How the app grew 50% year on year and accounts for one third of total online business

Interview with Jerome Orlemans, Head of E-commerce & Dimitar Petkov, Webshop Manager at marlies|dekkers.
Highstreet Mobile

Highstreet Mobile

From low expectations to skyrocketing online results: the marlies|dekkers app has an outstanding performance and is still growing. marlies|dekkers, a famous Dutch lingerie and swimwear brand founded in 1993, decided to reboot the company in 2013. The goal was a full digital transformation, and the launch of the marlies|dekkers shopping app in 2016 fitted perfectly in that strategy.

Chart: apps growing user share of total
Growing user share of the Marlies Dekkers app

From offline to online

Jerome, Head of E-commerce at marlies|dekkers: “Right after the reboot the company fully changed from an offline to online focus. Online, which was only a few percent of our turnover at that time, is now about 65% of our total turnover! It was and still is an incredible journey.”

Before the reboot, marlies|dekkers focused heavily on offline, B2B, wholesalers, and retail. Nowadays their focus is on online with offline business. This digital transformation is not just about being present online, but about being online savvy and oriented as a company. Jerome: “Our marketing studio primarily focused on creating offline point of sales materials and advertisements. Now their main focus is creating videos, banners and digital journeys.”

“We were not convinced that people would take the effort to download an app specifically for something you only buy a few times per year. We were wrong.”

Jerome OrlemansHead of E-commerce at marlies|dekkers

50% year-over-year growth after app launch

Jerome: “At first we had some doubts on starting with an app. At that time, it was primarily for the bigger companies with broad product offerings. marlies|dekkers is focusing on a niche in a niche market. We didn’t believe it would help us grow our business, because we were not convinced that people would take the effort to download an app specifically for something you only buy a few times per year. We were wrong.”

Since the launch the app has been growing 50% year on year and covers one third of the total online business. Within the first 6 months it was already picking up. Dimitar, Webshop Manager at marlies|dekkers: ”The app not only helps as a channel to generate more revenue, but also enhances loyalty and customer life value. The average order value is lower in the app, but the frequency is much higher. This indicates that the app is easy to use and customers return to do a purchase, and that’s pretty cool.”

“Since the launch the app has been growing 50% year on year and accounts for one third of total online business.”

Dimitar Petkov – Webshop Manager at marlies|dekkers

Online growth by focusing on hotspots

In growing the company online it helped marlies|dekkers to have a strong fanbase (especially in the Benelux), a high quality product and a strong brand. marlies|dekkers has a  brand awareness of 95% in the Netherlands. The brand awareness abroad still has to grow. marlies|dekkers works with a growth strategy focused on hotspots, instead of targeting whole countries. Dimitar: “Creating international brand awareness is really costly. Instead we target certain areas where we have stores and/or where other retailers sell our products. In these hot-spots we combine offline, online and social media to reach the customer.”

Growing the app revenue

In growing the app revenue even more, the challenge is that the app should be promoted at the right time. Presenting a general pop-up on the website to download the app doesn’t make sense: visitors are just getting in touch with the brand. Jerome: “Promoting the app becomes more interesting in a later stage, after that first purchase. We created an automatic journey explaining that we have an app that brings a better shopping experience.” Dimitar: “We don’t just rely on organic growth of the app base. We give enough reasons to download the app, like early access and exclusive offers for app users. In this way we help customers to transition to our app, where we can give an improved branded shopping experience.”

Enhanced online shopping experience

Jerome: “We are an exclusive qualitative brand, so we need online environments that are also incredible. Usability has to be great and needs to show the love and attention that we put in our products and customers as well. Highstreet is focused on UX and design. The people at Highstreet have in-depth knowledge of what helps customers and the brand and understand that as a brand you want to offer your customers a superior experience. And that’s exactly what the app shows directly. It’s easier to consume content, for example new collection movies. The app is just faster than the mobile site.” Dimitar: “The whole browsing experience is a feature that you can’t realize on a mobile website. For example the way the zoom works. It’s almost organically by just pressing on the image. And this is not left unseen by our customers. Our app is being valued with 4,8 stars in the App Store and we receive amazing reviews.”

App reviews for marlies|dekkers

App as fuel for loyalty 

Dimitar: “It has obviously been a great help in generating revenue, but also in increasing loyalty. We see that app customers are more loyal. The app also allowed us to have another channel for directly communicating with our customers. Of course we have email, web and newsletters, but having an app notification where we can instantly ping a message towards our customers, that’s just amazing.” 

Jerome: “At marlies|dekkers, the app is not just a product catalogue with the goal to check-out. The most important thing for a fashion brand is to be relevant and to have a story. It’s not only about selling, but also about storytelling. Image-wise it’s always top notch. We fuel our customers with our brand, not just product shots.  Our unique approach towards the app leads to loyal customers in the long term.”

“We are an exclusive qualitative brand, so we need online environments that are also incredible.”

Jerome OrlemansHead of E-commerce at marlies|dekkers

SaaS partners

marlies|dekkers prefers to work with SaaS partners instead of building their own technical solutions. Jerome: “Our website is built on Salesforce Commerce Cloud, another SaaS solution just like Highstreet. We want to focus on our customers, on the marketing and sales part and not the technical part. Highstreet is focused on developing the app and making sure that we are making use of the latest features. That kind of attention from our company is not possible. We are very pleased that Highstreet is on top of that and making the right choices in that.” 

Dimitar: “The Highstreet app is a true SaaS platform. Easy onboarding and no heavy implementation that would take months or even years. It’s scalable, hassle free and always up to date. We don’t have to worry about the app itself. All we have to do is to present our brand in it. By working with Highstreet, it allowed us to have more time to focus on the right things. From whatever perspective you are looking at the app: it just works and it always does. You don’t need an explanation as a user in Studio CMS nor as a end-customer using the app. Everything is very well designed.”

“I love the navigation of the app and the messaging part and the simpleness of content management.”

Jerome Orlemans – Head of E-commerce at marlies|dekkers

Working with Highstreet

Jerome: “We’ve worked with Highstreet for 4 years now and there is a real collaboration. I like their approach on UX and design. Also, our input is being appreciated in further developing their app and new features on the roadmap.” 

Dimitar: “Only design and tech enthusiasts work at Highstreet and they are continuously focused on delivering the best apps. A memorable thing about Highstreet is that whenever I’m in contact with them, I always feel inspired afterwards. There is always something new going on, a new feature or trend that is available in the app or coming soon. That’s awesome.”

“marlies|dekkers is a true love brand. The sheer joy that speaks from many of the app reviews makes that very clear. It’s a perfect match with our vision for the marlies|dekkers app to be the best way to experience the brand. For those fans, the app becomes the brand.”

Thijs van Schadewijk – CEO at Highstreet
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