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Combining StitchFix and Instagram, FlipFit ushers in the next phase of social retail

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Nooruldeen Agha, has been thinking about what’s next for fashion retail for years.

The serial entrepreneur behind the Dubai-based online fashion retailer, Elabelz and marketing studio Elephant Nation had always wanted to redesign the shopping experience for how customers actually shopped in stores and online.

“If it was 1994 and we knew what technology is today and we want to reinvent this [shopping] experience… one thought was how we bought our whole life and how we go to the mall,” says Agha.

Shopping is, for most people, a social activity. Friends go to the mall or department store together to try on clothes and ask each other for advice. Most online and offline shopping experiences are completely divorced from that, Agha said.

“Fashion shopping has always been a social experience,” said Agha, co-founder and co-CEO of Flip, in a statement. “The decision for today’s shoppers to buy happens once they receive validation from friends and family, but e-commerce has made shopping very isolating. We are connecting the social behaviors of shopping, which were previously only possible offline, with a virtual experience.”

So he wanted to take the social aspects of Instagram and the subscription box and retail elements of StitchFix to create the new Los Angeles-based startup, Flip Fit. 

But to do it, Agha needed a push. His businesses in Dubai were successful, he says, and there was no need for him to pursue another new venture — especially one in America.

Then he met Jonathan Ellman at the Summit conference in Los Angeles.

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“We met at a party.  At midnight,” Ellman says. “At 10 o clock the next morning we were sitting on a balcony talking to each other and  came to an understanding that Noor with his dynamics and understanding the industry… that he could not stay in Dubai.”

Ellman has a history as an investor and an operator. He was the founder of the scout program at GreatPoint Ventures and spent years at HoneyBook. And he knew immediately that Agha’s idea had legs.

For the next year, the two laid the foundation for the business. Noor had all of the connections already. Elabelz was pulling in $23 million in revenue off of the sale of 150,000 boxes of clothes — so the logistics and fulfillment and brand partnerships would be a breeze. The company has 200 brands that have already signed on as of today’s launch including: AG, JBrand, Hudson, Retrobrand, Boyish, MadeWorn, Junkfood, Mavi and Edwin.

FlipFit works by creating a social network based on friends and followers. The company isn’t borrowing from Facebook or Instagram, but instead is trying to build out its network from scratch. Users of the app are encouraged to take vote on selfies their friends take in different outfits. Each vote garners in-app cash that can be redeemed whenever someone purchases an item ($10 for each new voting user and $1 per vote).

As users vote on the styles they like, they can also add clothes to a virtual wardrobe. When they’re ready they can select a few styles from that closet to be shipped out to them to try on. If the user doesn’t like the clothes, then they just return it.

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The mechanics aren’t that different from a number of other online retailers, but the difference is in the company’s decision to create an entirely new social graph.

Initially, Agha and Ellman are tapping influencers to hook in their target customers. Over the next 90 days roughly 500 influencers across social media will be encouraging their audiences to vote on different outfits using the FlipFit app. The influencers are getting $150 in store credit twice-a-month or getting paid sponsorships (depending on the size of their following). The outfits with the most votes are the ones that the influencers will keep… training their audiences on the mechanics of how to shop as they market the product.

Agha says that the user experience is most akin to TikTok or Snap,rather than Instagram. There’s a publicly available feed for those who want to use it or the feed can be made private and shared among friends. And the app is only available for children 13 and up.

On the business side, the company is keeping 33% of the cash from any item sold. It’s cut is higher, because FlipFit handles all of the back end logistics of shipping and returns, according to the co-founders. Every box the company ships includes the standard pre-printed return label.

“Returns are our default. While the rest of the industry is fighting this phenomena, we are leaning into it,” said Jonathan Ellman, co-founder and co-CEO of Flip. “Almost half of all fashion shoppers bracket their online purchases, buying several pieces to try on at home with the intention of returning what doesn’t fit or what doesn’t match what they saw online. We believe returns should be as easy as the purchase and by making the shopping process more efficient and effective, we’re keeping clothes out of landfills and in your closet.”

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The company is, to date, backed by a $3.75 million seed round led by TLV Partners with participation from Lool Ventures.

“Flip is the evolution of social media and e-commerce — birthing the baby of Istagram and Amazon and creating the first physical product marketplace where your likes and actions impact the products you receive,” says Rona Segev, a general partner at TLV.

MARKETING

The HubSpot Blog’s 2022 Social Media Marketing Report: Data from 310 Marketers

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The HubSpot Blog's 2022 Social Media Marketing Report: Data from 310 Marketers


In our recent Marketing Trends survey, we learned that social media is the most effective channel marketers leverage, as well as the channel they use most.

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MARKETING

How to Grow Your Customer Base

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How to Grow Your Customer Base


Every business owner wants more, is never satisfied with the customer base, and will do whatever is required to grow their brand and increase conversions. That’s because the growth of your company is directly dependent on customer base growth.

Especially the ones that keep returning to patronize your business after their initial purchase. But customer base growth is tough work. And if you don’t know what you do, you’ll end up wasting resources on endeavors that yield little to no results.

However, today we have a ton of skill sets, tools, resources, strategies, and information at our disposal than ever before that can help ease up the process. How do you take advantage of all of them to boost your business?

Do you run a loyalty program? Or launch a referral program for customer acquisition? Or do you opt for traditional marketing?

What are the most powerful ways to boost your customer base? We’ll help you out with the answer in this article. But first, we’ll define a few basic terms to ensure that we’re on the same page.

