Ben Francis was a student when he started single-handedly sending out gym gear in jiffy bags from his garage. Eight years later, Gymshark was 2020’s success story, in part because of its superb social media presence and possibly the spike in public interest in lounge and leisure wear, but arguably because of its excellent use of Shopify and Shopify Plus’s functionalities.
As a vertical retailer,Gymshark designs and produces their products with no outsourcing so have always sold direct-to-consumer (D2C). However, with eyes on international growth, major expansion, and a costly Black Friday server failure in 2015, it also needed a reliable e-commerce platform that could scale on demand – a standard function of Shopify Plus, the platform’s enterprise-level offering.
More than just a quick and easy way to buy products, Gymshark cultivated a lifestyle and community from their brand. With Shopify Plus, Gymshark has been able to create immersive online and offline customer experiences by using a POS system to help organise world tours where customers can meet fitness idols as well as make purchases at expos and special events.
However, Shopify isn’t just for start-ups or growing businesses. We’ve seen the growing adoption of Shopify across existing large-scale brands too, including Heinz, Graze and Oatly. When Propeller created a brand-new Shopify Plus store for beloved tea company Twinings, it involved a full platform migration involving over 700 products. The online store had to be presented in a way that was clear and easy to use for the D2C shopper as well as B2B customers, particularly given that 26% of shoppers abandon their cart if the online process is too long or unclear, according to research from Barclaycard.
Products from premium, ready-mixed cocktail company Bols were previously found in bars, restaurants, and planes around the world. With the development of a new at-home range, the brand wanted to sell D2C and internationally, so engaging with customers and creating new content was crucial. Now selling in a B2B and D2C capacity, the Bols website utilises a custom storefront with full flexibility on design and layout for a content-rich customer experience.
BUBS Naturals saw on opportunity to sell its supplements and fitness nutrition products on Amazon as well as through Shopify, so revenue was previously split evenly. However, after upgrading to Shopify Plus, BUBS Naturals started rolling out new automatic functions including tiered discounts and discount codes based on tagged customer segments. With automated services on its side and no need for external services, BUBS Naturals has been able to bring operations entirely in-house.
One of the most compelling reasons to sell D2C is the opportunity to build relationships directly with customers. Gymshark utilises Shopify Scripts, which offers retailers the ability to write custom code to personalise the checkout experience and surprise customers with freebies or goodies that earn or reward loyalty. When there’s no third party to consider, retailers become free to do that however much is necessary.
Although, the beauty of bringing products directly to the consumer isn’t necessarily just about cutting out the middleman. When a brand is no longer fighting for space on the shelf, it has room to breath. Finding new and innovative ways to capture and retain customers’ attention and loyalty is easier when you’re able to see shopping patterns, collect data and monitor interactions. At least it is when your e-commerce platform can do these things and more with ease.