Ssense

Part
01
of four
Part
01

SSENSE - Marketing Strategies

While there is no publicly available information to fully answer your question, we have used the available data to pull together key findings: SSENSE typically uses its website, mobile app, social media platforms, and magazine to promote itself. The company has not launched any major marketing campaigns over the past 24 months. Below you will find an outline of our research methodology to better understand why the information you have requested is publicly unavailable, as well as a deep dive into our findings.

Digital

Social Media

Print

  • On October 8, 2019, SSENSE launched its inaugural print publication.
  • It featured three covers (Sean Don, Jerry Lorenzo Manuel, and Kiko Mizuhara), and the first issue was exclusively available to SSENSE community members only.
  • The magazine contained original content and editorial content previously published on the company’s website.

Marketing Decision-Makers

Research Strategy

The information for SSENSE’s marketing campaigns conducted are not available in the public domain. To identify the required information, we first examined content published on SSENSE’s website and social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. It is assumed that these platforms would provide information on past and present marketing campaigns. However, an examination of the platforms mentioned above has only provided general marketing content that are not part of any major, coordinated campaigns and do not feature any fixed tagline or messaging.

Next, we conducted a press search for articles that mentioned SSENSE’s marketing efforts. It is assumed that media articles would mention campaigns launched by the company if available. However, the articles examined have only provided information on the company’s editorial content and SEO strategies for its website and the launch of its first mobile app. None of the articles examined talked about any marketing campaigns launched over the past 24 months and beyond.

Lastly, we examined advertising campaign databases such as Moat, iSpot TV, We Love Ad, and others. It is assumed that these databases would provide information on marketing campaigns launched by SSENSE if available. However, none of the databases have provided any information about the company’s marketing campaigns. Therefore, we have determined that SSENSE has not launched any marketing campaigns to promote itself. The company has only utilized its website, mobile app, social media platforms, and magazine for marketing purposes on a regular basis.
Part
02
of four
Part
02

SSENSE - Organizational Structure

Krishna Nikhil is the Chief Merchandising Officer at SSENSE and oversees the merchandise planning, buying, marketing (except marketing communication), and brand development. The marketing communications team reports directly to the CEO.

General Information

  • Rami Atallah, Bassel Atallah, and Firas Atallah are three brothers who started SSENSE. They serve as C-level executives at the company.
  • The company is an e-commerce fashion retailer that was founded in 2003. In 2018, it also started selling through its own physical stores.
  • Broadly, the organization has eight departments: Operations; Finance; Human Resources; Buying, Merchandising & Brand Development; Marketing Communication; Data Science, Sales, and Performance Marketing; Retail Strategy & Operations; and Technology & Engineering.

Company Structure and Hierarchy

CEO

  • Rami Atallah, Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer
  • Sonya Thomas, Chief of Staff and Senior Director International reports to the CEO.

Operations

  • Bassel Atallah, Co-founder & Chief Operations Officer reports to the CEO.
  • Rajat Mukherjee, Senior Director of Global Supply Chain, reports to the COO.

Finance

  • Firas Atallah, Co-founder & Chief Financial Officer, reports to the CEO.
  • Jack Fraser, Vice President of Finance, reports to the CFO.
  • Alexander Blinnikov, Director of Financial Planning and Analysis reports to the VP of Finance.
  • Gillian Wright, Director of Financial Transformation reports to the VP of Finance.
  • Olivier Méhu, Director of Tax Compliance reports to the VP of Finance.

Human Resources

Buying, Merchandising & Brand Development

  • Krishna Nikhil is the Chief Merchandising Officer at SSENSE. He oversees merchandise planning, buying, and brand development.
  • Julie Deschamps, Senior Director of Merchandise Planning reports directly to the Chief Merchandising Officer.
  • Brigitte Chartrand, Senior Director of Womenswear Buying reports directly to the Chief Merchandising Officer.
  • Federico Barassi, Senior Director of Menswear Buying reports directly to the Chief Merchandising Officer.
  • Christine Sio, Senior Director of eCommerce Studio & Visual Merchandising.
  • Lea Cristante, Director of Brand Development, reports directly to the Chief Merchandising Officer.
  • Afshan Samani, Director of Product Management reports to the Director of Brand Development who oversees product development.
  • The Vice President of Marketing reports directly to the Chief Merchandising Officer. Guillaume Mercier was the VP of Marketing until April 2019. A job vacancy for Vice President, Marketing was posted by the company five months ago; though the vacancy is now closed, no information pertaining to the current VP of Marketing is available in the public domain.
  • The Director of Content reports to the Vice President of Marketing.
  • The Director of Brand Strategy reports to the Vice President of Marketing.
  • The Marketing Director reports to the Vice President of Marketing.
  • Eric Hu, the Director of Design, reports directly to the Vice President of Marketing.

Marketing Communication

Data Science, Sales, and Performance Marketing

  • Max B., VP of Sales & Data Science, reported directly to the CEO in his previous role/title as VP of Performance Marketing. It is assumed that he still does under his new title of VP Sales & Data Science.
  • Paul Boyer, Data Science Director, reports to the VP of Sales & Data Science.
  • The Senior Director of Customer Retention reports to VP of Sales.