Let’s get started.

What is Your Customer Base?

Your customer base is made up of your repeat customers. These are buyers who keep returning to your business to purchase more of your services and products. They are loyal as well as display loyalty to your brand, even engaging with it on various platforms and channels.

These people are your organization’s most prized assets. So when we talk about “customer base”, we mean buyers who don’t just patronize your business once but who keep coming back for your offers.

What is the Difference Between Your Target Audience and Customer Base?

Your target audience is made up of the people that your product or services are made for and that you want to purchase your offer but haven’t yet. These people are the wide pool where your customer base is gotten from. Your customer base, on the other hand, is made up of your current customers who keep purchasing from you.

How Do You Know the Size of Your Customer Base?

The size of your customer base can be calculated through various means but the simplest way to do so is to capture the data of every prospect turned buyer via a contact detail like an email address. This way you can know the people who buy from you and generate offers that suit them.

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Steps to Grow Your Customer Base

Let’s have a look at the various ways you can boost your customer base:

1. Use User Generated Content

Fashion retailer Monsoon requests shoppers to share photos of themselves using their product, which are then used on their website.

User-Generated Content is brand content created by customers. The thing is, people would likely listen to a fellow consumer talk about how great your product is based on their personal experience than if you do it yourself. So obviously you need to improve your customers’ experience with your products before encouraging them to produce content about their experience.There are so many ways to encourage user-generated content.

Take the chips brand, Doritos, for example. To keep customers engaged with the brand and generate user content, they launched a website doritoslegionofthebold.com that allows users to create branded videos and images that the company shares on its social media platforms.

You can also create a social media giveaway that involves customers making Instagram posts using your product with a caption about their experience and the best one wins a reward. These posts are then reposted by your official page and prospects can see what other people think about your offer and this motivates them to trust your brand and make a purchase.

2. Referral Program

Casper mattress referral program

Just because people like your product doesn’t mean they’ll recommend it to others. It’s your duty as a brand seeking to boost its customer base to induce this behavior via incentives, which is what a referral program is. Consumers believe the opinion of their family and friends more than they do yours and that’s where the power of referral marketing comes in.

You tell your existing customers to promote your business to people in their circle and in exchange, reward them for their actions. So not only are they telling people about their experience with your business because they love it but they get a reward for doing so, which motivates them further.

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Here’s how fashion brand Rent the Runway does it. They run a referral program that offers $30 in store credit to customers in exchange for them referring the business to their colleagues and friends. And in addition the referred friend also gets $30 in credit for use in the store.

3. Engage Your Customers and Ensure they’re Satisfied

Starbucks loyalty program incentives

The primary way to build a customer base is to ensure that you retain your customers. One-off purchases have their place but if you intend to grow as a business you need customer retention. And the only way to do this is to ensure that they’re engaged, happy, and satisfied.

How do you achieve this? Loyalty programs.

A great loyalty program works by offering existing customers a reward for continuous patronization of your business. The rewards can be discounts after say 5 purchases, or a free product or service after a specific number of purchases. With loyalty programs, you can even give specialized offers on the birthday of your customers to boost engagement and make them feel valued. Set up a recurring emails campaign to ensure your customers receive scheduled messages with special offers, discounts and promotions.

The whole idea is to show your customer that you value their continuous support of your business and at the same time, you get them to make recurring purchases with the reward as an incentive.  

Jillian Michaels runs a fitness app that does this excellently. The app offers badges to users once they complete particular tasks to ensure that the customer feels appreciated as they use the app. In this way she incentivizes customers to use and subscribe to the app as they feel valued with each reward.

Another way to ensure that your customers are happy and engaged is by offering stellar customer service. If buyers have questions and they’re unable to get answers, problems will arise. Customer retention is most demanding after a buyer is through with their purchase. So you need to provide your current customers a place where they can return to ask questions to give feedback. For example, you can use a cloud phone system for your business to deal with customer inquiries faster and therefore understand your customers’ pain points beter.

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After all, adhering to quality feedback from a customer can help to build your customer base as well because it means solving an issue that bothers customers that you may not be aware of.

Lastly, consider using your knowledge to continually offer educational content that your customers will find valuable and keep them engaged with your platform.  For instance, let’s say that you run a popular SaaS that helps salespeople keep track of their sales pipeline.  It’s obvious that your customers are interested in sales skills, so it would be wise to invest in an online course platform and invite sales specialists from within your company or outside of it to help create a free educational course about sales skills that can provide a ton of value for your customers.  

Conclusion

Growing your customer base involves a lot of work and sometimes can get confusing. However, with the right tips, you can craft powerful strategies as we have seen in this article that will help to not only grow your customer base but keep your customer satisfied and engaged.

With a referral program, for example, you can retain customers by keeping them engaged with the goal of finding new customers and receiving an incentive. In the same breath, you also attract new customers who believe in the recommendation of their family member or colleague more than yours.  Others like loyalty programs help you ensure that your customers are happy and satisfied while enticing them to make recurring purchases from your brand.

So why the wait? Get started!



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5 Social Media Predictions Marketers Got Wrong Last Year

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5 Social Media Predictions Marketers Got Wrong Last Year


The world around us is constantly changing — it only makes sense that the marketing world does too.

Every year, marketers pull out the crystal ball to predict trends and shifts in the coming year. Sometimes we’re right on the tail — and other times the social media marketing landscape surprises us.

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