At the time of writing this article, we are in the midst of a global pandemic. COVID-19 has changed everything – from how we socialise, to how we shop – and businesses have had to adjust accordingly. But will these changes be permanent?
We spoke to the founder of fashion company Sueted, Dolapo Adeyemi, to find out her perspective as a forward-thinking business owner.
Sueted takes the in-store shopping experience to customers’ doorsteps by providing mobile boutiques fitted with premium mobile fitting rooms at the point of delivery. The company launched before the Coronavirus pandemic hit the UK, back in September 2019; Dolapo talked us through the inspiration for the business, her predictions on how COVID-19 will affect people’s shopping habits, and why she chose Quotax to insure her unique vehicle.
Tell us about Sueted. What do you offer your clients and customers, and what makes you unique?
Sueted takes the in-store experience to customers’ doorsteps by providing mobile boutiques with premium fitting rooms at the point of delivery. Our instant return option eliminates our shoppers’ return journey and shrinks the retailer’s return window by up to 90%. Sueted is able to provide triple bottom line value (people, profit, planet) to retailers in 3 different ways:
We deliver to shoppers’ homes or offices. They try on items in their order on the spot in our mobile boutique and we help by taking back any returns to the retailer.
By running pop-ups with Sueted, brands can now enjoy true omnichannel retail by having access to very flexible high-footfall areas while saving on the set-up costs
Ads and Window Displays
Retailers can advertise their brand on any of the 4 sides of the van and stores can set up creative mobile window displays on the go.
Where did the idea come from and when did the company launch?
We wanted to provide an opportunity for retailers to offer a special experience to their customers by allowing customers to order clothing items, try them on and choose the ones they want. We designed our elaborate vehicle to be a unique, premium offering.
After creating and testing the vehicle, we launched in September 2019 and popped up in locations such as Westfield Stratford and other centres with high street stores. We are proud to say that things really took off and the brands we have been working with have had a great experience working with this concept.
Who is your target audience? What benefits can you offer them?
Our target audience is retailers. We offer them convenience, a time-saving solution and we save them money.
Instead of having a courier van make a second journey to a customer’s home to pick up returns, the delivery journey doubles as the return journey, immediately reducing the potential carbon footprint by half and significantly reducing the cost of returns.
Also, disputes as to the reasons for the customers returns are eliminated since the quality and appearance of an item is verified at the point of delivery and a customer cannot claim to have received a damaged item if they happen to damage it in the process of handling it post-delivery.
On the customer side, they don’t have to worry about going to the post office or waiting at home to make a return; they can immediately return any unwanted item once it has been tried on in the Sueted vehicle.
The bottom line is that retailers are saving money by not throwing away damaged items which, in turn, is beneficial to the planet.
This process also reduces the number of delivery vans polluting the
environment. We don’t want customers returning items they have worn. It’s wasteful and we want
to change that.
Has the business changed or evolved since it first launched? Have you been able to operate during the lockdown?
A lot of things have happened since we launched, and we unfortunately had to close operations as shopping in a small enclosed space isn’t something we have been able to market.
That’s a great shame. It does sound like your business model is ideal for shoppers who are social distancing though?
Yes, it is suitable for shoppers who are social distancing. We are trying to establish the safest way to
reopen, as we are exploring options to be able to sterilise the van in between customers, so that people may be comfortable knowing that they are stepping into a virus-free space.
Do you think people’s shopping habits will change drastically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic? What impact do you think this will have on the fashion industry?
Yes, I think people’s shopping behaviours will change a lot. Many changes are happening in the fashion industry right now. With modelling shows all cancelled, brands are seeking more clarity on, and new ideas for, how they can present their collections to customers. We do see this as a positive change as the fashion industry can be very wasteful, especially when it comes to showing collections on runways.
The pandemic has forced people to act, instead of just talking about these issues. A lot of things are going to change in the fashion world.
Shopping is sociable. As social distancing comes to an end, with our business model customers will be able to come to our Sueted vehicle with a friend, still social distancing. With Sueted, even online shopping can also be sociable.
For retailers who are purely online, the only point of contact they have with their customers is at the point of delivery and it isn’t properly managed. We see this as a missed opportunity, and something to turn into a positive experience for customers.
What does the future hold for Sueted? Have you considered how this model could be used for other products aside from clothing? If so, is that something you would consider?
We have actually had a few events with a tea company. They had a show in a square outside and they showcased their products and had samples available, which raised awareness of their brand.
Here at Sueted we are about delivering experiences.
When looking to have your vehicle insured, what did you feel was important to consider?
Our vehicle is very unique and unusual, and some people therefore gave us ridiculously high quotes and terms which we just couldn’t accept. Eventually we narrowed it down to a small handful and chose Quotax.
We were really lucky to find Quotax.
How did you discover Quotax?
I think I found them online. Discovering Quotax really was a very lucky find.
Why did you decide to work with Quotax for your insurance cover?
Two things were a major factor for us: cost and responsiveness.
Every time we phoned Quotax we had someone to talk to, and it just felt right. With some of their competitors I was being put through to an off-shore call centre and felt pushed around. With Quotax it was a much more human interaction, which is what Sueted is all about!
Would you recommend Quotax for vehicle insurance? Tell us why.
I remember my first call to Quotax. It was at around 4pm. I’d forgotten that I had needed to cancel my insurance and suddenly found myself in a situation where I was unable to put my drivers on the road, which meant it was impossible to work.
Quotax saved the day with their speed and responsiveness and their customer service was excellent.
Are you looking for an insurance quote? No matter how weird and wonderful your vehicle may be, we are here to help. Get in touch with our team today for a competitive quote.