Making the shift from retail to e-commerce can be a bumpy ride. Pierre discusses the growing pains of transforming Eaglemoss’ business model.
“Eaglemoss has embarked on a journey of reinvention.“
That’s what Pierre Viala, Managing Director of Brand and Marketing at Eaglemoss has said about the seismic shift the company has made in the last year.
Eaglemoss is a company that has a history of selling partworks and collectables to retail customers. They have licenses to manufacture these collectables from some of the top pop culture, entertainment, sci-fi, and comic hero brands. These include Marvel, DC, Doctor Who, Back to the Future, Harry Potter, Star Trek, and more.
The company initially sold only to retailers but has recently made the transition into e-commerce. Pierre Viala spoke to the What’s Possible Community about how the company went about transforming their business model accordingly.
Viala says that even though the company has a rich forty-year history, the company is rejuvenated every ten years when they add new products to their offering. This creates new opportunities for marketing the company.
“It’s all about the product. We have to have the right product for the right channel. The way Eaglemoss has evolved is by constantly refreshing the way we work” Viala stated.
In 2020, Eaglemoss had to roll with the punches of a pandemic-induced market shift. The company worked fast to implement a new strategy to ensure their products would live on in a world where consumer habits instantly changed. For Eaglemoss, less foot traffic through retailers’ doors meant fewer sales.
“Just imagine what happens when the whole country shuts for six months and you’ve just had your marketing campaign going on” Pierre lamented.
However, they quickly sprang into action and began the work of converting Eaglemoss from a retail-only company to an e-commerce company.
“We have moved to being a lot more agile to selling things online. Everything we sell now is online. We have a new shop, and we have a new subscription business” he explained.
Pandemic aside, customers also have evolving tastes and are drawn to newer approaches to collectables, particularly as technology continues to advance.
Eaglemoss committed to adapting to these changing consumer habits and meeting the customers where they are. They adopted a more digitally focused approach to selling their products and started generating new swathes of data, all of which had to be managed, analysed and made sense of.
Once the company’s digitisation strategy was in motion, Pierre noticed a change in his own day-to-day operations: “Today’s meetings don’t look like the meetings we had five years ago. Every single meeting I am going to now is about data and technology,” he exclaimed, “it is such a shift.”
Eaglemoss changed the way they did things to survive. Pierre says that while some of the big names in the partworks and collectables business are still around, some smaller competitors have fallen by the wayside.
Pierre says they needed to learn from the shortcomings of competitors and themselves, internally, to pivot to online and realign their brand for dynamic growth.
“We tried to turn the tide and to go where the new customers are. Our brands like Marvel, Star Trek, and Doctor Who, all these customers are online. So, we took the time to adjust and change our systems and change some of our people. And we basically retrained ourselves to be able to adjust to the new pace at which we are going to sell and meet the customers. We had to change.”
Change did not mean fundamentally reinventing what the company did. Retaining some of what made them ‘Eaglemoss’ was important. Pierre explained:
“The beauty of partworks and the magic of it for future products is that you have customers with you for two or three years. You don’t have to reinvent yourself in a matter of days or weeks. You have the time, and if you do it properly, you can reinvent yourself.”
The move to newer systems meant organising and analysing the new data they had access to. Pierre says that, in the past, they never had a way to comb over their data and analytics. They had to build those foundations from scratch so they could find their new customer segments.
Their fact-finding mission also showed them which geographies, and even which licensed brands, they would no longer pursue. It also helped them determine how many marketing agencies they used.
Pierre says they once had a scattered approach to using marketing and media agencies, but once armed with the data, they decided to use only one or two that had the right networks. They’re now targeting their intended audience in a much more focused way.
“The old Eaglemoss was a one-size-fits-all approach. We have learned to tailor what we do for some markets” Pierre concluded.
Eaglemoss also has its eye on the future. The rise of digital collectables, augmented reality, and virtual reality are opening new avenues for taking their licensed brands to customers.
In the long term, they are looking to connect the lovers of Eaglemoss’ products together into communities and potentially even create tradeable marketplaces.
However, Pierre stresses that although they have compromised on internal mechanisms within the company to become more agile, the one thing Eaglemoss will never compromise on is the quality of their product.