Within 24 months, Kim Kardashian’s shapewear brand has been built up into a $1.6 BILLION company.
In this blog post we are going to skim over SKIMS, and what has made the label such a success in a short space of time.
SKIMS launched in 2019 and instantly sold out of all stock at the time. In the past, Kim had loved wearing shapewear but realized there was a huge void when she couldn’t find anything that really worked for her.
In turn, this created her market.
According to Grandview Research, the global shapewear market size was estimated at USD 2.26 billion in 2018 and is projected to expand at a CAGR of 7.7% from 2019 to 2025.
Kim had experimented with a lot of shapewear before launching her own brand, most of it probably coming from Spanx.
Kim identified her market fit, and brought a twist to this market. She offered unique colors of shapewear, plus-sizes, and the shapewear was made to compliment women’s outfits, and not so much to shape one’s body.
A product she clearly wanted, which didn’t quite exist for her own personal needs. She harnessed her social prowess to catapult it to where it is, yes..
However, the products really do hold their own when you look across the board within women’s fashion.
They have visible USP’s, interesting colour ways which stay true to Kim’s personal colour palette, and they offer a unique angle not exploited by other brands that sell shapewear.
After rinsing through their custom-coded website, stats for those who like to get ‘nerdy’ on the back end:
After heading to their best-seller section, We found the average price of their top 4 best-selling products is $30. They also offer free USA shipping on orders over $75. Based on this, we would predict that their AOV is in the $60-70 range.
It’s high-quality shapewear, but at a reasonable price when benchmarking against the likes of Zara’s AOV. It fits in well with mid-tier brands, but with a ‘luxury’ touch, as it embodies Kim.
This makes for an easy impulse buy sale. Kim could have easily taken a steer from Kanye’s ever succesful Yeezy, and hit price points which could take her AOV beyond $100, as her name can pretty much do as she pleases, however when it comes to the scale she is seeing, it’s easy to see why when priced so competitively, and with it fitting in with the impulse buy notion.
According to SimilarWeb, SKIMS receives 3.7M monthly visits to their website.
What’s next, is the most interesting part to take away from SKIMS success.
Let’s predict SKIMS’ revenue with our simple equation:
5M website visits x 2.5% CVR = 125,000 orders/month 125,000 x $60 AOV = $7,500,000 revenue per month!
But remember, Q4 and BFCM weekend is a whole different story for ecom businesses. We would estimate a $10m minimum month for the brand across Nov & Dec.
Not bad, Kim!
According to NY Times, SKIMS reported $145 million in sales during 2020, and expects to roughly double sales to $300 million this year in 2021, and based on the data we are seeing, we also expect this to hold true.
$150M in one year, selling simple shapewear and comfy loungewear.
Puma. A brand we are all familiar with. Founded in 1948, they have been an ever-present in the sports scene, adorning sports shops worldwide and boasting heavy endorsement deals over the past 3 decades in multiple industries.
For Puma, basketball was and still is, a key facet of their brand.
However, their first attempt at the lucrative scene of NBA fell way short of competitors, and sent Puma down the pecking order of consumers minds, against the likes of Nike and Adidas, who conquered for years.
Before Nike popped up onto the scene, Puma was the power player, almost untouchable as they represented some of the NBA’s top players at the time.
They had one small issue with this however, much like a lot of current brands in today’s market with keystone influencers and the marketing budget allocated to human endorsement; They couldn’t turn a profit on this area.
And so they shut down the division, enabling Nike & Adidas to take over and storm the market, whereby you’ll still find around 75% of NBA players wearing Nike shoes when they enter court.
More importantly, as NBA increased in popularity, Nike’s brand thrived financially as they ride the wave of basketball popularity and fan-demonium.
Nike US Revenue
Here’s a key take away from this that you may not have known: The basketball shoe business isn’t a lucrative one when it comes to profits. The typical profit margin within this sector all things accounted for is just a 5% profit margin. This proves that for the power players who have been around for generations, it’s all about the cultural influence (which is leverage and huge brand equity in consumers minds), rather than making quick returns on the short term.
With revenue dropping sharply by 10% from 2012-2014, Puma knew changes were needed, and fast to remain competitive.
Who did Puma seek out first to join them on this climb?
None other than Rihanna herself.
Rihanna was named creative director of Puma Women. With women’s sales ramping up a heavy 92%, Puma saw immediate results from the introduction of RiRi, to no surprise. Of course, the brand leverage from this was also something to be accounted for.
Did they stop there?
No, Puma had their sights on taking things back to where they wanted to be within the basketball arena. To do this, they looked to someone of equal measure when it comes to influence, a true G.O.A.T by the name of Jay Z.
Given his cultural appeal and connection to sports biggest stars through Roc Nation, it was a no-brainer for the brand to bring in such a mogul.
Thereafter, Jay Z became the new Creative Director of Puma Basketball. Upon this announcement, one of his conditions was that he wanted a Puma Jet.
Jay felt that creating a fully Puma branded private jet would set the brand apart, and of course it did just that.
The brand wasn’t playing around, fully investing into every facet possible to ramp up brand image, set itself apart from the competition, and launch an attack on the markets it wanted to be a big player within.
They even personalized the tail number for Jay Z:
N: Country code
444: Jay-Z’s album title
SC: Shawn Carter
It’s not just a gimmick either, players routinely mentioned their ability to use the “Puma Jet” as an advantage.
Word was getting around, and Puma were becoming a heavy hitter once again, and no longer in the shadows of Nike and Adidas.
Where they could have easily backed down or tried to get on a level with competition, Puma always went one step further, attempting to break the market and leapfrog competition to be the best they possibly can be, crafting their own image, on their own terms for domination of their sector.
