The man online
Client: GAZ MAN
Digital Agency: Reactive
Ecommerce Platform: Codagenic cStore
GAZ MAN is a national menswear retailer, with over 40 stores across Australia.
With a loyal customer base and a large retail store network, GAZ MAN has been growing steadily. While the growth of the bricks-and-mortar store network has been a reliable strategy, GAZ MAN was seeking new ways to expand their business.
As a new avenue for growth, GAZ MAN was keen to launch an online store, but with limited in-house ecommerce expertise, itneeded an experienced partner to help establish the online channel effectively.
The brand knows that many of their customers live in rural or regional Australia, and visit their stores infrequently. An online store was seen as an ideal solution to target these customers and encourage them to purchase more often.
With a number of questions to be answered about the best approach to selling online, GAZ MAN needed a digital agency partner who could provide strategic advice, develop a compelling online customer experience, and support the online store with ongoing marketing activity in order to maximise ROI.
The objectives of the new GAZ MAN online store were simple:
? Drive incremental revenue via a new channel
? Provide their customers with a safe, easy and highly satisfactory shopping experience
? Increase the total volume of sales – both in-store and online
? Build an active customer base of frequent shoppers, and
? And ensure customers continue to return for repeat purchases.
With no previous experience selling online, a key objective of the project was to support GAZ MAN through best-practice advice, strategy and execution. GAZ MAN was very clear that the key objective of the project to drive incremental sales volume across all channels, while still providing an exceptional level of customer service.
With this in mind, the new site was to be less about brand and lifestyle content and more about retail: product, price, value, service and promotion.
The issues faced by the brand building an online sales channel were similar to those faced by many retailers when embarking on an ecommerce project. While it had an existing website, the site was previously simply a catalogue of products available to buy in-store and a listing so customers could find their nearest store. With little compelling content, both visitor numbers and repeat visits were low.
With a strong retail brand and store network, the website attracted visitors familiar with the brand, but did not attract high volumes of new customers or provide reasons to return to the site regularly.
While designing and building a new ecommerce website was a core requirement of the project, a lot of work behind the scenes needed to happen to ensure the new channel would be a success.
GAZ MAN has an established and effective bricks and mortar retail channel and their warehousing, logistics and support functions were set-up to ensure the efficient distribution of product into their national store network.
To effectively establish an online store, significant changes to allow picking and packing of individual items were required. Reactive and GAZ MAN worked closely to ensure the order processing, picking, packing and logistics would work seamlessly, with GAZ MAN able to manage incoming orders effectively, track returns and exchanges and provide high quality customer support.
As a strategy to increase order values and drive multiple products per order, free shipping was made available for orders over $100, with flat-rate shipping of $10 per order for anything under that threshold.
While this was in progress, Reactive worked with the brand to develop a pre-launch marketing strategy designed to build their email marketing database, with a high profile promotion. By focusing marketing activity on in-store promotion, search and social network advertising, Reactive were able to cost-effectively attract many thousands of customers to sign-up to GAZ MAN’s email mailing list.
To coincide with the launch of the new store, the project team re-designed GAZ MAN’s email marketing activities with a stronger focus on product promotion and conversion, encouraging direct response with stronger retail calls to action.
“While we have a lot of experience in designing and delivering ecommerce websites, it’s always a challenge to identify the unique aspects of any brand and ensure the online store reflects those,” said Stephen Foxworthy, strategy director at Reactive. “For GAZ MAN, we knew an uncomplicated online retail experience would match the needs of their customers perfectly. The brand creates stylish basic and fashion items allowing men to dress with confident style, comfort and value, and we wanted to reflect this experience online.”
The new online store is a single-minded online retail experience. The site clearly presents GAZ MAN’s range of men’s fashions, and provides an uncluttered and streamlined shopping experience.
The site’s design is heavily focused on presenting the apparel attractively both as single items and also by ‘solution selling’ with key looks. GAZ MAN knows their customers often buy complete outfits, so the ability to recommend styles that work well together was a key requirement.
Key to the success of the online store is the ease of use and simplicity of finding products, adding them to the cart and buying. With an older customer base than the average online shopper it was important to ensure the site was as simple to use as possible.
The results have been outstanding. The new online store launched at the end of October, with a flourish of marketing and promotion in-store, via search and social media advertising and email database.
Traffic to the website and engagement metrics for visitors has been overwhelmingly positive. In the period from launch to the end of 2010, visits to the site grew by over 250 percent, with more than six times as many pages viewed. Time spent on the website nearly doubled, while the bounce rate declined by 20 percent. Crucially, repeat visits increased by nearly 17 percent, ensuring that customers who knew about the website were returning in their droves.
“While increasing the reach, awareness and traffic to the website was a great result, all of that activity is meaningless if people aren’t buying when they get there,” said Foxworthy.
Thankfully, the performance of the online store has been nothing short of exceptional. Average transaction value is approximately 140 percent that of an in-store shopper. Following the pre-launch activity, GAZ MAN’s mailing list has grown by more than 300 percent, and every new email message triggers a surge of traffic, sales and new revenue.
In January, the online store ranks as the number one store store for performance over budget, with expectations that it will sit firmly in the top ten stores by volume within six months.
“Overall, we’re delighted with the performance of our online store,” comments Jim Nelson, ecommercer manager, GAZ MAN. “The success of our ecommerce has taken us slightly by surprise. While we knew our customers were ready to buy from us online, the sheer volume of purchases has wildly exceeded our expectations.”