Founded in Madrid in 1987, the designer concept store Ekseption has long cemented its place as the go-to destination for celebrities, creatives, and fashion devotees in the Spanish capital. Having essentially formed the mold for luxury multi-brand retail in Madrid over the past three decades, the calm, gallery-like Ekseption is a world apart from the tourist throngs packing stores on Calle Fuencarral or on Gran Via.
Located in the plush Salamanca district, Ekseption stocks a wide array of brands from around the world, ranging from big names like Rick Owens, Saint Laurent, Loewe, and The Row to smaller designers like Mara Hoffman, Muuñ, and Plan C.
As is the case with every other major retailer in Madrid and Barcelona, Ekseption has looked to make a bigger name for itself internationally in recent years, particularly via e-commerce. One market in particular that has become a priority is China. Although Chinese tourism to Spain is still essentially in its infancy — only around 1 percent of Chinese tourists choose Spain for their international vacations — Chinese tourist-shoppers are already a powerful (and lucrative) force at Spanish high-end boutiques and department stores.
Recently, Jing Daily spoke with Ekseption e-commerce manager Eva Sanchez to learn a little more about how Ekseption is successfully cultivating a growing Chinese customer base.
While most Chinese tourists visiting Madrid flock to the major shopping streets and department stores, a growing number are seeking out multi-brand retailers like Ekseption. What attracts them to choose you over other stores?
We can identify two different kinds of Chinese tourists in Madrid. One type is organized groups with fixed routes and guided tours that know in advance their itinerary. The other is individuals keen to discover the city on their own, skipping overcrowded places and looking for selected items. Ekseption specially satisfies the needs of the second group.
How do Chinese shoppers’ habits or demands differ from other customers?
Chinese shoppers are really into the fashion industry and they know exactly what they want before even getting into the store. They are extremely well-informed compared to any other shopper.
What brands and products do you typically see Chinese tourists drawn to more than others?
We can definitely say Moncler, Balenciaga, Gucci, and Off-White. These are the brands that currently are driving the most Chinese tourists to Ekseption, but this is always changing as the fashion industry never stays the same.
If you have worked with Chinese influencers (or celebrities), how did that collaboration compare to building word of mouth among loyal customers in terms of effectiveness?
We do not include influencer collaborations in our communication strategy, because we value more authentic, honest, and spontaneous comments on Ekseption experiences by our real customers. (Who often are celebrities.)
What, if anything, is Ekseption doing online, via social media and digital marketing, to encourage Chinese tourists to not just visit, but to tell friends?
Ekseption has been working on building its Chinese consumer base for more than 10 years now. We’re active on the main Chinese social media platforms, such as WeChat, Weibo, and Little Red Book. We regularly post our own content and have dedicated Chinese customer service available. We also have specialized marketing actions scheduled on the biggest Chinese dates as Lunar New Year, Single’s Day, and other Chinese holidays, which always receive excellent feedback.