Outside of basketball, Puma has routinely continued to delve into celebrity image. Recent brand partnerships from celebs range from The Weeknd, right through to Victorias Secret model Adriana Lima.
From Victorias Secret they then go to other sports, notably F1 and Football with Lewis Hamilton and Neymar Jr.
This for us, proves the point that standing alone, doing different and thinking different, leads to different results. Brands can learn a whole lot from Puma’s approach when it comes to endorsement and driving up company profits and value. The message is clear; think outside of your current thought sphere, and delve into new spaces.
Still in doubt?
Here’s the figures..
After seeing their annual revenue decline for two consecutive years, Puma’s all out celebrity strategy has skyrocketed their growth to phenomenal levels.
Revenue 2012-2014: $3.8B to $3.5 (decline)
Revenue 2014-2019: $3.5B to $6.5
Oh and also, their stock has gone from $22 to $99, and rising.
Today, with the focus on cultural influence embodying the brand, Puma is now more relevant than ever before, proving that when a brand can pivot and reach out to new areas, it can often pay off if the execution is strong.
This shift for Puma changed the direction for their entire brand, and for the better as they are poised to remain a heavy hitter in multiple industries for many more decades.
BFCM. The time of year all brands, customers, and agencies have firmly imprinted in their minds as the cooler months roll in..
The time of year when some brands can accumulate in a SINGLE DAY what they may accumulate in several months leading up to it.
As a consumer, you will be hit from all angles, often by brands you had never even heard of, all vying for your attention, and your hard earned cash.
It’s the time your inbox receives an onslaught of “Our Cyber Monday sale!” emails, sales announcements, and your Instagram turns into a boxing match between your favourite brands.
It’s an epic time of year, absolutely. One of which we absolutely buzz off and get a thrill like no other when we see 6X, 7X, 8X+ ROAS at top of funnel. And then of course, we get all hands on deck to scale the living sh*t out of it as each hour goes by, with us chomping away to try and hit record sales months for our brand partners.
However, there is a flip side.
A big flip side which can be disastrous, and put your brand in a tricky place if not methodically thought out.
Riding on the hype train of Black Friday, Cyber Monday is a potentially disastrous decision if you follow every competitor’s lead without sensitivity to what your audience expects and wants to hear from you, and one of which if not carefully curated ahead of time, can leave you scrambling away with a lacklustre campaign that fails to hit the hype.
It’s a mega traffic time of year, which can lead to endless unsubscribes, unfollows, and potentially even bad feedback scores and ‘spam’ hits on your ads. …We aren’t about that life.
This year, these tactics provided will do exactly that once again, and possibly even to larger effect than what was seen in 2019.
This year, we will provide 3 tips to ensure you don’t get it horribly wrong when it comes to your BFCM strategy..
1. If It Feels Wrong, Don’t Do It.
If you’re planning out your BFCM outreach right now and it feels slightly uneasy as a brand, or you straight up feel like you’re only doing it because it’s BFCM, we would recommend putting on the brakes.
If you have those negative feelings about your outreach, it’s likely that your audience will feel that way too on the receiving end.
There’s nothing cooler than a brand that thoughtfully decides not to follow the herd on a very herd-inducing stretch of days like BFCM.
This is not to say don’t do anything however, because if you do nothing you will undoubtedly miss the moment on what could have been an epic sales busting week for your brand. But rather, what I am trying to get across here is that you can dare to do differently. It doesn’t have to be a blanket site-wide sale (although for the majority, these work a treat) There is no ‘need’ to do high discounts if your brand isn’t totally aligned to that and it feels wrong, would hit the margins way too much, or maybe you just don’t need to do them; this is pretty much only if you are Christian Dior. Most brands reading this however, should be doing something.
Some food for thought here is to think around how creativity can induce larger volumes of sales, such as bundling, or tiered discounts based on amount spent.
If it doesn’t feel right to you to hop on the BFCM train in the way you think it should be played, get creative and think through what your audience does want to receive from you on a day when they’re traditionally asked to give. This brings me to my next point..
2. If You’re Going To Do It, Do It Right.
By this, we mean don’t be stingy.
A measly 10% off or a ‘free shipping for BFCM’ promo is not a promo for BFCM.
This is like turning up to a Halloween party with a scream mask and a bin bag, you may as well not have even turned up.
The discount needs to pack a punch, be ‘wow’ worthy, and something in which will entice a buying rush like when Yeezy drop a new pair.
The trick here, is to do something that will get your audience processing orders faster than they ever normally do, in a FOMO inducing state.
It’s easy to know if you’re winning when it comes to this, because within 15 minutes of you putting the offer live, your jaw will be dropping to the floor with the amount of ‘dings’ you get from Shopify.
If you haven’t experienced this, the chances are your BFCM of last year failed to hit the hype levels required to pack the right punch, and you don’t want to miss the opportunity once again in a year in which e-commerce will hit all time transaction highs.
When thinking through your business’ BFCM plan, I challenge you to backtrack and ask yourself if your audience would debate the offer being strong enough, or something they could easily pass on and move on to a competitor.
As a business, your primary responsibility is to produce income, and so knowing your customer and your demographic is fundamental here to knowing how to play BFCM, and how to get the adrenaline flowing from your customers when they see that glossy ad served up to them on their Insta feed.
Be the business that listens to its audience year round, and you will know what would be the best bet.
3. Don’t overcommit. (Don’t be that brand)
Only produce what you can keep up with.
A lot of email and social media ghosting happens on BFCM; brands that have barely sent any emails, do 1-3 IG stories a day throughout the year all of a sudden bombard you with emails on BFCM and have an IG story that looks like Tetris. As soon as BFCM is over, like a ghost, they disappear from your inbox as quickly as they came and you get little to no value throughout the other months of the year.
