Yandex Fashion Industry Case Study: Quelle

Have you considered launching a fashion business in Russia?  Russian interest in fashion is on the rise in every category. According to this exclusive Yandex Fashion Market Research Report, general search queries on men’s fashion has grown by 34% this past year and children’s fashion queries have grown by 30%.  Women’s fashion exceeds the amount of queries for men’s fashion by four times and is searched twice as much as children’s fashion.

Yandex offers the best methods for advertising to Russian customers, exceeding the reach of the leading Russian TV channels.  Digital advertising on Yandex.Direct offers businesses the right formula to reach their target audience in an effective way. Below is one great example of a Yandex.Direct success story for the fashion industry featuring Quelle.

Quelle is an international catalog retailer of clothing.  The company entered the Russian market in 20014, opening its own internet store a year later.  Within three years, Quelle began advertising on Yandex.Direct.  Yandex interviewed the head of Quelle’s Russian marketing department, Anna Glavan, who tells how modern advertising techniques have helped boost sales of their brand with an almost 100-year history.

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 How was Quelle’s business model (selling clothing by catalog), developed?

A century ago there were traveling sales representatives, or commercial travelers, who went from door to door persuading housewives to buy various products. One such agent, Gustav Schickedanz, came up with the idea of mailing out a printed catalog, so he wouldn’t have to visit clients’ doorsteps anymore. Thanks to his idea, in 1927 we had our first print run. A couple of decades later, the Quelle trading house opened in the Bavarian city of Fürth, and in the 1960s branches began to open in other European cities.

What brought Quelle to Russia?

The brand was well known in Russia long before the official representative office opened. Back in the 1990s, Quelle was a window into the Western lifestyle for Russians: people brought copies of Quelle from abroad, collected and kept them like glossy magazines. But our Russian clients were only able to start ordering directly from Quelle in 2004, and about a year later our Russian-language internet store opened.

What was the biggest challenge at that time?

Organizing shipments across far distances. In Germany, for example, typically a parcel reaches its destination within three days, but in Russia it takes much longer. This had to be taken into account in the logistical chain, as well as in communications with clients. We opened a call center that people could call from any town in Russia and also our own warehouses in Tver.  We began working with express delivery services and collection points. All this helped to noticeably speed up the delivery process. Now clients can directly track their order shipment on our site.

What advertising methods do you use?

Mailing out catalogs remains one of our main means of direct communication with consumers. But now we also reach clients over the Internet and cannot imagine one means of promotion without the other. Of course we also use traditional advertising outlets like television and fashion magazines.

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When did you start advertising on the Internet?

First we adapted our German internet store for Russian-language users, and that took quite a long time. Active promotion on the Internet began in 2008, when it became necessary to increase our volume of online orders. Media and contextual advertising became the main channels. We promoted Quelle so heavily that once a seasonal sale announcement nearly brought down our server due to the heavy influx of visitors.

You have not only used contextual advertising but also banner advertising. Which has become your main format for advertising?

We don’t aim to settle on one advertising channel. For example, to attract new customers we may simultaneously use several Yandex advertising instruments, espeically because getting a client’s first order is the most challenging.

We also regularly experiment with new advertising products. We’ve had excellent results with a test placement of media banners using the Look-alike setting. Within seven weeks we were able to triple our click-through rate.

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Why did you decide to place ads through an agency?

We think that it’s best to put such tasks in the hands of professionals. That way we receive high-quality management of our advertising and also analysis and market news.

We work with a team from ADLABS, and even our first campaign on Yandex.Direct was professionally put together, with as many keywords as we have today. We have developed such a close relationship that we decide all important issues together.

What difficulties did you face with your first ad placements?

At first, our ads were very variegated. For Quelle, like any other well-known brand, it’s important to maintain a consistent style in all communications.

As a result, we put together internal recommendations for writing texts, and that helped a lot.  Our first ads appear in a modified form, for instance our new collection announcements. We automatically update the text through Yandex.Direct Commander and set them to work.

Do you have any methods to increase the effectiveness of advertising on Yandex.Direct?

We work a lot on brand recognition, and a significant share of our keywords consists of queries with the word “QUELLE.”  With such queries we try to get special ad placements. That way we can be certain that a person who searches for us will definitely find us and not get lost.  In addition, we not only rely on search advertising, but also on thematic advertising. In the Yandex Advertising Network there are many platforms with an audience that interests us, so we devote a lot of attention to working with them. Our materials are carefully divided up: certain texts we use only in search results, while others are just for thematic sites.

Also, in all our campaigns, ads are shown by other keywords and other relevant phrases. The list of keywords automatically expands to include successful combinations that we didn’t think of at first.

What advice do you have for those who are just preparing to enter the Russian market?

A simple piece of advice: why go in circles when you can go straight to your target – through Yandex.Direct. At any moment you can add new settings and reorient your budget, if campaign goals change. This is especially important when you’re first experimenting with distributing your budget in different channels.

Besides that, investments in Yandex.Direct quickly pay off. In our case, just a year after releasing our first ad campaign, the share of internet orders grew by almost 50 percent.