How one brand is growing a sustainable DTC business by optimizing the sales experience

Paul Gray, product marketing lead, Shopify Ecosystem

The past decade saw the pioneering of direct-to-consumer brands, with stalwarts such as Allbirds, Chubbies and FIGS building playbooks that proved a new retail model could work. Building products, setting up an online store and using acquisition marketing to grow a loyal base of customers saw many DTC brands reach global audiences and even stock market IPOs.

Yet the commerce landscape continues to evolve, with changes to advertising channels impacting acquisition, increased supply chain costs and growing challenges in managing returns and the post-sales experience.

Despite a continually evolving digital ad landscape, 41% of brands plan to increase paid and organic search investment, making it even more critical for DTC brands to optimize conversion and the pre-, during and post-sale experience.

Selecting the right apps to bolster the research and planning phase

In a space where the average jump rope was cheap and of poor quality, U.S. Navy veteran David Hunt forged a different path to create Crossrope, born from a desire to solve his own fitness needs. The startup grew organically as the team built an online store, tested new marketing channels and figured out how to make a community of repeat customers.

To deliver the best on-site experience and educate shoppers on what makes Crossrope different, Srdjan Popovic, Chief Marketing Officer at Crossrope, has reviewed and tailored the company’s tech stack to improve performance and deliver a streamlined shopping experience.

“We moved to Shopify three years ago, and it was largely the app ecosystem that brought us onto the platform,” he said. “We found that anytime we needed to do something on our legacy platform, it had to be custom-built, whereas, with Shopify, there were apps to solve all of our business needs.”

As a premium product, Crossrope customers put a lot of effort into researching and planning their purchases. The online store uses videos and imagery to show the product in use, and Popovic recognized the importance of using real customer stories to demonstrate how they use the product. To do this, he made use of the Yotpo app to combine reviews, photos, and ratings to make it easy for potential customers to see what others thought of the product.

User-generated content — such as before and after photos — combined with personal stories resonated strongly with customers. More than 18,000 five-star reviews of the brand provide them with assurance and lead to a conversion rate of 9.7% (compared to a benchmark of 4%).

Managing reviews is also key to the Crossrope team. The Yotpo app streamlines this process by facilitating scanning of reviews for trends and frequent comments that feed back into marketing tactics and product design strategies.

As the brand’s recognition grew, it saw the need to cater to the different requirements of customers in the U.S., Canada, Europe and beyond. Crossrope integrated Global-e’s platform, enabling a seamless localized shopping experience in more than 200 locations. Customers could shop and see real-time pricing in their own currency and more familiar payment options. Enabling this global reach led to a more than 20% increase in conversion rate and an improved experience for customers worldwide.

Improving the checkout to post-sales experience

To improve Crossrope’s checkout performance in terms of conversion rate and increased customer average order value, Popovic engaged with the Rebuy Personalization Engine. This app enables the brand to test out different messaging during checkout, from delivering personalized recommendations based on the customer acquisition channel and journey on-site to upselling via limited discounts and cross-selling accessories, such as a jumping mat to go with the Crossrope jump ropes.

The app automatically adjusts messaging, and its conversion tracking makes it easy to determine which tactics have the best effect. Crossrope already sees early results from these tactics with a 1% increase in AOV.

Recognizing the importance of the post-sales experience, Popovic looked at ways to engage customers after purchase. To gain insights, and learn more about how customers heard about Crossrope, what made them place their order, if anything could have been better with their experience and what other products customers might want to buy from the brand, the app Enquire was selected.

Enquire allows brands to create customized post-purchase surveys featuring multi-question workflows that automatically adjust based on responses. Since implementing this app, the brand has seen a 50% response rate from customers, providing them with meaningful insights into what channels are performing best.

Defining a DTC tech stack that delivers sustainable growth

Crossrope has made community a fundamental part of its marketing strategy since its founding. It has expanded this through large social communities and a mobile app that provides workouts and challenges, engages existing customers and serves as an acquisition channel for new customers.

Popovic encourages other brands to combine data with experimentation, examining every part of the funnel to make improvements. He subscribes to the newsletters of more than 200 DTC brands to continually assess what his team is doing against what he learns and gain ideas and inspiration as to how he can further refine Crossrope’s e-commerce tech stack and continue optimizing performance.

As the market for DTC brands continues to shift, focusing on customizing tech stacks to optimize critical points at each stage of the funnel — from enabling advertising and attracting site visitors, encouraging conversion and upsells, as well as cross-sells and repeat purchases after an initial sale is made — has allowed brands such as Crossrope to grow.

Sponsored By: Shopify