What were the effects of the pandemic on your business? Have there been any changes from the pre-Covid period?
For us, working in and for safety is our daily bread: we immediately understood the fragility of the moment and felt a strong social responsibility. We accordingly did not hesitate to reinvent methods of working, while in any case maintaining our close ties with clientele and making ourselves available. We managed to remain fully operational while respecting Ministerial Decrees, even during the most difficult months.
Did you introduce changes to your portal to reply to new needs connected to the current situation?
Aware of the increased need by clientele to have an even more direct and dedicated service, because of the restrictions placed on face-to-face meetings, we introduced a new feature to our portal: a live chat that allows those who are interested to learn more about our offering and ask questions or for advice on which model is most suited to their needs… it’s possible to learn more in an immediate way, thanks to the presence of an operator who replies in real time.
Which of your footwear models are the most in demand?
Our top range is represented by the Red Lion range of shoes, which offers the exceptional properties of Infinergy®, the revolutionary technology conceived in collaboration with the BASF group. This special compound inserted in the midsole allows for an energy return of up to 55% with each step taken, significantly reducing fatigue, thanks to an intelligent “rebound” mechanism that releases the energy stored when the foot hits the ground and is in movement, to then push the foot forward. However, our research and development laboratories are always striving to offer further benefits, capable of improving performance and comfort even more to the advantage of workers. Recently, for example, a collaboration was set into motion with Vibram, an international giant in the development and production of high performance soles for outdoor use, leisure time, work, fashion, and repair and orthopaedic use. A company in tune with the values of our brand, with the same mission in the spirit of technological development to create safe and highly functional products: in the name of this common understanding, we are ready to put together our respective expertise to study safety solutions that are even more innovative. We would also like to announce that in May 2021, we will launch a new range: Red360, which, in addition to offering Infinergy and a self-modelling WOW insole, is enriched by Shield technology, an anti-shock shield on the heel that offers the foot stability, while cushioning against impacts and pressure.
What aspects of footwear do consumers consider to be the most important today when compared to the past (price, durability, lightness, look, etc.)?
Safety shoes accompany workers throughout the day and, in fact, wearing them is obligatory since it is personal protective equipment. So, in order for them to be perceived not as an obligation, but rather as an essential ally in lightening the day’s activities, it is fundamental for them to offer maximum comfort. Accordingly, they must be comfortable, breathable, lightweight, as well as functional and sturdy. Likewise, those who wear them give a lot of importance to the look, since they want to feel good about themselves, well-appointed, and why not, even elegant once they have left work for the day… with the possibility of wearing them with ease even when running personal errands or in their free time. Safe, but always with style!
How did you develop an omnichannel strategy?
All our communication activities, just like our customer service whether it’s direct or through our retailers, come together to represent the values of our brand. The creative part, press office, newsletters, and social platforms are all tools that work in tandem with one another for the best transmission possible of not only the image of our products, but also of our company. Only by acting with maximum coherence is it possible to create loyalty that is plausible and long-lasting, and this is even more important in periods like this one where physical distances have increased and there is no longer the possibility of meeting up with one another at fairs.
Are there specific areas on your website aimed at improving the sales experience and offering an excellent ‘shopping experience’?
Although we do not have an e-commerce channel, we try to orient our clientele towards the very best choice in accordance with their needs and by providing them with as much information as possible. To this end, in addition to technical specifications, we also have a blog that we keep up-to-date, with themed news articles dedicated to the footwear and apparel most suitable for different working conditions, whether they’re for a specific activity or a certain season. Next to this, we also have a You Tube channel where experts demonstrate the unique features of our products, with the aim of orienting consumers’ choices towards the right product.
In your company strategy, are there products or capsule collections conceived and sold only online?
No, currently we do not sell online. As I previously mentioned, we do not have a direct e-shop. We have a trusted network of retailers (hardware stores, tool stores…), where it is possible to browse the products through a dedicated search area on our website.
Do there exist or do you think there might exist in the future customisation services for the products proposed?
Certainly, we give companies the possibility of requesting product customisation services through the application of their logo, so the uniforms for their personnel takes on a strong identity.
How do you think the PPE market will change in the near future?
We need to support the needs of workers themselves, constantly investing in research and development to improve the quality of life. PPE must be transformed into daywear that is a pleasure to wear and see, presenting itself as a blending of technologies wrapped up in an impeccable look, while favouring 360° well-being for those who wear them every day. Safe and protected, but also comfortable and attractive: details really know how to make the difference! U-Power is quite aware of this, because whether it’s a safety shoe or work pants, every product is conceived by workers for workers. We are close to our customers, because we have always put ourselves in their shoes, so we can dress them with comfort, style, and safety.