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Get to know Gemini Woman

Written by
Andrew Flynn
Published on
1/4/2024
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Welcome to the latest instalment of our 'Get To Know' series.

Each month, we spotlight one of our clients, introducing our audience to their products and services while delving into the latest trends within their specific industries.

This month, we’re delighted to talk with Becky Simons, Senior eCommerce Manager at Gemini Woman.

Thank you for your time, Becky! What can you tell us about Gemini Woman?

We are a bricks-and-clicks womenswear retailer with almost 40 years of history. We are female-founded and we are an all-female team of around 25 employees.

We launched in 1985 with a brick-and-mortar store in Banbury, Oxfordshire and introduced eCommerce into the mix in 2008.

These days, we are based in the busy tourist town of Stratford-upon-Avon. We feature the town in many of our marketing pieces and seasonal brochures.

Can you share any key milestones or achievements that Gemini has reached recently?

There are a few! The business turns 39 in June and we are excited to be approaching our 4th decade in business.

Last year, we were honoured to receive three awards at the 2023 Stratford Herald Business and Tourism Awards: Best Online Business, Best Business Innovation, and Stratford-upon-Avon Business of the Year.

These accolades build upon our successes in 2022, where we were recognised for Best Customer Experience at the same event.

We also received commendations as Highly Commended Best Multichannel Independent at the Drapers Independents Awards 2022 and Highly Commended Womenswear Independent of the Year at the Boutique Star Awards 2022.

We are also approaching the first anniversary of the launch of our personalised loyalty scheme, which utilises a points system to reward our loyal customers with E-Vouchers based on their total spend. We are seeing great results from this.

Are you excited about a particular product or range at the moment?

We're excited about a couple of things happening right now!

Firstly, Henriette Steffensen, a brand we introduced last year, has had an amazing customer response. With new arrivals now live for SP24, we're thrilled to expand our product range further. We can buy in season and react quickly to customer demands and have even been able to order in specific styles requested by customers.

A brand we relaunched with in lockdown, Amazing Woman, has been a real success story. Claire, business owner with over 30 years of buying experience, has collaborated to develop the brand.

The Amazing Woman's collection has grown from a jeans brand to now covering knitwear, linens and more. It's become one of our best-selling brands, offering customers easy-fit one-size shapes in a rainbow of colour options, and is now 25% of our total offer.

And in terms of what’s to come, we're particularly excited about launching a new Linen Waistcoat from Amazing Woman to join in this trending style.

How is the womenswear industry faring and what are your expectations for the next few years?

After experiencing a surge in loungewear and relaxed silhouettes during the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, we're noticing a shift in customer preferences towards more fitted designs and soft tailoring. While loungewear remains essential, we're witnessing a growing interest in sharper pieces.

Additionally, Scandinavian-style and contemporary silhouettes remain highly sought after in our market. It's exciting to see these evolving trends while still maintaining the essence of comfort and style.

On a lighter note, can you share a fun or interesting fact about the company that people may not know?

When we opened our first Gemini Store in Banbury, our shop mannequins were homemade! Claire got creative and drew around one of her tall friends to create silhouette mannequins/cardboard cutouts. It was a quirky touch that added personality to our store.

Claire is a Gemini, and so is her daughter, Gemma, who also works for the business. It's a family feel here, right down to star signs!

What steps do you take to ensure customers a positive online shopping experience?

We provide multiple channels for customer support, including online phone sales, live chat, and personalised style advice, mirroring the experience you'd find in-store. Our loyalty scheme and rewards programs aim further to enhance the customers’ shopping journey with us.

We actively encourage feedback from our valued customers by incentivising reviews post-purchase. Based on their input, this helps us continuously refine our product offerings and website functionality.

Could you share some insight into our relationship? What specific challenges have we helped you overcome?

Our partnership with Venditan has been important in overcoming some significant challenges we faced as a hybrid brick-and-mortar and online business.

One of our main hurdles was accessing real-time data on our orders and stock levels across locations. Implementing Venditan Commerce and the integrated EPOS has been transformative, providing us with the necessary insights to streamline our processes effectively.

Email marketing drives 50% of our total online revenue, so effective and clear communication is paramount. Transitioning to Klaviyo in July 2023, with Venditan's support on bespoke integration, has vastly improved our email capabilities, enabling us to leverage retargeting, automation, and dynamic content to enhance customer engagement.

We've also benefited greatly from best practice recommendations provided by Venditan access to the Baymard Institute research into eCommerce design and UX.

What advice would you give to individuals or businesses looking to start an online retail venture?

Starting an online retail venture demands meticulous planning and dedication. Begin by setting clear goals and expectations to steer your path. Define your brand story, target audience, and tone of voice, maintain consistency across all facets of your business, and invest in captivating graphics and design elements that mirror your identity.

Success in online retail requires unwavering commitment and perseverance. Be ready to embrace challenges and adapt to market dynamics. Evaluate your resources wisely, considering whether your online presence will complement a physical store or serve as your primary revenue stream.

And finally, what are the key goals and plans for the year ahead? 

Our key goals and plans for the year ahead are focused on enhancing our customer experience and maximising our marketing efforts. We aim to boost revenue through Klaviyo email automation, striving for a balanced 50/50 ratio between campaigns and flows.

Additionally, we're prioritising personalisation across our site, offering custom homepage experiences tailored to each customer. Ensuring a strong return on investment across all marketing activities remains paramount as we aim to make the most of every penny spent.

Finally, we're committed to staying ahead of trends and delivering compelling content to engage our audience effectively. We're excited about the opportunities ahead.

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