Forbes covered the launch of Poppin, a new vertical online retailer, back in September. With one quarter now under its belt, we revisited with CEO, Randy Nicolau, and CMO, Kevin Ranford, to learn how the company, which is selling products to define people’s workstyle, is driving growth.
Brandon Gutman: Since Poppin’s official launch last September, has consumer response and demand been in line with your expectations?
Randy Nicolau: Yes, we are excited to have successfully driven demand in two distinct markets, both consumer and corporate. The consumer market has already driven thousands of transactions for us in our first three months since launch, and the corporate market has driven five to six figure orders.
What did the competitive landscape look like?
Randy Nicolau: One of the competitive advantages Poppin has is that we design what we sell, rather than being strictly a re-seller, which allows us to provide our customers with consistent style and quality across all of our product categories. Further, since our launch last September, Poppin has successfully created a new “workstyle” shopping category and validated the demand for fashion-forward, design-focused products for one’s work-lifestyle.
Are you seeing repeat purchases from you customers?
Randy Nicolau: Yes, we are very pleased with our repeat purchase rates just three months out of the gate from launch. It’s encouraging to see our customers come back so quickly as well as to shop cross-category – in other words, a customer may have initially purchased from our desktop category, and then came back and shopped our furniture category.
What was one of the biggest challenges from a Marketing standpoint and what was the result?
Kevin Ranford: One of the biggest challenges we faced in Marketing was in creating Holiday gifting demand in a category previously lacking. We we’re confident “Back to School” and “New Year, New You (organization)” occasions would be hugely relevant for Poppin; however, we effectively had to create the gifting opportunity in our category, and we are very pleased with the outcome. We experienced significant sales volume over Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, which was a solid sign that we were on to something for Holiday. Our customers shopped across our category assortments for gifts, and we were especially pleased with the response to our monogrammed notebooks, as we continue to build out our personalization category. From an advertising perspective, getting in front of in-market shoppers across multiple marketing channels, leveraging compelling lifestyle imagery as well as engaging copy helped establish Poppin as a new gifting destination over the Holidays.
What has your marketing mix looked like since launch, and where have you experienced the biggest successes?
Kevin Ranford: We were excited to see successes in multiple marketing channels; SEM, Display, Email, Affiliates and Social Media in particular. Display ads provided us with an opportunity to get our uniquely differentiated product imagery in front of engaged in-market shoppers in real-time. Brands such as Warby Parker and Fab.com illustrate the strong trend in e-comm toward fashion-forward product design, and display ads are one of the best ways to get product images in front of customers online – even more so for impulse buying product categories. We also leveraged our DSP to get at new opportunities such as Facebook Ad Exchange (FBX). And we promoted our charity partnership with Pencils of Promise in our Social Media programs.
How did Poppin leverage its differentiated breadth of color?
Kevin Ranford: Our “shop by color” functionality drove home one of Poppin’s unique differentiators in market, providing Holiday shoppers with a wide breadth of color options across our multiple product categories (ie: furniture, desktop, technology & more). This played well with in-market shoppers as we can tailor promotions to match their color preferences/goals, serving up relevant products cross-category in shoppers’ desired colors directly via our online display ad program and other marketing channels.
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