Using your email marketing purely as a tool to make announcements is old school, and completely useless for today’s consumer, and one of which will dwindle your subscriber list faster than you brought them in.
There is enough clutter in people’s inboxes – if your emails have no utility to audiences other than as bait for them to spend money, they will sense this, and you’ll lose them. Especially so with this point, you need to ensure that if you are to send a ton of promotional content, you are ready to keep this up to a similar level once the hype settles and the period is over.
As soon as the middle of December rolls around, you need to ensure you keep it up in a way that is true to your brand.
One saying we have at The Normal Company is that LTV is the master metric. Do not jeopardise your long term stature for the short term shiny dollar, ensure you can carry everything out in a moderation that suits you, suits the brand history of marketing, and the future in which you plan to continue the distribution.
If you want to captivate and engage with your audience in a meaningful way, start off by sending useful content in your emails and boosting its intrigue for your audience.
Does your audience want to receive brand updates, funny memes, helpful information about sustainable fashion, a cause in which you back as a brand, or useful advice that suits why people buy your product?
Show up to your customer in a way in which best reflects your brand, the tone of voice in which you wish to be perceived with, and a manner in which you would be proud of seeing when looking at it’s content, context and value to the audience.
Selling your products or services, especially on BFCM requires a nurturing process more often than not. Don’t think that just because you’re giving out a once-in-a-year discount that your audience will let you skip over the fundamentals of what makes them want to buy from you.
Create a vibe, an aesthetic unique to you, a feeling which your customer is a part of, and you will forever have an audience which is actively on the lookout for your discounts, and ready for you to drop that email bomb on them as they not so patiently press refresh every 10 seconds on November 27th. What I have described here, is that high LTV brand which dominates it’s market.
When you have an audience like this, you have what we call a superbrand.
Before BFCM comes around this year, start sending the emails and doing the work now to build an engaging conversation between you and your audience. Well, tbh you should have been doing this way before now, but creating a hyped and engaged audience is the firepower you need which will front-end-load your campaigns before you’re even thinking about them. It’s the surefire way to boost the success of any BFCM play you put out there, in a way in which your competitors could only dream of keeping up with.
Ads on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram are today deemed the most annoying.
This is according to Business Insider Intelligence’s recent Digital Trust Survey.
Well that’s simple.
People don’t like being advertised to, especially when they want to scroll and find new inspiration from their favourite bloggers, escape for 10 minutes on a lunch break, play the latest Justin Bieber music video, or see what those they love have been up to.
It’s irritating, and a primary barrier to what they are on the platform to see, and experience.
The results of this survey should come as a wake-up call to marketers and brand owners alike still unsure about native content, or focussing more on the natural, stripped back approach to marketing vs the glossy magazine cover-esque pieces of creative.
So, what’s the solution?
Based off our recent results across our brand partnerships and client portfolio, the fuel for the most recent ROI experienced has been user generated content.
In the last 3 months especially, this has been the primary driver behind results both on an engagement, organic level, but also on the paid advertising front.
Our ethos is simple, and the types of conversations we have been having recently looks a little like this..
Integrate with content your target customers love to see, and be a part of the reason they are on the platform.
Don’t be a 1990’s yellow pages advert plastered in the middle of an Instagram feed.
You’ll lose out.
If your marketing is in a designated advert, in between your target customer and the content they want to watch, undoubtedly it will be glanced over or not given attention. Your CTR will be sky high, even on the editorial you spent hours on end in a studio developing, tweaking and editing.
Not to mention the cost for producing your glossy ad.
It just won’t generate interest, and your marketing spend will be wasted because you are going against your consumers’ psychology and frame of mind at that given moment.
Integrate your message into user generated content, and become an intrinsic, flowing piece of the platform experience.
Here’s our top reasons why UGC is the way forward for brands that want to scale:
1. It’s the human touch
As above, people don’t want to be advertised to. They don’t want to be bombarded by marketing messages and they most certainly don’t want your ad interfering with their user experience on Instagram, Facebook or YouTube.
User generated content goes against ‘marketing’.
It’s a natural, aesthetically on point piece of content that creates a feeling.
A feeling that is in line with who your customer wants to be, how they want to feel, and the desire they have when it comes to the ‘why’ they would buy from your brand.
Here’s the thing: People trust people.
People want to relate with people.
This has been one of our key mantra’s when it comes to strategy calls of late with our clients, especially those in the fashion space.
Those that have adopted this strategy and nailed in on the UGC space to their advantage, have seen all time high conversion rates and revenues reported for the months of July and August consistently.
Instead of scrolling through websites that only tell you their ‘halo’ version of the product, people now prefer a natural, vibey conversation coming through from what they see from brands.
What they crave, essentially, is the human touch to an otherwise lifeless, staged, over-edited piece of content. UGC content provides precisely that – the human element.
It shows the product for what it is, the brand for the feeling they create with a no holes barred approach, and the customers for the community they generate.
Seeing a similar person to you, or a respected influencer wearing the new line is the best way to demonstrate your product to would-be-buyers. It’s the pairing of valuing perspectives of their fellow customers, hand in hand with an unfiltered view of your product in a real world use, often in a real world environment.
This is what UGC provides your brand: The much needed, and much desired help that prospective customers understand the product inside and out, and they get to know what to expect before they even land on the product page.
2. Customer Experience Is Accentuated
Consider that you have been using the same angles of content for the past 6 months.
Your ads may very much be experiencing ad fatigue, because your product only shows so much.
It shows one angle, repeatedly: Your angle as those behind the brand day to day.
