On its globalization journey, carries out its operations in 100 countries

DeFacto, which carries out its activities with the goal of being in 100 countries by the 100th anniversary of the Republic and is proud of achieving this goal today, continues to listen closely to its customers all over the world and develop solutions for their needs on this path with the motto of ‘Accessible Fashion’. We talked to DeFacto Alternative Sales Channels and Business Development General Manager Serdar Ersoy, whom we hosted as our cover guest in our November issue, about the new investments and projects of DeFacto, which takes its inspiration from nature.

As DeFacto, you are a pioneer in your sector with your domestic and international stores and products. In what direction will your overseas works continue?

We started our overseas operations with our first store in Kazakhstan in 2012. We are present in 19 countries abroad with our offl ine store network, and we continue our international franchise operations in 17 different countries. To summarise briefl y, we continue our offl ine operations with over 500 stores in total. We also have stores with ongoing opening process.

In the coming years, we will take steps to both increase the number of our stores in the countries where we are currently present and to enter new markets. In line with this goal, we will continue our presence in more countries by opening new stores.

What are the points you give importance in your store concepts, especially after the feedback you receive from your customers, what has changed in these concepts from past to present?

As DeFacto, we are taking firm steps forward on the path we set out with our motto ‘Accessible Fashion’. With the mission of providing our customers with easy and fast access to qualified and chic products, we continue to listen closely to our customers all over the world and develop solutions for their needs. We also design our store concepts in line with today’s changing consumer needs. Thanks to our innovations and technology, we bring the physical and digital worlds together to offer our customers unique store experiences.

In our Berlin store, which we opened at the end of 2021, we designed a store experience that utilises the leading technology in the retail industry, where our customers will experience the new generation retail concept deeply. For instance, if our customers wish, they can see the product on themselves without wearing it in the smart mirror and decide what to buy without visiting the store. Customers can receive support from robot consultants on all their questions and how to benefit from the smart store. With smart cabins, customers can request the product they want without leaving the cabin. Products in the desired size and colour are delivered to shoppers within 30 seconds. They can get information about the products with virtual glasses in the store. Meanwhile, in addition to offering a phygital experience in our Berlin store, we also bring our customers together with unique artistic works. Artist Deniz Sağdıç, who recreates all kinds of used objects and waste materials as works of art in the art world with the principle of recycling and upcycling, exhibits her two pieces produced with DeFacto’s textile wastes at the DeFacto Berlin store.

Could you tell us about your franchise system, especially your overseas franchise works for our readers?

On the path we set out with the vision of becoming Turkey’s global fashion brand, we continue our operations non-stop with more than 500 stores today. As franchise, we have stores in 17 countries abroad. As a company that has grown with its own investments until today, we have made serious investments in line with our decision to expand our franchise network in order to increase the investment growth rate. Before making this move, we examined different franchise models all over the world. Since we, as DeFacto, have adopted the corporate-based business model, we have designed a new generation franchise model for ourselves. The most basic feature of this model that differentiates DeFacto from the sector is that this channel of ours is also uninterrupted and integrated like our other channels. We are developing our business processes to provide 360-degree service in order not to experience any deficiency in the selection of franchisees in the countries. From finding a place for the store to construction, from product selection to planning, from pricing to operational efficiency processes, we take part in the work and proceed together with our business partners. The most important detail is that we do not consider our franchise stores different from our own stores and we run them in the same way. We do PNL Traiding on a store basis every month, and we examine the monthly performances of all store employees and different details. In summary, we provide our support to all our franchises to operate in accordance with the DNA of our brand.

We also sign country-based ‘Master Franchise’ agreements with our investors and look for partners who have the DeFacto vision, aim to grow and market leadership. We share all the retail knowledge of DeFacto with our partner and support him/her with operation, planning, visual and online trainings, and ensure that the investment he/she has made turns into a sustainable trade. Our main goal in all our franchise countries is; to refl ect the DeFacto Global vision to our franchise countries and to deliver our ‘one-stop-shop’ merchandising approach and shopping experience to our target customers.

You are one of the first brands that come to mind when it comes to experience merchandising. In this context, what will be your next step as an experienceoriented brand?

Nowadays, the boundaries between physical and online have been removed in the shopping journey of customers. We define this intertwined concept as ‘phygital’ and we are working to offer innovations to our customers in this context. The best example of this is our Berlin store. Besides, in order to make the shopping journey of our customers faster and easier, our technological works continue without slowing down. These works include our DFPOS and Mobile Pay in Store applications, which offer the opportunity to make payments at every point of our stores and prevent queues in front of the cash desks. With the help of these applications, which were launched for the first time in the retail sector in Turkey, we enable payment transactions at every point of the store with mobility, and ease customers’ shopping experiences.

How are consumer’s purchasing tendencies being shaped? How do you respond to these trends?

In recent years, the use of Omnichannel (Multi-Channel) has reached significant levels in the purchasing tendencies of consumers. Consumers now prefer to start the requested transactions wherever they want regardless of channel and finish it on a different channel. As a sector and brand, customers are offered a wide range of products and brands that offer new applications come to the forefront. And we are carrying out works to provide our customers with access to all our product types, to offer tens of thousands of product types even in our stores under 1000 square metres, to create alternative payment methods, to manage channel-independent return and exchange processes and, more importantly, to provide the best service in all our channels.

Especially in recent years, there are many different factors affecting the product and service expectations of consumers. As Defacto, what kind of work do you do on sustainability, which is one of these?

Our founding philosophy and values are based on production that respects the ecosystem, protecting the earth and natural resources, adding value to people and a sensitive stance towards social issues. With this awareness and consciousness, we have a sustainability strategy based on the United Nations Global Compact. We are one of the first two brands in our sector to sign the UN Global Compact. In addition to these operations, we are taking serious steps to help the final consumer we reach reduce their carbon footprint. We transparently and clearly explained our works in this context in our Sustainability Report, which we shared with the public opinion for the 9th time in 2022.

We continue to work with the inspiration we get from nature and expand our sustainable collections. T-shirts produced by recycling nature-damaging wastes such as plastic bottles and pants produced without water are among the most important examples of our sustainability works.

Lastly, what would you like to add?

As DeFacto, we carried out our works with the goal of being in 100 countries in the 100th year of our Republic. And today we are proud of reaching our goal.

We know that this country, these lands and this Republic is not an inheritance but a trust of our Founding Leader (Atatürk). That’s why we live with the spirit of great offensive. What we need to do is not only to brag about it. By working hard, acting on the path and vision shown by our Founding Leader, to transfer this trust to new generations. If we do not forget how this country was gained and retaken by internalising the great offensive in both our private, social and business lives, then we would be protecting the trust of our Founding Leader properly. As a company, we are proceeding with this awareness and continuing our growth.