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In Meet the Buyers at Modefabriek we weekly introduce you to buyers of various multi-brand stores, great boutiques, online marketplaces and sustainable stores. This week: Evelien Mulder and Kirsten Jansen from bol.com.
In 22 years, bol.com has grown from the first online bookstore in Europe into a platform where more than 40,000 sales partners sell millions of articles in the Netherlands and Belgium more than 10 million customers and about 2.5 million visitors per day. It can be compared to an online department store or shopping street. Bol.com would like to make everyday life easier. Continuous improvement and innovation are one of the reasons why bol.com started with women's and men's fashion at the beginning of 2020. Evelien Mulder is buying manager fashion, shoes and accessories and Kirsten Jansen is senior buyer women's and men's fashion.
"With the start of women's and men's fashion, our fashion store is complete, we now have become a real one-stop-shop. We worked hard to build a credible fashion store and are very proud of all marketing campaigns and customer journey improvements. For example, the LINDA collaboration, the bol.com designer items by Claes Iversen and Bas Kosters, our renewed fashion house style and a women's fashion shop window. Within fashion we have already managed to partner up with dozens of relevant brands, we hope to be able to add many more. For assortments that are not sufficiently offered by sales partners,we created a separate purchasing organization."
Why is it relevant for you as a buyer to visit a trade fair like Modefabriek?
"As a relatively new player in the women's and men's fashion market, it is very important for bol.com to visit Modefabriek. We are constantly looking for new brands. Last year there has already been a considerable expansion in the range of brands, but given the growth of our Fashion Store, there is also room for further expansion for the coming fall/winter season. We have a broad orientation here. After all, bol.com is 'the store of us all'. We look at both women's and men's brands in different price segments and size ranges, from trendy items to mainstream products. I am also curious about the developments in the field of sustainability. Not only about specific sustainable labels, but also for the initiatives that other brands have regarding sustainability. Every season I notice that there is more improvement around this, which is inspiring to see. But of course, a visit to Modefabriek is also extremely relevant to show face as bol.com. We are happy to share where we are now and what our latest developments are. Characteristic of bol.com is continuous growth and innovation, this also goes for our young fashion store."
How does buying for a platform like bol.com differ from traditional retail/stores?
"Not the entire range on bol.com has to be purchased by us, a lot is already sold by our partners. That is why we sometimes make different choices compared to traditional online retailers. Our most important considerations are whether they are strategic brands and what the current offer is: whether a brand is sold elsewhere or not, whether partners can meet the volume of our customer demand and if the delivery proposition (preferably next day delivery) is sufficient for the customer."
"Thanks to our 10,000+ fashion partners, bol.com already has a very extensive range. The strength of the platform is its enormous width, but it also makes purchasing different and challenging. During purchasing agreements, I explain that when selecting the products, we do not necessarily buy an 'image', but the item has to be strong and commercial stand-alone. After all, our partners also complement the stock. I notice that brands are increasingly involved with us. That's nice to see. "
What are you most looking forward to in the coming buying season?
Kirsten: "A new buying season always gives new energy. Because as a young Fashion Store we have not yet reached our full potential, we are open and optimistic in this new season where Modefabriek will probably inspire us again. In addition, it is also very nice to meet all suppliers and acquaintances again."