Henri Lloyd goes DTC with new eCommerce platform

Sailing apparel and fashion brand Henri Lloyd has partnered with eCommerce platform, Centra, to support its new digital and direct-to-consumer (DTC) strategy.

The brand is now only selling through its own channels, including six UK stores, and it is no longer using wholesale relationships. The new website is part of a wider reinvention of the business after it went into administration in 2018 and was taken over by Aligro UK.

Henri Lloyd said it has chosen Centra for its eCommerce tech infrastructure because it is a DTC specialist, and can support its international ambitions. It said Centra’s ‘headless’ platform allows content and products for all international markets to sit in one place, but it automatically adapts content, campaigns, language, and currency depending on the visitor’s geographical IP and history.

Graham Allen, who is leading the Henri Lloyd business following its change of structure and ownership, said: “Operating as a pure DTC brand we have embedded a new level of responsiveness into the business.

“We have shifted our strategy to focus on what our customers want and need from us on a daily basis and so grow the emotional connection with them.”

He added: “Digital transformation sits at the heart of our long-term growth strategy, so it was imperative we had the right infrastructure in place to support us, both now and in the future. 

“The Centra team has worked collaboratively with us at every stage of the project, consulting on best practice and quickly and efficiently managing any complexities that have arisen.”

The new DTC strategy officially kicked off in March 2020, just as the Covid-19 crisis hit the UK.

Consumer requirements changed dramatically as lockdown conditions shifted, and for Henri Lloyd demand for lifestyle products soared as the need for sailing apparel reduced. It said marketing budget was reallocated to focus around paid social and Google ads.

Following its restructure, Henri Lloyd’s new product development and design is managed by an in-house team split between Manchester, Sweden and Italy, with six bi-monthly product ‘drops’ planned throughout the year. 

Overall product range is split equally between technical products and apparel, with approximately 40% of product for use at sea and the remainder for on land. Each ‘drop’ is now staggered for release online at the appropriate point, as the brand focuses on relevancy and newness to drive sales.