You have yet to mix this up and twist things into the angle you really need to be portraying as priority: Your customer’s view when they have the product.
When this switches up, your intended customer will see something a little like this…
They open up Instagram, scroll along and then get hit with a native ad that speaks the same language as those in which they follow, almost as if the ad they are seeing has been posted by one of their close friends.
Immediately they have minor emotions tied into the creative, and they are getting a sense of feeling with your brand.
The piece of content shows your brand in a native and natural form, and in a way studio content just cannot relay in the same way.
Suddenly, the product has new life to it, a new portrayal, and a new value proposition in the eyes of your consumer.
A different view, creates different reactions.
They are now viewing someone experience the product in real life and validate all its claims, as opposed to just hearing them.
In short, your consumer is already experiencing the product, and in turn they get convinced that it’s as good as you say it is, and it does exactly as what that customer would expect from a product.
User-generated content adds a dash of authenticity and reverberates with the customer in the most natural form.
It’s a buying accelerator like no other.
3. It Converts
User generated content drives sales like no other.
When people see for themselves how a product has impacted the life of someone else, and someone they identify with, they begin to find ways the product can help them, and starting selling the product to themselves.
In turn, this creates a higher CTR and traffic generation from this type of content compared to any other because it’s so identifiable.
The metrics align perfectly for any brand looking to scale, because UGC generates interest and more ‘scroll stopping’ than an ad that doesn’t look like it belongs.
It’s why people skip the adverts immediately when they come on T.V. between their favourite show – they know it’s not going to be relevant or personally tailored to them.
It’s another annoying barrier before they get to what they really want to see, and the reason why they are watching T.V. in the first instance.
However, if those adverts were people you adored and identified with showing off their latest buys in the most natural way, you may just hear them out.
Brands get far more bang for their spend, because their spend isn’t being wasted on people scrolling past, but rather the spend on the content is now getting clicks, and clicks create conversions.
You may end up buying something you do not need at all, or find something you may have passed up on initially, because it directly impacted you on an emotional level – it’s not just another advert.
User-generated content consciously and subconsciously alters buying patterns and increases eCommerce sales twofold with brands who have lacked in that department historically.
Every marketing metric that aligns to sales, rises in all the right areas, and it’s clear to see why.
UK ‘Giant’ clothing store Primark made a grand total of £0 this month on the back of four weeks of closure, and over 60,000 furloughed staff due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Primark’s usual £650m months have plummeted to rock bottom due to their lack of diversified channels, in a world which is changing around them, and one of which they have ignored for many years.
With stores across the world forcibly closing due to the UK lockdown, Primark has been unable to sell any products due to its non existent online presence or diversified channels. In the past, the store has tried to justify this by saying it would not be able to keep prices low if home delivery were an option.
But, this in our eyes is an all too familiar phrase and string of excuses similar to that of brands and stores that we have seen fall at the hands of a digital first world over the past 18 months.
Primark however, like many physical stores have now had the shock which would have been inevitable regardless; adapt to e-commerce, or face a harsh reality check at some point.
Chief executive George Weston said: ‘ABF has been squarely in the path of this pandemic. At Primark we have 68,000 of our people receiving furlough payments from governments across Europe, without which we would have been forced to make most redundant.
‘From making sales of £650m each month, since the last of our stores closed on 22 March, we have sold nothing.’
With this highlighting how George Weston and his board have failed to acknowledge and take action on what it means to have a digital strategy, the company and their staff are now paying the price of an ‘adapt or die’ retail world.
George added: “In time we can rebuild the profits. We can’t replace the people we lose.”
Shortsightedness can prove to be a killer even at the best of times and when business is booming, however at this current time especially, the so-called-giants will face a harsh reality which could see many household names pay the ultimate price.
The value of diversification for brands and stores is becoming apparent, as it always will when it becomes too late, but always pushed aside when times are good.
The question poised on Primark and their Directors is now this: Should we shift to e-commerce as a priority?
The answer, is undoubtedly so, but equally it took a worldwide pandemic for them to emerge out of a cave, and ask what should have been a question they answered with tenacity when they had an opportunity to thrive, rather than merely scrap to survive.
Tesla. We all know the name, and will have our own opinions of a company which is consistently seeking innovation and has carved it’s way as the pioneer of electric vehicle ownership. However, how can your brand see Tesla in such a way that would be of benefit?
With Tesla, something is very different, and it all stems for the C word.
1. Customer Centricity
Everything at Tesla embodies an experience which is customer centric. From the website user design, right through to the ownership after care everything is built around the customer in such a way that majorly disrupts the car industry.
It’s such an integral part of Tesla, and this is why Tesla owners genuinely want Tesla to be successful on every level. Tesla owners want to be a part of the Tesla journey, the Tesla ethos, and see the company be a major success. They are raving fans, rooting for the company to dominate. An extremely high 80% of customers buy or rent another Tesla for their next car after buying their first, and it’s no surprise.
What can you learn from this? Create an experience that is adored, fine tuned to focus on creating loyalty and you will have something truly special; an experience that sticks in the mind of your customer. With this you will have them for life, time and time again.
2. A website that oozes class, and makes the buying process a breeze
Go on the Tesla website and you will see a user experience that is far beyond any capability of it’s competitors. Car sites are traditionally sticky, bulky and difficult to navigate. Check out BMW and you will see how their site homepage is busier than the sale rales at TK Maxx, cluttered with corporate jargon and taking the customer away from what they want to see, and straight into what the company feels is important.
Tesla on the other hand, much like their vehicles is sleek, smooth and crisp. It’s so clean we would eat our breakfast off it.
