Vancouver-based Indochino is expanding its brick-and-mortar footprint with two new stores.
The menswear company has opened a location in Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre, and a store at Ottawa’s Rideau Centre will open Aug. 11.
Indochino was founded in 2007 as an online men’s custom suit company. The brand first took digital retail to the real world in 2012 with its Traveling Tailor pop-up shops. Two years later, it opened its first permanent location in Vancouver.
Indochino now has nine permanent stores (which it calls “showrooms”) in cities such as San Francisco, New York and Boston. Last month, the company opened a showroom in the new luxury wing at Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga, Ont.—its first location inside a major shopping centre.
“We’re really looking at shopping malls as providing exposure to a new client and to additional clients,” said Dean Handspiker, senior director of retail at Indochino. “It’s what we’re looking for at this point in our growth. We wanted to position ourselves where men have a high intent to purchase, and we’re confident that our offer, selection and value is a credible alternative to ready-to-wear.”
At the retail stores, customers shop with style guides who take their measurements and advise them on fabric selections. Typically, customers make appointments with the style guides, but mall locations provide more walk-in traffic.
“Since we’ve opened Square One, we see that walk-in traffic is very high and that potential clients are engaging with the style guides and converting in the moment,” said Handspiker.
“The typical journey for our street-level locations is much longer. It’s more consistent with a web shopper who visits our site a few times, sees the selection, has an understanding of price, and eventually makes an appointment to come in.”
Indochino plans to open 150 retail stores globally by 2020, backed by a $42 million investment from Shangai-based apparel manufacturer Dayang Group.
“We started out with the goal of testing the waters with the three malls that we’ve committed to,” said Handspiker. “We continue to work toward additional [mall] locations, but we are open to streetfront locations.”
The aggressive expansion plans come at a time of record growth for Indochino. In the first half of 2016, the company recorded 66% year-over-year sales growth. Retail sales now represent nearly half (46%) of the business.
“With our showrooms, we’re able to provide an experience—it’s that next generation of retail,” said Handspiker. “We’re able to offer the advice and allow clients to touch and feel the fabrics, but most importantly, we’re doing all the measuring for them too. And for some clients, that’s a bit of a barrier or hesitation to purchase.”