MUSTANG was founded in Künzelsau in 1932 and is therefore a traditional German jeans label which modernised its offline and online presence in 2018. How did they manage that? We met Felicitas Gutjahr, Junior PR/Marketing Manager and Fabian Koßmehl, Director E-Commerce, to discuss the digital strategy, new store concept and connection between online and offline business.
Tradebyte: If you hear MUSTANG, you think horses, a lot of horsepower as well as cool jeans. What would you like to represent with your brand?
Felicitas: MUSTANG stands for freedom, bravery, honesty and performance; a mixture of all these attributes. Denim is our focus, but we’ve also created a great lifestyle selection of outerwear and underwear, dresses, coats, etc. Additionally, we understand ourselves as a heritage start-up as MUSTANG was founded in 1932 as the first jeans brand in Europe – but we are also a very lively, innovative company which reacts very quickly to changes in the market.
»We clearly see ourselves as a denim specialist for experienced jeans buyers who – just like us – don’t want to compromise in terms of quality and fit.«
Tradebyte: With your new digital strategy you give customers even more opportunities to identify with the MUSTANG brand. What features do you attach special importance to?
Fabian: For us, it was especially important that we give our customers a better feel for the brand and that we can bring them deeper into the shopping experience. We don’t just want to offer a shop for making purchases, but also a brand experience platform. Therefore, we’ve integrated, for example, social media to give our customers an idea of how our products look in real life. Additionally, we offer content in different areas of our shop which informs customers about the background of our products in order to manage the change from shopping to the process of informing. We have also created a strong fit guide, meaning a landing page for each of our styles with information about fit and size as well as styling tips. With our new strategy, we’ve integrated the customer into the shopping process and have also significantly raised the level of information.
Tradebyte: That affects the pure online journey of customers. How do you want to increase this connection between online and offline business in the future?
Fabian: We firmly intertwine our offline business with the online business. For example, we offer free delivery of online orders to our stores. In return, articles which aren’t available in a store anymore are sent home to the customer via express delivery. Furthermore, in the changing rooms of some of our stores we have digital mirrors which can be operated via a touch interface. Via these mirrors, the customer can, for example, have sales assistants bring them another size, look through the selection in the store or look at outfit combinations for articles which are in the changing room. Of course, we want to make use of the opportunities we already have online in the stores as well, e.g. the endless aisle, camera technology or voice application.
Tradebyte: What’s special about your collaboration with Tradebyte?
Fabian: We have consciously decided to collaborate with Tradebyte and, once again, it was superb. For us, Tradebyte is the centrepiece of our digital strategy, as we don’t just connect to marketplaces via Tradebyte but also connect our own online shop.
»Tradebyte is the centre through which we manage all data for all digital sales channels.«
Tradebyte: Why don’t you sell exclusively via your own online shop instead of also via different platforms and marketplaces?
Fabian: The process of exchanging small retailers with big department stores with a wide selection, which started offline many years ago, is also taking place online. Our own online shop has the advantage that it offers a lot of information, selection and consultation. But there are also customers who prefer a big brand selection like on Zalando or Amazon and so on. And of course we want to be where our customers are. Offline, we’re also not just present in our own stores, but offer a part of our selection as an external brand at C&A.
»Online, we also want to be everywhere where people want to find us.«
Tradebyte: Your shop relaunch and the cooperation with C&A were surely two highlights in 2018. What other fond memories do you have from this year?
Felicitas: 2018 was a big year for MUSTANG. We have developed very well in very different sales channels and areas. Apart from the shop relaunch, we have also implemented our new “The House of MUSTANG” store concept at a few locations and want to build on that nationally and internationally in the future. Additionally, we’ve reworked and developed the core of our brand and brought the horse as brand icon back into the focus. During the brand relaunch, we created the “MUSTANG mansion” and, at the beginning of the year, we produced great picture and video material for the current autumn/winter campaign in Los Angeles. With the new concept we have again strengthened the awareness of our brand. We’re also reworking and optimising our product all the time. It’s been a successful year for MUSTANG.
Tradebyte: And how is MUSTANG going to develop in 2019?
Felicitas: In 2019, we’ll continue to progress with MUSTANG. We’ll steadily implement more stores with the new concept and develop new POS. Furthermore, there will be a big internal transformation. At the end of next year or the beginning of 2020, we’ll move our headquarters from Künzelsau to Schwäbisch-Hall.
Fabian: We’ll also develop strongly online in the next year. We’ll continue to internationalise the online shop and export to more marketplaces. So the collaboration with Tradebyte is definitely not at an end yet.