Retail Strategy & Operations

  • The Director of Retail Strategy and Operations is responsible for developing a retail strategy for physical stores and reports directly to the CEO. Talia Dorsey resigned from the role in November 2018; the name of the current Director of Retail Strategy and Operations is unavailable in the public domain.
  • Eugene Marshall, Head Of Retail Merchandising, reports to the Director of Retail Strategy and Operations.

Technology & Engineering

  • Jim Texier was the Chief Technology & Product Officer at SSENSE till August 2019. There is no publicly available information indicating whether a new CTO has replaced him.
  • Fabien Loupy, Senior Director of Product Management, Engineering and UX (Website and Mobile) report to the CTO.
  • Isabelle Bénard, Sr. Director of Engineering, Product Management & UX report to the CTO.
  • Ephrem Saour, Sr. Technical Director report to the CTO.
  • Sara Lithwick, Director Product, Engineering and UX reports to the Senior Director of Product Management, Engineering and UX.
  • Rob Batten, Director of IT Operations & Information Security
  • Teddy Wong, Director of Application Development.

How SSENSE Manages its Business

  • The CEO, COO, and the CFO are the three brothers who founded the business, which essentially makes the business a family-run enterprise.
  • Like most companies, it has a human resource, operations, and finance division.
  • The company is focused on "optimizing the customer experience with data". To enable this, it closely co-ordinates sales, customer experience, and data science under one leadership.
  • The technology team works to develop a more personalized shopping experience, pushing the limits of e-commerce.
  • The merchandise, buying, planning, and brand development is coordinated under the Chief Merchandising Officer. The VP of Marketing who manages content, design, marketing, and brand strategy also reports to the Chief Merchandising Officer.
  • The physical store operation of the company is a different division and the head of the division reports directly to the CEO.
  • Marketing Communication, which includes PR, internal communication, and social media is a separate team. The head of the team reports directly to the CEO.

Research Strategy

In order to fulfill this request, we first searched the SSENSE website for the management structure; however, as no information pertaining to the management team was provided, we had to adopt alternate strategies. We then searched the company's Linkedin profile for C-level and senior executives in the organization. Nor every executive's profile is necessarily on Linkedin. Therefore, we performed a more extensive search on sites like Business of Fashion and Glassdoor for the executive titles/ roles in the company and then made a press search for any interviews that may have mentioned the names of executives holding the title. We found limited success with this strategy.

The working relationship between the executives was assumed where they seemed obvious. For example, the CFO reports to the CEO, and the VP of Finance naturally reports to the CFO. For the less obvious instances, we searched for job description profiles that clearly mention the reporting structure.




Part
03
of four
Part
03

SSENSE - Demographics

Eighty percent (80%) of Ssense customers are between the age group of 18 and 34. About 50% of their customers live in the United States and 18% are from Canada.

Ssense Demographics

Age:

  • About 80% of Ssense customers are between the age group of 18 and 34.

Gender:

  • 80% of Ssense customers under the age of 34 consist of 50% male and 50% female.

Location:

  • About 50% of Ssense consumers live in the United States, 18% are from Canada and 10% from China. Ssense customers also live in places like South Korea, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan.
  • 35.21% of visitors to Ssense website are from the United States, followed by 17.44% from Canada, 8.69% from Republic of Korea, 6.04% from China, and 3.64% from the United Kingdom.

Additional Insights:

What information is not available.

  • Demographic information of Ssense customers like educational level, income level and ethnicity is not available.

Research Strategies:

Our first strategy was to look for information on the company's website. The objective here was to search for annual reports, press releases, etc of the company that would have reported information about its customers. This strategy was not fruitful as there was no such information found and being a private company there were no annual reports published. We thought that this strategy may work as companies sometimes publish information about their customers' demographics on their websites.

Secondly, we searched for media publications and articles on the fashion industry. The idea here was to find publications on the fashion industry that would include commentaries by industry experts, company spokespersons, that could be used to devise such information. We looked for information on sites like ellecanada and theglobeandmail among others. This strategy worked to an extent as we were able to find information on age and location of Ssense customers. However, there was no information on education, income or ethnicity. We thought that this strategy would work as sites like these publish information on the fashion industry covering fashion news and may have published demographics of Ssense.

Our third strategy was to use market intelligence and analytics tools like Sensor Tower and Similarweb among others. The objective here was to use the intelligence sites and tools to find information on the customers using the company app and website with the assumption that people using the Ssense app and website are the customers of Ssense. This strategy also worked to an extent as we were able to find the location details of customers visiting Ssense website, however there was no information on the income, education or ethnicity. We hoped that this strategy may work as mobile intelligence and analytical tools any website visitors, app users based and may have published the required information.

As a last resort, we tried to locate case studies on Ssence as sometimes case studies also cover demographics information of respective companies. We looked for information on sites like businessoffashion, thecreativeindustries, fashionista etc. However, this strategy did not work as there was no such cases found for Ssense company. We thought that this strategy may work as sites like these publish information on various companies through cases, white papers, etc and may have published information for Ssense.
Part
04
of four
Part
04

SSENSE - Psychographics

Ssense's customers are millennials who are at the forefront of fashion trends. They deeply value the retailer's "in-the-know" fashion and are mobile-savvy, informed, and discovery-driven. Below are further insights into the psychographic profile of its typical customer.