It creates an experience that mirrors the Tesla ownership experience. Experience here is the important word when thinking of your brand like Tesla; you want to create a feeling of ownership of your product, even before it has been ordered.
The call to action on each slide is an enticing button which is seamless with the web design, taking you on a customer journey which focusses on you beginning your Tesla ownership ride.
Within just TWO clicks from the homepage, you are given the ‘Buy a Tesla’ option.
Now, we don’t know what your product is, however if it is anything smaller or less pricey than an $80,000 electronic vehicle and your customer cannot buy it within just two clicks…
…What are you doing?!
From here, picking out your vehicle and having all of the key questions answered without needing a “questions” section shows just how advanced they are on the market.
Car information, price, savings you’ll be getting, a bar to change your payment method, delivery date, and a customer journey bar at the top to show you that you are only 3 steps away from having your Tesla fully spec’d out, it’s all so clean and is exactly what the customer wants to see.
Tesla have gone for minimal styling here, keeping things light and simple for the customer for something that historically has been such a complex purchase for many.
If Tesla can do this on one of the biggest purchases an individual can make, why isn’t your site following suit?
3. A Digital Only Strategy
In 2020, customers will more often than not, be starting their purchase online. That means that digital provides customers their first impressions of the brand. Tesla stands out right away with a strong digital presence, in a way that is mission focussed and depicts the why behind the brand in such a way it creates legions of fans even from those who have never even sat inside a Tesla cockpit. Instead of being pushed into a sale by a well oiled car salesman wearing a Datejust, they are given information to make their own choices through the omni channel experience online. Such things have been taken to the extreme by Tesla too, in 2019 they shut down all of their physical Tesla showrooms and stores. They are the only car manufacturer to have an online only presence which was a major shift for the market, and one which is radically innovating, going against the grain of the supposed ‘need’ for physical locations for car companies.
When you focus on where the customer is, how they want to shop and why they shop for what they do, you’ll find that the online experience is paramount.
4. A Mission Beyond The Product
Tesla is hugely mission focussed beyond all else. Excusing the pun, the cars themselves are just a vehicle for change. In Tesla’s words their purpose in the world is to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
Existing for more than profits, making money and selling their new cars and getting them out onto the roads, Tesla has built an identity for carving a strong mission that everyone buys into. It makes their employees more engaged and dedicated to the ultimate cause, which encourages them to deliver a better customer experience because there is a paramount ‘why’ behind everything Tesla stand for.
On the other end of this, Tesla owners are a part of something. A movement for change, for the better.
If your product or brand doesn’t have a central purpose aside from selling, you may be at the mercy of brands that can have people buy into a ‘why’.
On this Normal case study we are going to go DEEP on the process for achieving multi 6 figure results within a 60 day period directly from Facebook and Instagram advertising. If you have a fashion brand yourself or are in the e-commerce industry in general, you may want to take note…
It goes without saying that 2020 is going to be another tough year for brands that rest on their laurels. We all know that brands are popping up left, right and centre, and the competition is fierce. An edge on your market is forever key, with constant evolution and innovation now a necessity.
In fashion, trends last as long as the sun in the U.K! The needs and wants of customers will change each season, and the desire for top quality products that also meet the financial needs of a customer is a constant moving bar. If you’ve been in the space for a long time, you’ll know that you can be the ‘next big thing’ one month with sales coming in by the bucket load, a PR’s dream and every influencer and her dog wanting your jumpsuit, yet the very next month have cobwebs in the stock room.
For sustainable success in fashion eCommerce you need an overall strategy that complements the Facebook environment, and in this hot topic we are going to break down the scalable and sustainable system we integrate into the fashion brands we partner with closely.
This is what will be covered:
• How to use new collections and new item launches in the most effective way
• How to use sales and flash sales to boost your overall sales and profitability
• How to use ‘signalling’ as part of your overall strategy to boost sales by 10X
• Our proven formula behind selling ‘collections’ instead of singular products
In addition to these points, we will also dive deeper (For the nerds reading this, like us) into the specific points that are Facebook marketing related.
1. THE STRATEGY
Something we noticed is that when most fashion brand owners launch a new collection, they more often than not have the same strategy that simultaneously takes effect in line with every season. It goes a little something like this:
They put their entire new collection on the website, throw up some ads saying ‘AW20 collection launched’ and send people to their site via the usual; Instagram post, Instagram story post, chuck a few influencers in the mix to push it….
…then wait for the sales to come.
This works, to a certain degree. Especially if your collection is good.
By splitting up your collection into multiple parts you can drip feed your audience with several new styles every week or 2 weeks and especially keep your warm audiences engaged and coming back.
We’ve seen this work magically. When collections are drip fed into smaller collections and have a ‘staggered’ approach, you maintain a key behaviour from your customers: Hype.
Besides new items, as a brand owner you always have to deal with items that are not selling or slower weeks when you don’t have any new item launches. You also have to take into account when people are buying, and when they aren’t buying.
Take this part of the year for example; Dry January.
This isn’t just the alcohol free month, ohhhh noooooo. It’s dry AF for the shops, the stores, and of course, most brands just like yours.
So instead of marking down everything at the end of a season or hoping it will sell out at full price, introduce flash sales in the weeks that you don’t have any new item launches or when you anticipate slow sales. A good ‘CLEARANCE’ produces a good amount of FOMO.
By using flash sales and suggesting these to a few of our fashion clients, we were able to generate one week of over $100k in sales at a 10X ROAS, for a brand which has a relatively small following of 40k on Instagram.
Even though we were giving discounts on products, this still brought in more than enough profit which exceeded their break even point, and of course the ripple effect of new customers that did their first ever purchase with the brand, is great for the long term.
