The Dodo’s brand has been synonymous with quality high fashion and contemporary footwear since it opened its first store in Cape Town in the 1900’s. By the 1950’s the company had grown into a major commercial force. With Barney Dodo at the helm, the retail group with its 280 stores across the country, was comprised of Edworks, Tiptoze and Dodo’s. Added to this a manufacturing operation with nationwide factories produced around 200 000 pairs of shoes per week. Rounding off the retail and manufacturing divisions was a tannery, which processed over half the hides in the country. The company was also listed on the JSE.
if the shoe fits…
jumping in with both feet
Barney’s son, Ralph struck out on his own in 1988, and together with a business partner, Phil Sagar established Rampar Trading, which opened its first store, Streetbeat Shoes in Buthe Butha, Lesotho in July 1989. During the next 9 years, in excess of 75 Streetbeat stores opened in South Africa, Lesotho and Botswana. In a departure from the upmarket merchandise of the original Dodo’s niche boutique stores, Streetbeat concentrated on a lower income market segment with an offering of conservatively styled, high quality, affordably priced footwear.
In 2007, in line with its ambition of attracting emerging, middle market consumers, a range of beautifully crafted, well-priced footwear with an upscale aesthetic inspired by trends from the fashion capitals of Europe was introduced. It proved to be a huge success. At the same time, the stores retained their strong loyalty towards their well-established lower income, more conservative consumer base.
As customer popularity grew amongst the younger, trendy, aspirational consumers, the Streetbeat stores underwent a name change to Dodo’s, after the company had repurchased the brand from Edworks. By natural progression the original parent company Rampar became Dodo’s Shoes (Pty) LTD, with Ralph Dodo as Managing Director. Under his direction, the company has grown into a fashion forward shoe retailer that operates in the retail and online space as the parent company of a growing portfolio of allied businesses.
Putting our best foot forward
Today the Dodo’s brand enjoys high visibility in its selected target markets. With 120 stores spread across South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland, it has a well-entrenched national footprint in urban, metropolitan and rural areas.
The Dodo’s Shoes business model is focused on driving organic growth through natural brand extensions. In line with its expansion strategy, Franco Ceccato, a leading footwear retailer of men’s, ladies and children’s shoes with 80 stores was added to the portfolio in 2018. Positioned as a forerunner in the art of redefining affordable luxury, the retailer’s extensive offerings extend from conservative to bold high fashion and include the sophisticated Pierre Cardin range alongside spirited, young, contemporary labels like Loxion Culca.
The stores enjoy a particularly strong following in the Eastern and Western Cape. Today, the Dodo’s and Franco Ceccato chain operate in excess of 200 stores.
Online: A hop, a skip and a click away
Aligned with the strategic objective of growing Dodo’s Shoes aspirational, middle-market, consumer base, the iconic lifestyle brand, Madison with its tagline, Heart of New York was acquired in February 2019. Its vibrant shoe collections feature an array of flamboyant colours and patterns, inspired by the fast-paced glamour of the Big Apple. Designed for the movers and shakers in the global fashionista community, Madison speaks to an energetic segment of female influencers between the ages of 18 – 44, who are unafraid to let their shoes do the talking. The range is available at our upmarket Madison boutique at Montecasino, on its own exclusive online site, Madison Heart of New York as well as on our online Shoe Box platform.
In light of the unprecedented demand for this attainable luxury brand, expanding our retail distribution channel was a logical way forward. With its heritage rooted in sleek, sexy design at prices to make a credit card smile, the online availability of Madison now extends beyond a dedicated site and shoebox. Online customers can also purchase the brand’s sandals, sneakers, shoes and boots on Superbalist and Zando. Furthermore, our physical stores, Dodo’s and Franco Ceccato carry the entire range.
The world of online shopping at their feet
Though South Africa was initially slower than other countries in its adoption of online shopping, the increasing expansion of internet coverage and the proliferation of smartphones has resulted in the rapid growth of e-commerce in the country.
In the awareness that our target audiences are amongst the consumers utilising the convenience of online shopping, our IT department established Shoebox https://shoebox.co.za – a user friendly site which facilitates the purchase of all the shoes sold in our Dodo’s, Madison and Franco Ceccato stores. The introduction of other complimentary, sought-after brands such as Ipanema and Skechers has made Shoebox a one stop online destination for attainable, luxury footwear with a bold edge. Our acquisition of the sexy, sophisticated, up-to-the-minute Madison, Heart of New York brand is also showcased on its own site https://madisonheartofnewyork.com Online and offline our sustained success is attributable to our competitive pricing in conjunction with our talent for monitoring trends and delivering a swift and appropriate response to changing customer demands.
Social media: The sole of our shoe biz
Social media has revolutionized consumer purchasing over the last few years. Here at Dodo’s Shoes, it has enabled us to dialogue directly with our customers and engage them with our brands. With retail fashion footwear being primarily youth focused, online platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and our own online platforms have enabled us to monitor our customer’s purchasing preferences and tailor our inventory accordingly.
At present, our Shoebox site averages 130,000-page views per month. It has attracted 110, 000 social media followers and generates 8, 000 + engagements per month.
Madison averages 140,000-page views per month and has a social media following of 110, 000 +. It has 18, 000 social media engagements per month.
ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Knocking our consumer’s socks off
We’ve harnessed the power of online and offline value-added promotions to drive sales and reward customer loyalty.
Online, our advertising channels of choice are Google, which leads the industry in web and paid search and Facebook because of its capacity to deliver high visibility and excellent consumer engagement.
Our quest to continuously increase brand awareness, drive sales and capture new business is capably supported by an in-house team of marketing gurus and IT specialists. Email and SMS campaigns are segmented in accordance with the LSM groups we serve, and we leverage customer relationships by ensuring that we maintain regular contact with the people that support us.
Both online and in our brick and mortar stores we prioritise a unified branding strategy to ensure our valued customers associate our brands with the best possible shopping experience. Online this means delivering visually appealing sites, which are easy to navigate and provide up to the minute merchandise offerings with secure payment facilities. We carry the ethos of visual appeal through to our physical stores, with renovations and refurbishments to keep them current and create environments conducive to purchasing. Uniformity is the golden thread that ties this strategy together, so that customers who purchase goods from one location are assured of the identical high-quality shopping space in another.
Hands-on owner involvement every step of the way.
The Dodo’s Group believes in empowering its staff with skills, autonomy and entrepreneurial capabilities. We place a strong emphasis on providing career opportunities for historically disadvantaged females whom we train and incentivise with the aim of growing self-esteem and earning power.
Our Managing Director, Ralph Dodo plays an active role in the day-to-day running of the Group and takes justifiable pride in being able to address store managers and sales assistants by name, across the spectrum of our nationwide operations.