Target Audience


Habits

  • According to Atallah, in the luxury industry, about 90% of sales happen offline. This is verified by a survey from Deloitte which says that more than half of millennials still like to buy their luxury items in-store because they like to touch and feel the products (25.6%) and they like to try the products on (24.2%).
  • Ssense's customers use the company's catalog to learn about the evolving fashion landscape and use this knowledge to further help them on their journey to discover how to best express themselves.

Values


Spending Habits

  • Millennials are selective regarding the brands and trends they spend their money on. Customer experience and brand integrity are important for them when spending money on a brand.
  • According to a survey from the Boston Consulting Group, 56% of luxury consumers want to know a brand's stance on social responsibility and 62% will purchase from a brand that supports sustainability over one that does not. The issues millennials are particularly concerned about are the environment (42%) and animal treatment (26%).
  • According to Ssense, its customer's average order size is CA$800 (US$700).
  • Ssense's female customers are "early adopters" and want the next new exciting things. They purchase the product, show that they have it and are looking for the next exciting purchase.
  • Millennials tend to purchase luxury goods for a particular occasion such as a wedding (20.5%), when they want to treat themselves (18.5%), and after receiving additional income such as a bonus (13.5%).
  • Millennials generally buy luxury items because they like to treat themselves (19.7%), they are of high-quality (18%), and it makes them feel good (16.7%).

Media Consumption Habits

  • According to Deloitte, 20.5% of millennials discover the latest high-end and luxury item fashion trends on social media, 15.5% through the brand's website, and 14.4% through fashion magazines.
  • For Ssense, 48.82% of its traffic visit the website directly and 5.1% of its traffic comes from social media.
  • Ssense's typical customer uses Facebook the most (828,292 followers) followed by Instagram (707,000 followers), Twitter (63,500 followers), and YouTube (9,590 followers).
  • However, when viewing the website's analytics, 5.1% of its traffic comes from social media. Of the traffic from social media platforms, 57.37% comes from Pinterest, 19.73% comes from Twitter, 10.49% comes from YouTube, 7.36% comes from Facebook, and 2.01% comes from Reddit. This implies that its customers are also active users of Pinterest.
  • Many of Ssense's buyers find and research brands on Instagram (and are even referred to as "Instagram-addicted") rather than buying magazines.
  • Ssense's platform becomes increasingly interesting when there are more designers on it. The flip-side of this is that the more designers and brands are available, the more boring and time-consuming customers find the process to discover relevant products. This especially applies in the mobile space.
  • Mobile interactions are important in the target audience's consumer journey and Ssense's customers expect to an end-to-end shopping experience on their mobile device.

Interest

  • The leading publishers referring traffic to Ssense are Eomisae, Clien, New York, and Rafflelinkz. Implying that its customers are interested in these websites.
  • New York is an online publication that "covers, analyzes, and comments on the news, culture, and personalities that drive the world forward." Their stories are presented in an "energetic, fresh, intelligent and influential" manner.
  • Ssense's homepage consists of "commissioned articles, photo editorials and interviews with a wide range of cultural leaders from Peter Saville to Donatella Versace" to build an emotional connection between the brand and its customers. As a result, 29% of its sales are generated from this reader base, implying that its readers enjoy this type of content.

Research Strategy

To determine the psychographic profile of Ssense's typical consumer, we first focused on their target audience and the nature of their business. From news articles and interviews (such as from Elle Canada), we found that Ssense is in the luxury retail industry and focus predominantly on millennials. After an initial search of the public domain, specifically industry reports (such as Market News Report, Business of Fashion, Robert Burke Associates, and others) and news articles (such as Forbes, Fortune, Wall Street Journal, and others) we found there was no such report specifically focusing on the company available.

Next, we searched for specific information on Ssense's customer. This information was collected from website analytics (such as Similarweb and Alexa), its social media pages (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter), articles analyzing the company and its success (such as Robert Burke Associates, and more) and interviews with the company's founders and employees (such as Elle Canada, QZ, and others). From these sources we were able to gather relevant insights.

To supplement these insights, we sought the general profile of millennials who buy luxury goods/fashion to gain an understanding of this demographic. We searched for information on their habits, values, spending habits, and media consumption habits on trusted media sites (such as Forbes, Business Insider, and others) and industry reports and surveys (such as those from Deloitte, Boston Consulting Group, and others).

Sources
Sources

From Part 01
From Part 02
From Part 03
Quotes
  • "According to Ssense, almost 80 percent of its customers are between 18 and 34—an astonishing stat for a luxury retailer, given that, among high-end brands, luring Millennials has become the golden ticket no one knows how to cash."
Quotes
  • "Ssense's customers are big spenders like marketing executives, musicians and athletes who don't think twice about dropping an average of $900 on a piece of clothing (its priciest sale to date was a $30,000 black limited-edition Rolex). Though its roots are in men's wear, Atallah is predicting that women's apparel will soon dominate."