Big Interview: Quiz on winning the fast-fashion race

An IPO and continued expansion at home and internationally made 2017 a transformational year for fast-fashion clothing retailer, Quiz.

Over the last year, the British brand – which has more than 250 shops in the UK and over 50 in other parts of Europe and Asia – developed into a leading international omnichannel fast fashion brand, according to its chief commercial officer, Sheraz Ramzan.

For the six months ending 30 September 2017, it reported a 35.2% increase in revenue to £56.1 million.

“In 2017, we remained focussed on our plans for growth which we outlined at the time of the IPO and we are seeing strong growth across each of the brand’s distribution channels, most notably online and international,” says Ramzan, who points out online growth far exceeded the retailer’s expectations, thanks to marketing investment to increase brand awareness.

As part of this online brand investment, Quiz recently launched a new app available on Android and iOS, featuring improvements to enhance search functionality and to better curate engaging content and showcase new product drops.

The retailer also rolled out iPads across the store estate, which allows customers to access the entire product range and order items which may not be available in store.  

But Ramzan says it is Quiz’s state-of-the-art distribution centre that is key to expanding the retailer's product range and delivering the increase in sales in the UK and abroad. This warehouse was opened in 2016 and has provided the base for the business to grow revenues profitably.

“The increased and effective marketing investment along with the successful expansion of our collections, including the launch of our Curve and Bridal ranges, have driven the increased sales in the period,” he explains. 

Bricks and clicks

Unlike a number of UK rivals, Quiz is also continuing to open new stores. “Stores and concessions in the UK continue to play an important part in our strategy to expand Quiz by driving sales, building awareness and showcasing the brand. Our stores not only showcase the brand and the product, but as a true omnichannel business model, the customer can shop in a way that suits them whether that’s online, in-store or via concessions,” comments Ramzan.

He says the retailer believes a shop should be more than just the products it sells – it should engage the customer.

“When we design our stores, we ensure that they are visually engaging so the customer wants to spend time there.”

He describes how Quiz is constantly looking to improve the customer experience, from interactive digital kiosks so customers can shop the entire range in-store and digital screens to bring the product to life. In addition, staff carry iPads so they can easily order products if a customer is looking for another size. Meanwhile, social is huge for the retailer and it aims to incorporate social aspects with the in-store experience to drive engagement with customers.

What’s next on the horizon for Quiz? “Our flexible omnichannel model allows us to focus on those areas where we can generate the highest growth. We will continue to increase investment in the areas where we are generating the strongest returns, most notably online where we have strong momentum,” answers Ramzan.

Fierce competition

As for the key challenges in the year ahead, competition within the retail space and winning market share is always a challenge for the fashion industry.

“As more retailers are pushed to produce faster fashion, the means that the sector space we sit in is becoming more competitive. However, we believe our USP of being ultra-fast fashion and offering a more dressy and glamorous product sets us apart from our peers.”

And Quiz makes no claim to be the cheapest; saying it doesn’t want to compromise on quality. Challenges will lie with those not set up to be fast-fashion retailers and being pushed to do so by customers, Ramzan believes.

“They do not always have the infrastructure to cope with the short timeframes that come with being a fast fashion retailer, so they will need to invest more time and money to meet the customer’s needs,” he explains.

“We have a clear customer focus, a proven ‘test and repeat’ model with a first class team, underpinned by a well-invested infrastructure, to ensure we are well equipped and optimistic for the brand’s global potential.”