2. THE NORMAL COMPANY HACK TO RUNNING SUCCESSFUL FLASH SALES AND NEW LINE LAUNCHES
It’s simple: Just putting your new products on the website and creating an ad saying ‘new products in’ or ‘SALE NOW LIVE’ is not the best action plan. This is also an off the cuff knee jerk reaction often when thing’s aren’t going so well, and it often comes off that way too.
So, with this being said, something we found very successful is the drip feed of these events, and the pre-hype around them.
The way we do this is we build a high amount of anticipation for new item launches and flash sales by notifying everyone in the warm audiences (and some cold) what will happen, ahead of time.
We run ads building up anticipation for new products or for the upcoming sale and what we see is that people engage with these ads extremely well. What we find is a ton of comments tagging their friends to notify them too, a lot of inboxes as to ‘what might be coming’ and the organic reach on posts getting a nice perk up too.
We run a mix of video views, engagement and conversion ads in this stage depending if it’s a new product or a flash-sale. It’s paramount that the creatives and copy is on point for this to be put to best use, so always having this pre-planned and created a month or two in advance is almost essential. Get some sexy content, and be prepared for a blow up!
Now, when the sale starts or the new items come in, we would have in turn built up some hefty audiences to target and put into our ‘sale funnel’.
One of our campaigns saw a 24 hour period reach the same sales volumes as an entire month before we were working with the brand.
Something to keep in mind in fashion overall from an ad and strategy perspective is that you want to try and focus on selling the collection/brand instead of selling a single product. Unless you have massive volume behind the products and can replenish stock at the click of a finger.
When you focus on your specific products it’s easy to get people to buy that product, of course. But, if you don’t have the volume to back the sales you will quickly have to stop scaling. This has happened on occasion with some of our smaller brands who unfortunately didn’t have the capacity to keep the fuel on the fire, and therefore stunted their own growth and capacity for scale.
A secondary note here, is that the average order value will also rise as people are shopping an entire sale and will add a few more things to their basket as they are in a ‘sales frenzy’ state of mind, rather than just going on your site to grab the dress they’ve had their eye on that just got a price slash.
3. NAILING THE FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM ADS
Firstly, we would like to just raise a little piece of value around how to positively impact your CPM. Of course, when running effective campaigns this is a key metric for any brand, and so the impetus on this is high for us.
What we noticed on this particular brand account before we ran the large campaign, is that when the brand themselves accelerated their posting schedule to 5-7 times a day following a prior conversation we had with them around frequency of social media activity, the CPM came down a TON!
We compared this client (posting multiple times a day for 30 days) to clients posting 3-5 times a week and the CPM compared to them selling in the same niche, same audiences and similar price range was up to 50-60% lower.
The big thing to note about posting multiple times a day is that you’re also engaging a much bigger part of your audience organically. People engage on Facebook and Instagram which feeds the warm audiences in your funnel.
The Normal Company tip: POST, POST, POST. Go H.A.M!
So, what we have identified is that the absolute best practice in the fashion space is to post multiple times a day. Focus on delivering value here too.
Make these posts have the sole focus of building a community around your brand; get people commenting, build relationships, and form a connection between you and them. Get some style files posted, raise some questions and raise some eyebrows.
There’s no right or wrong way here, but more so about making things non-sale related and making sure the frequency is of a very high level.
If you think you’re posting a lot already, post more. Trust us on this.
4. CREATIVE IS THE VARIABLE
This was highlighted a little above, however to go a little deeper here the most important element to being successful on Facebook and Instagram at the moment is the creative. It’s the number 1 variable between success and failure, and rightly so.
…Would you buy from a brand which had poor creative? No.
That’s because a creative has to resonate with you or it won’t get a sale from you.
We see it all the time, the difference in running an account at a 2x return or a 5x return has most of the time nothing to do with audiences, ‘hacking’ the algorithm, manual bidding or anything like that. It’s almost always down to the creative that goes hand in hand with our process.
If you’re on board with us already, you would have definitely have had this conversation with us on a strategy call!
For this particular fashion brands’ account we had a lot of good creative to work with. They were very forthcoming with us and always have been when it comes to giving us a plethora of top quality videos, images, GIF’s and everything in between. Our dropbox is constantly replenished with bountiful content!
Anything we need, they were able to produce it and at a quick turnaround rate.
Speed is king.
With this large volume of content at our disposal we had from the brand, we created different videos for different steps of the funnel, all based around where the buyer was in their customer journey.
If you’re not running effective Facebook funnels at the moment, one key thing we would advise here is to refresh the content every 2-3 weeks if possible, especially on the high performing campaigns! Keep it fuelled, and you’ll keep growing.
The last thing you ever want to see is ad fatigue due to creatives becoming dead.
If you don’t focus on this creative part, you’re not going to be successful with Facebook ads at scale. You NEED creative, and you need it almost on tap.
If you don’t, there’s someone in your space that will be doing this and guess what?
They’ll be bigger than you and take your customers.
This is a big statement, yes.
So, how did we come to this conclusion?
Since dynamic creative appeared we’ve been working on a system of using this in all our creative testing.
The system we used to use was as follows:
• Campaign with 4 ad sets – all ad sets had 1x CPA as minimum budget (around 10% of the account spend for the campaign total)
• The ad set targeted the best performing audience, most of the time a 1% LLA works well for us.
• Every ad set had 3-5 ads and we would split out all of the videos, images, carousels and collections ads in a solid distribution.
5. CREATIVE TESTING THE NORMAL WAY 2.0
We warned you we would go a little nerdy here, and it’s about to be so.
