demonstration videos and tutorials. The brand also collaborates with bloggers and influencers attracted by its established reputation, seamstresses with a following of 1,000 to 30,000 subscribers who want to show off their achievements on a Singer machine.
A complete system that will have to prove its worth in 2023 before the launch of acquisition campaigns next year.
"2023 is a year of experimentation. 2024 will be the year of acceleration! " Philippe Leruth, Singer CEO
Thanks to Philippe Leruth, Singer CEO (France), Émilie Godlewski, Singer marketing & communications manager, Julie Maurissens, co-founder and project director of the WEEBY agency and Lola Ruiz, ecommerce project manager.