Seven centimeters taller. That sells the Sevillian company masaltos.com. With one nuance: this growth spurt is achieved through special wedge shoes that the company sells in Spain via the Internet and catalog sales. Two channels that make it possible to keep the purchase confidential, making it a little secret shared only by shoemakers and customers.
Masaltos.com has been distributing in Spain since 1993 the shoes of the Italian company Bertulli, which has a line that increases height thanks to an internal wedge sole. Their aim was clear: short Spanish men represented a potential market whose buyers are typically males aged between 25 and 40, between 1.60 and 1.75 meters tall and with a medium to high socioeconomic level.
The formula to attract this audience has been working for decades in Italy and other European countries: a wide catalog of models, careful design and, above all, a thoughtful policy of attracting customers.
- Sell without looking each other in the face. The manager of Masaltos.com always had in mind that the buyers of his shoes would not preach it to the four winds: “This is a product that does not allow word of mouth and that is why it is so very difficult to attract customers “, explains Andrés Ferreras, Founder and CEO. Faced with this situation, he initially opted for catalog sales through the distribution company Splash Ibérica. A year later, Ferreras launched on the Internet, a medium that is still crawling in Spain but that had the necessary characteristics for your business. In 1994 he created a website selling shoes. Later, the portal will change its original name, Splash-Iberica.com, to a more commercial name: Masaltos.com.
- The Discreet Window. For the company, the Internet is not just another sales channel, but is its ideal showcase, which, due to several factors, helps it to divert sales to other channels. First, because anonymity allows you to buy shoes quietly. Secondly, because from the same anonymity the customer can consult the catalog of all available models (dress, trekking and goodyear-welt, among others) on the Internet.
an increasing size
Mail order accounts for 70% of their sales; the other 30% comes from the Internet. Of the more than 50,000 customers, 42,000 are from Spain and another 12,000 from other countries. On its website (in five languages), the company has also taken up the challenge of export. Among other things, they have the southern United States in their sights.
barriers and challenges
After exclusive distribution was achieved, the main question arose: How do you introduce the product to an advertising-shy customer?
In addition, mail order was not a very widespread channel and did not enjoy a good image in Spain either.
- Muhammad will go to the mountain. The company’s response to this compromised situation was precisely to redouble the promotional actions and insert them in the media (radio, printed press, magazines …), with particular emphasis on the headers, which better correspond to the profile of the buyer, like men’s magazines. “And little by little, through investments, we have gained a customer portfolio that now totals more than 50,000 people,” says Ferreras. As noted by the Masaltos.com manager, “sales go like this depending on how much is invested in advertising”.
- bring news. On Masaltos.com, the catalog will not be sent to people who have not requested it. For this reason, the seasonal novelties are displayed in the online shop. And to make your purchasing decision easier, you can also order the printed catalog there.
- Maintain the database. But retaining buyers is just as much or more expensive than attracting them, so a lot of the work is focused on their loyalty. They are offered benefits such as B. Discounts on some purchases. Ultimately, for Ferreras, the users of his shoes are a loyal audience who appreciate the company’s line. As he points out, among the Bertulli wearers there are important names from the world of politics, directors of large companies, actors…, personalities who see their image in the media every day and who choose these wedge shoes precisely for the discretion that distinguishes them.
- Masters in Diplomacy. But shoes are often tried on before they are bought. To overcome this barrier, they “have come up with all sorts of ideas, including sending the customer a shoe, the one with the right foot, to try it on and check that it is as we said it would be. So many, when they see him, would order the one for the left foot.” To go a step further, in 2000 it was decided to open a shop in the center of Seville “that would fulfill the function of tying the shoes see and enable the customer to make initial contact”. The discretion of the house is also reflected there. Conventional shoes are displayed in the window and entrance of the store. When a potential buyer walks in, usually a little embarrassed, the store staff encourages them to go further inside, where they are invited to try on this type of shoe. Discretion is required!