With dynamic creative, we have tried to simplify this process a bit. We now use the following process:
We create a dynamic creative campaign with again the best performing audience (1% LLA or Customer List)
We test this again at minimum 1x CPA and let it run to 3x CPA so we can see what the winning combination is. We then take the winning post ID from the dynamic creative and see how this performs on it’s own. We also turn this winning combination into a collection ad to see how this performs.
At the same time we create a dynamic creative version around the best product or best image/video combination to see if we can optimise this one further.
The winners out of this test we move into the scaling campaign.
If we don’t need new creative in that campaign because performance is good, we put the creative in a PPE campaign for engagement and build out the creative library.
Don’t stop this process, just rinse and repeat, and keep it in an evolution cycle.
The type of creative that worked best for this particular brand were high quality HD video ads (both normal and collection) and carousel ads. (Also note your video ads need to be the right format for Facebook / Instagram placements).
So, with this being said we would clearly recommend you get some epic video content produced. It’s worth doing this, and doing this well, as with the right Facebook strategy in place you can really scale to the moon.
Your investment into content can be paid back 100X over with the likes of our system in place. It’s often the main thing we need from you!
6. A DIFFERENT TACTIC TO PLAY
There are a couple of other things we’ve tested that have produced wild scale for a couple of fashion brands, and this brand in particular reaped the reward by having the following in place:
A simple CBO going out to cold audiences.
We put different products/collections in different CBO’s and used a strong variety of audiences in each separate CBO.
When we found a clear winning audience within a performing campaign we would put this into its own campaign with 6 duplicates to see how it performed on its own.
We saw that big audiences performed better and created a structure where we would spend 40% of our budget on small lookalikes, 40% of budget on bigger lookalikes of up to 10% and audiences of up to around 20 million people, and finally we would allocate 20% of the budget on broad audiences specifically.
We will mention it again in case you missed it: The key for this campaign working so incredibly was the fact that we could cycle through creatives and have a fresh load of files at our fingertips.
For retargeting something we were really successful with in this account is targeting the email list in a separate campaign, split into different audience segments.
Aside from this, what we also did was retargeted the bottom of the funnel audience twice over. We created 2 campaigns targeting the same audience of people that added to cart.
We were getting around $1.50 add to carts so these audiences were massively effective.
Campaign A – Conversion Campaign with DPA ad targeting the add to carts, we kept the segments big enough (3 day and 4-10 days) as we saw performance was best in bigger audiences.
Campaign B – This was a simple reach focussed campaign with strong creative video ads, targeting the exact same audiences as campaign A with a 100% overlap to hit them with a different piece of content. This worked like clockwork.
This strategy worked extremely well and delivered a 10x+ ROI on both campaigns.
If you held on here right until the end, you’re serious about 2020!
We hope this was of value, as these exact strategies and hacks entailed are what we used to grow a fashion brand to $308K in sales on one campaign alone.
The mad rush that is Black Friday and Cyber Monday is upon us. We are prepping our ‘Normal’ brands for some huge revenue busting figures come the end of it all. It’s expected to be a year bigger and better than last year, which heaved in a record of $6.2 BILLION in the US market in online sales alone.
But, with every brand scrapping for the attention of the end consumer, will your brand REALLY hit those targets you set out to?
Here’s our Normal Company essential tips to soak the most out of the shopper frenzy..
1: Start Hyping NOW
A Black Friday promotion when done correctly, creates FOMO and drives impulse buys better than any other time of year. However, the brands that really win at this game are the ones that give their followers, email lists and previous customers a little heads up.
Why does this work?
It’s the simple hype strategy, with the edge of the first mover advantage.
Remember, you are battling with 1000’s of other stores for those credit card details come the start of the weekend, and if you leave it too late, you are susceptible to being pushed out of the way by the stores that capture your customer’s attention first. If you can get in early, and create some hype about what is to come, you already have your customer’s attention, and are wetting their appetite by letting them browse the site, already anticipating making the purchase once the discounts become available.
Who does this well?
Maniere De Voir as you can see here, have been hyping their massive 70% off promotion since the 17th November. This would have generated some huge intrigue and anticipation, allowing their loyal fans to essentially know what they are going to be in for, ahead of time. This has been done in such a way, it is similar to an event. A ‘save the date’ hype strategy which will have their customers on the edge of their sofa, with their wallets ready.
You can bet that their revenue figures will hit some very interesting numbers after BFCM.
2. Have Instant Offers
Black Friday is all about discounts and deals, and you’ll be dealing with seasoned shoppers who want to get the best deals and products for their money. So with this in mind, you need to place your deal in full view; from the moment people land on your site, add items to their cart and even after they’ve checked out.
The key here really is a key principle of success here at The Normal Company; make it easy.
Make things as easy as possible for customers to buy from you. Ramp up that conversion rate by eliminating as many barriers of sale as possible and guess what? You will get more sales.
When people have to search for deals or codes, especially during a big rush such as Black Friday, this creates a barrier which is most definitely unwanted for you, as the customer might end up going to a competitor if they cannot find a good enough promotion. So, you’ll need to give people instant access to discount codes, and make them easy to see. Spam that thing all over your social media, bang it on the front page of your site, and put it on every page as a banner. Promote it like a Kardashian, and break the internet. Don’t hold back.
Click on their site and you are not going to miss their 30% discount offer. As a shopper lands on their site, there will not be a single person that will be missing this, and so this will get them into buying mode instantly.
3. Anticipating things to BLOW UP? Get your customer service ready.
As an online shopper, you expect good, fast and reliable customer service. Especially at this ripe time of year when a ton of online sales are gifting; customers want to get it right first time when buying for someone other than themselves. LivePerson did a study revealing that 83% of online shoppers actively seek out help while they shop online.
