Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 3.10.09 PMSonia Rykiel plans to expand its footprint with additional stores and an e-commerce relaunch in spring of 2014. The group (Sonia Rykiel, Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, and Rykiel Enfant) shut down its e-commerce sites when Fung Brands acquired 80% in 2011. The new stores will be in Paris, New York, Hong Kong and other locations in Europe and Asia.

Sonia Rykiel has been working on revitalizing its brand and increasing profits. Its sales have declined and customers have turned over since March. Its simultaneous brick-and-mortar and e-commerce expansion is smart, as our research reports have repeatedly proven they are most effective when joining forces. For example, e-commerce will account for only 8.6% of all sales by 2016, but will influence almost half.

Sonia Rykiel’s e-commerce business will face competition from online retailers. Our Digital IQ Index: Fashion report reveals that while most consumers prefer to buy directly from the brand in-store and online, the divide is closer to even online. Digital retailers such as Amazon-owned Shopbop carry Sonia Rykiel, and the brand’s e-commerce site must woo their customers. One way to gain an edge is to capitalize on its retail locations and offer in-store pickup, a service only 6% of fashion brands offer. Free return shipping could be another effective strategy, since 56% of shoppers said it was a factor in determining where to buy.

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