In 2018, G-Star RAW, a famous global jeans brand, fully committed to focus on e-commerce even more, because that’s where growth is being realized. The shopping app that Highstreet launched in June 2019, played an important role in this digital strategy. And it paid off: the app conversion rate is 7,5 times higher than mobile web conversion rates. And even more important: customers love the app that is being appreciated with 4.8 star ratings on average!
Impact of COVID-19 on retail and e-commerce
The past few years have been a real transition for strong fashion brands: direct-to-consumer and online sales became more important. Now during Covid, you might even argue that it’s the most important channel. During the Covid pandemic, stores had to close in The Netherlands. But after reopening, stores got less traffic than before. In this period G-Star RAW experienced a boost for e-commerce. Now, the main revenue driver is online, and online sales are still growing.
Opportunity of improving conversion rates
Before deciding to go for a shopping app, G-Star RAW was monitoring the market. They were not convinced in the beginning. But their mobile website conversion rates were pretty low, while the trends showed that mobile was growing. Over time, G-Star RAW spotted more and more brands they admired who were really successful with a shopping app. They decided to go for an app and seized the opportunity to convert mobile users a lot better with an improved customer experience.
Platform app versus building it yourself
G-Star RAW has a big IT team and has a history in building online technology in-house. For the shopping app the company decided for a different route. G-Star RAW has a lot of website and backend expertise, but was lacking native app knowledge or experience. Besides, building your own app is a huge investment that takes a long time and causes a late go-to-market. And even more important, G-Star RAW wants to make sure that what they release is really appreciated by their customers. This was proved by the high appreciation from consumers for shopping apps delivered by Highstreet, expressed through high star ratings in the App Store.
From low to sky high conversion rates
Before launching the app, a challenge G-Star RAW had in growing online were the low conversion rates on the mobile website. Low compared to desktop, while mobile was getting a bigger share of total online business over time. One year after launch, the app conversion rate is 7,5 times higher than mobile web conversion rates. It grew even twice as fast as they anticipated. Revenue per app user is more than 7 times higher than the revenue of a mobile website user. Engagement is also much higher: customers visit the app approximately 3 times more often compared to desktop and mobile.
Growing app customers
Knowing that your app is outperforming your mobile website on that scale, it makes sense to grow your app user base. A simple measure that brought in the majority of the app customers for G-Star RAW, was by presenting a banner on the website. A portion of the web customers that love your brand will download the app. And if that app gives a great experience, customers will stick with it. Other measures G-Star RAW took in attracting more app customers were more campaign based. Think of incentives to download the app. During big sale campaigns, like Black Friday and Summer Sale, app customers get 1 or 2 days earlier access to that sale. A direct benefit to use the app. Customers embraced the app very quickly and one year after launch already a double digit percentage of revenue flowed through the app. That number being twice as high as what G-Star RAW expected at launch. Furthermore, almost half of all consumers who downloaded the app in the first year made a purchase. And the user base is growing strong.
Growing the app even more with loyalty programs
Engagement with apps is much higher than with websites. So one of the goals in growing online is to get more customers to use it. An effective way to do that is with loyalty. Loyalty and the app are a natural combination, because loyal customers typically already use the app.
G-Star RAW recently launched a global loyalty program. They acquire customers for their loyalty program in-store and get them to download the app. This is a perfect example of the strength of omnichannel where in-store and online interplay. The store makes sure customers become members of the program and download the app with online sales growth as a result. When the loyalty program is fully implemented, the app has potential to grow to even half of the online business.
Customers appreciate the app with 4.8 star ratings
G-Star RAW customers just love the app. The average rating in the App Store is 4.8 stars. The app gives G-Star RAW customers a much easier way to shop at the brand they love. It also gives a closer connection to the brand and earlier access to exclusives and sale. Overall: the G-Star RAW app delivers a great customer experience with the brand.
Being at the forefront of mobile technology
Thijs, CEO at Highstreet Mobile: “G-Star RAW loves the fact that we involve them in new Apple releases. For example the Apple Pay rollout in The Netherlands or the recent launch of App Clips. When Apple releases new features that are important in e-commerce, we will make sure to support it from Day 1. With our focus on innovation our customers are always at the forefront of mobile technology.”
Carefree shopping app platform
Brands like G-Star RAW who build all technology themselves, have huge IT teams and e-commerce teams. All these people are working on analyzing performance making improvements, planning roadmaps and features, and managing day to day work. For the shopping app, G-Star RAW doesn’t have to do any of that. At Highstreet we are driving the roadmap and features, implementation and testing. It’s like a carefree solution which makes day to day lives easier for the IT and e-commerce teams. By making use of the Highstreet shopping app platform, G-Star RAW can focus on presenting the brand to the consumer, and that’s what a fashion brand is all about.
We love working with G-Star RAW
Thijs van Schadewijk (CEO): “In the early days of Highstreet when we were just starting out, co-founder Christian Apers and I were driving by the G-Star RAW office, pointing towards it and saying “someday we’ll sign them.” And then laughing about it as it seemed an impossible goal as G-Star RAW was known for building technology themselves. Four years later we signed them. G-Star’s e-commerce management told me they chose Highstreet because of the high ratings customers gave us in the App Stores. This made me proud as the consumer experience is a key focus of our whole team.”
Thijs concludes: “We have a special relationship with G-Star RAW. There is this technical synergy between our teams. We have a good relationship with IT, marketing and e-commerce teams and we work closely together on many different levels. G-Star RAW has a great culture and we are committed to make their e-commerce a success.”