If you have a scarcity of customer service on your website it will only fill your shoppers with doubt and make them uneasy about completing a purchase. At this peak part of the season when you are wanting some big revenue pumps, you need to be prepared for an influx of customer enquiries and questions. Be on hand, and invest into your site to ensure that you have everything a customer would need in order to have their questions answered, and fast.
You need to have your live chat, FAQ’s, size guides, customer support lines and returns policy as accessible as your offers for Black Friday. If any of these integral parts is unavailable before a sale, it’s most likely to be unavailable after a sale, and thus will create doubt, and leave you without the sale.
ASOS are killin’ the game when it comes to fashion e-commerce, and we are constantly reviewing why, in order for our brands to be ahead of the market. One key factor in ASOS’s rapid expansion and growth, is that their ASOS Stylists Live Chat is always on hand. If you have specific requirements such as particular sizing or needing any form of advice, you literally feel as though you are in a store, speaking with a genuine stylist.
Shore this stuff up, and get maximum ROI and conversion rates.
Ever sitting there with ‘Gram-Whiplash’ thinking what the hell just happened with the time?
You went to check Instagram for a couple of minutes to pass the time, only to end up losing 48 minutes of your day…
Your favourite influencers and brands probably had something to do with that.
…and the main culprit for attention grabbing and sending you down a deep, dark rabbit hole?
In 2017 Instagram launched this new carousel format, which allows users to add up to ten images or videos to a swipeable single post. It didn’t take long for the new feature to gain popularity, especially in the influencer and fashion space which expectedly, adopted it in a warm embrace.
Additionally, high roller brands have been quick to pounce, using the carousel to promote look books, entire collections in one post, and capsule wardrobes in one ‘gram.
Attention is a key metric for brand success. If you don’t have it, you don’t have an audience, and if you don’t have an audience…
Some of our favorite influencers that our brands at The Normal Company work with are out there showing brands why they’re missing out if they haven’t made carousel posts a regular and integral part of their content flow.
Influencers leverage the feature to add an extra layer to their partnerships, and showcase everything from their carefully procured trips to Hvar, selfie styles in the bedroom mirror, to 5 different ways to wear a blazer in Winter 2019.
With this becoming a top trend to stay relevant, and with the average engagement per post being around 35%+ on a standard post, (The Normal Company campaign analytics September 2019) we highly recommend that you stay ahead of the curve, and get your influencers to post your products in a carousel layout.
Giulia Nati’s account @giulianatiofficial posts mainly single image shots, however to mix it up she will post carousel images that depict a ‘story’ of her day, or in this instance on a brand collab, the carousel image comes into it’s own to showcase how the front and back of her outfit is truly unique, giving an instant experience with her audience as to how unique her particular daily wear is.
Giulia not only knows how to work her angles in the latest fashions, but she knows how to put her content to work too, which makes her a very good choice for our luxury womens labels to work with on a consistent basis.
The data on the back of these posts is astounding, and when used in comparison to single image content posts, we also see the back end metrics lining up nicely for us to add in our Normal Formula, to scale brands in this peak part of the calendar. High quality traffic gets generated, which allows us to fully leverage the influencer collaboration to maximum capacity and sales ROI.
There you have it; the hidden lever for content performance on Instagram for some of the top brand influencers.
With the Instagram algorithm always swinging in strange ways, you need to up the ante when it comes to how you collaborate with influencers to get maximum returns. Influencers work, and always will work, but only with the right system in place and staying ahead of your environment.
“A design collaboration with style inspiration from the 10M+ followers of the MenWith Instagram accounts. This has resulted in a collection of updated key items for supreme style, every day.”
Nowadays, every brand who is striving for success and growth has an influencer strategy. Actively seeking the fashionpreneurs, latest hyped individuals, reality TV stars and best models of which closely align to select core values of the brand.
This strategy is tried and true, with influencers obviously playing a core part in driving bucket loads of traffic to a store, with a simple endorsement of a branded product.
This is something that we at The Normal Company, are 100% in agreement with for brands to do. However, this is becoming more and more saturated as each year goes by, and the influencer craze is becoming a blood bath that as consumers get wiser, and the #ad hashtag gets used more frequently than a Valencia filter, brands have to show a little more innovation when it comes to collaboration, in order to step up their game and step up their brand impact in competitive markets such as fashion.
A TRUE collaboration, fit for the current influencer-saturated world we live in today.
@menwithclass have collaborated with H&M for their latest HMx collection. With an instagram account following of just shy of 5 million, and 10 million accumulatively across all of the ‘men with’ accounts such as @menwithstreetstyle, the Men with Class accounts are a brand in themselves. Embodying the very latest trends of the modern man, and encouraging gents worldwide to adopt the top trends in which they showcase.
@menwithclass owners Erik & Daniel have amassed a cult following of men all seeking to get inspiration from their content, and H&M knows it. The collection embodies this and their exact style preferences in a capsule collection of basics and subtly branded #MenWith garments that portray the style aspired to be achieved by their following.
This, is a power collaboration.
A collaboration which asks a ready and waiting crowd the question ‘What do you want?’ built from the exact needs of a follower base, and the fashion inspiration in which millions of men worldwide are looking for, and actively seeking whenever they hop onto Instagram.
By looking at the posts with most views, comments and general engagement, H&M collaborated with MenWith to create a capsule collection which looked at this data, and provided the exact styles and items. The collaboration includes a knitted roller neck, two soft hoodies, plain t-shirts, sunglasses, suede caps and the statement biker jacket.
The saying goes ‘place a burger van where there is a starving crowd’ and it’s safe to say that the #MenWithxHM collection does this to mass effect.