Australian Millennials and Gen Zs will soon have a new place to shop discounted fashion, when the Digital Off Price Mall (TheDom.com) launches.
Founded and backed by retail heavyweights Topshop/Topman Australia’s Justin Seskin (pictured), Thrills’ Howard Blend, retail consultant Paul Downs, JD Sports’ Hilton Seskin and strategic investor Andrew ‘Billy’ Baxter, the site aims to elevate the off-price apparel market and transform the experience for both brands and customers.
The ‘plug and play’ solution allows brands to directly supply consumers with off-price apparel, from tactical promotional sales to final clearance products.
Brands will control pricing, packaging, inventory, product assortment and fulfilment to the end customer, while The Dom will handle the marketing, driving people to the site.
Speaking to Ragtrader, co-founder and CEO Justin Seskin said TheDom.com has been built to facilitate a better experience for brands.
"TheDom.com acts as an extension to a brand's own channels, accelerating their sales and building brand awareness amongst Gen Z and Millennial consumers.
"TheDom.com’s proposition has largely been built around the brands.
"We deeply understand brands, as all the people involved are brand owners or brand custodians, so we understand the brand's needs, the pain points and the frustrations.
"All of these have been really considered carefully in the building out of this platform.
"We put the brand first and we believe by doing that – by working with the brands – the brands will help us deliver a proposition that is going to be of great appeal to the consumer," he said.
At launch, the site will be split into three precincts – Designer, Fashion, Street/Surf/Skate and Activewear – which will help the platform replicate the in-store mall experience online, Seskin added.
"When you go to a shopping centre, everything is curated by precinct and there are brand adjacencies.
"There are complimentary brands next to each other.
"When the customer goes to that precinct, they know which brands are there and they know which of those precincts is right for them, so they don't have to rummage through 500 other brands to find what they’re looking for.
"We believe that if we can communicate these precincts to the consumer – and actually bring them to life and give them a personality that resonates and that is relevant to the consumer – they are not only going to be more likely to find a product that they like, but also more likely to be introduced to new brands," Seskin said.
TheDom.com will launch with a mix of 100 local and international fashion brands and will later expand into new categories outside of fashion.
Seskin said that the ability to push into new sectors is also an advantage of the precinct strategy.
"That's the beauty of the precinct approach, we can bring in precincts further down the track without diluting the existing offer.
"So we can add 1000 SKUs or 1000 brands in electronics in a year's time and it's not going to dilute the fashion or design offer.
"As far as the strategy for introducing new precincts, we will look at anything that is relevant to that Gen Z or Millennial mindset.
"The timing of those launches is still to be determined but our goal is to have home, health and beauty, electronics, experiential travel and many more,” he said.
When it comes to the question of whether TheDom.com fuels the discounting 'race to the bottom' prominent in the fashion retail space, Seskin said the site will help brands turn a problem into an opportunity.
"I think that's the beauty of what we're building, we are fighting against that race to the bottom," he said.
"It's retail; there's always going to be product that doesn't work, there's always going to be product that needs a bit of a bit of a kick to get moving, and we believe that if we work with the brands and present that product at the right time, at the right price, in the right environment we're going to solve that problem because there's not going to be a race to the bottom.
"We'll be dealing with those problems as we see them, those problems will be turning into opportunities in a timely matter in the right environment," he said.
TheDom.com is set to launch in the coming months.