SWATCH STANDS OUT in InternetRetailing research for the speedy mobile experience that it offers its customers. This fits with the Swiss watch brand’s focus on multichannel customer service. During 2016, the brand introduced online ‘e-reservation’ as well as click and collect, and these, it said in its annual report, “enhanced opportunities to build loyalty”. It’s also a highly international retailer, making its website available in 17 European Economic Area (EEA) countries, plus its home market of Switzerland, and in nine EEA languages. Its focus on the international is part of a strategy that includes both ecommerce and stores.
In Europe, it opened new format stores in locations including Amsterdam, Zermatt and Glasgow during 2016, as well as opening new or refurbished stores in Bulgaria, Cyprus and Albania. Bulgaria also saw the opening of a dedicated website.
While making it easier to buy through digital channels, the brand has also introduced a watch that shoppers can use to make payments. Its contactless payment watch, the Swatch Bellamy, was launched in 2016 in Switzerland, as well as beyond Europe in Brazil and China.
Marketing and communication strategy, said the brand, focused more on the digital world, with social media understandably being key to that. Swatch worked with digitally influential artists RJ Puno and Zach King on its #POPitUP campaign over the last year.
InternetRetailing research shows that Swatch engages with its customers via ten channels. Swatch said in its 2016 annual report that it enjoyed growth across all social media channels during its latest financial year. Its Instagram followers nearly doubled in 18 months, from 350,000 in April 2015 to 643,000 in November 2016. It also launched its own Snapchat account to provide “exclusive inside views and highlights of events”, the retailer said in its annual report.
Swatch enjoys a sizeable following among its customers – the Swatch Club has more than 210,000 members in 175 countries. Members are able to attend exclusive events and buy watch designs including one created in 2016 through a collaboration between Swatch Club and Ed Banger Records that resulted in the Ed Banger Time watch. This was launched in Germany, France, Switzerland and the US, and sold out quickly. The Swatch Club also collaborated on a second watch with two Argentinian artists during the same year.