Trendy Casual Shoe Brands Embrace E-Commerce to Reach China’s Young Fashionistas

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A shoe from Hong Kong-based Pedder Group’s AW15 collection. (Courtesy Photo)

While Alibaba and JD.com battle to sign up the best global retailers for their mega malls, some brands choose to take an independent route to establishing a foothold in the online shopping market. Two up-and-coming brands in the contemporary shoe scene have recently done just that by launching their own e-commerce stores.

One of them is a locally based label that aims to make itself a household name on an international scale. Charles Philip Shanghai’s signature loafers have already joined the closets of celebrities like Rihanna and Jessica Alba, and are on offer at well-known department stores throughout the world, but the brand’s designers Charles Philip Pozi and Sheila Pitigala are looking inward in hopes of growing their customer base. To do this, they launched not one, but two online shops with the help of e-commerce consultancy company TLG Commerce. One specifically targets the international market, while the other is for Chinese shoppers and is designed to fit their specific needs, allowing for shoppers to customize certain styles of shoes and offering purchasing and marketing platforms that are integrated with Alipay, QQ, and WeChat.

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Charles Philip Shanghai’s new online shop. (Courtesy Photo)

Charles Philip Shanghai’s chic smoking slipper styles are a culmination of Shanghai inspiration and Charles Philip Pozi’s Italian education and often feature eye-catching prints or stripes and striking colors. The website launched in time for shoe lovers to browse the AW15 collection, which has no shortage of the brand’s signature palm leaves or florals, but in appropriately darker shades. The primarily wool, satin, and canvas styles are manufactured at their Shanghai flagship store, which opened in late 2013. There, customers can view cobblers creating the shoes from the other side of a glass partition. Last year, Forbes said the brand was yet another to join China-based designers attempting to change the consumer’s mindset about the concept of “Made in China.”

Meanwhile, Pedder Red, an affordable luxury brand aimed at young and hip shoppers and developed by Hong Kong-based Pedder Group, also took its more than 70 styles of shoes to a newly launched e-commerce site that gives Hong Kong, Singapore, and Macau shoppers free shipping and returns.

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A look by Pedder Red. (Courtesy Photo)

“Pedder Red fans can now shop anytime, anywhere,” said Peter Harris, president of the Pedder Group. “It is with great enthusiasm that we launch pedderred.com, extending our brand access from our store network to the wider world of omni-channel retailing, connecting to our existing and new audiences, continuously growing the Pedder Red community of shoe lovers.”

It may only be a matter of time before pedderred.com is also launched for mainland Chinese shoppers. Harris said that e-commerce shop is under review for coming in Autumn/Winter 2016, and that a “significant portion” of shoppers at their Hong Kong flagship store currently come from the Chinese mainland. Until then, mainland Chinese can shop a selection of Pedder Red in one of their stores in Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, and Chengdu, or on Lane Crawford’s online store.

These moves toward online growth are also ones that aim to satisfy the growing demand from Chinese millennial shoppers to own premium styles and quality brands that help them stand out. “Customers have embraced a new way of shopping, purchasing across different price points and styles: In addition to the “must-buy” designer shoe, they are also purchasing contemporary items with a strong fashion point of view, which Pedder Red offers,” Harris said.

 

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