Fashionphile is an online resale site where consumers can buy and sell used luxury handbags, accessories, and jewelry. While Fashionphile is largely producing impressive results through its online efforts, it does have four brick-and-mortar locations. Three of those are in California (Beverly Hills, San Francisco, and Carlsbad) and one is in New York (Manhattan).
We recently heard Fashionphile absolutely crushed it over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so we were very interested in hearing the methods driving that e-commerce success. For that, we conducted a question and answer session with Fashionphile founder Sarah Davis. Here’s what she had to say:
Q: How early did you start preparing for Black Friday/Cyber Monday?
Sarah: Fashionphile is quite different from traditional e-commerce. As a two-sided business model, we both buy and sell preowned ultra-luxury accessories. This means that our assortment comes from the closets of our clients, as opposed to seasonal orders to refresh our inventory or a drop-ship model. For the supply side of the equation, we start several months in advance to ramp up our procurement operations and build our inventory in preparation for the high order volume of the holidays. We ran promotions to incentivize clients to sell with us, piloted a new, elevated VIP Concierge at-home pickup service in Manhattan to save our clients the hassle of shipping or dropping off their items, increased our retargeting and SEM (search engine marketing) budgets, as well as our daily procurement budgets.
Our demand-creation activities, however, don’t require quite as much runway. Our teams kicked off at the beginning of October.
Q: Did you base your strategy on past experience, advice you received, both, or something else?
Sarah: All of the above! We’ll be celebrating our 20th Anniversary in 2019, and with so many Black Fridays under our belts, there are a few tried and true elements of our strategy that we look to build upon annually. The most important thing we have learned is that we don’t need to feel like we need to match what everyone else is doing. We aren’t looking over our shoulders and trying to match or beat our competitor’s sale. We look at our own data, sales, and needs and set up our sales in a way that will benefit our customers and our bottom line.
A lot of what we executed on this year was a first for us. For example, we’ve put significant resources into building out our fine jewelry and watches category this year by expanding our lab and team of gemologists, horologists, and bench jewelers. So this was a perfect opportunity to put some unique marketing behind it to drive awareness and demand for Black Friday.
Our various agency partners were also instrumental in bringing new opportunities and ideas to the table to drive deeper integration across our marketing ecosystem. As an example, our digital, SEM, and PR agencies supported dedicated holiday gifting experiences like our Gift Guides for “HER” and “HIM”. We’ve seen strong engagement and sales from the Guides, particularly for “HIM”. We have a solid male customer base for a fashion company that has historically focused on handbags, and as we add the performance of this dedicated male-oriented digital experience as a data point to what else we’re seeing in the market, we’re beginning to plan how else we can expand and support our male clients and shoppers.
Q: What were the results?
Sarah: Black Friday was huge for us. Traffic increased by 52 percent, while transactions increased by 143 percent, and revenue increased by 200 percent year over year. Margins stayed strong, and for our ad spend specifically, we achieved a 17.07 ROAS, which is more than four times what’s needed to achieve profitability.
We’ve been incredibly fortunate that Fashionphile has consistently grown 50 percent year over year since our founding in 1999 — outpacing the growth of the fashion re-commerce category as a whole — and with very modest support in terms of traditional marketing. But Black Friday this year was really something else.
Q: What’s next? Now that a successful Black Friday/Cyber Monday is in the past, is there anything you’re doing in hopes of turning some of these seasonal shoppers into regular customers?
Sarah: Absolutely. Black Friday may be behind us, but the holiday season is still underway, and we’ve got a lot more in store through December.
Beyond the holidays, we have a few big initiatives underway to drive increased loyalty and retention — namely, a huge investment in our CRM (customer relationship management) platform and team. We’ll also have the creation of a new team of what we’re calling VIP Specialists (outside of our Client Services team) that will focus on customer delight through elevated, white-glove treatment. We’re also going to be launching our at-home pickup service in other cities, and expanding our personal shopper offering to better service those who buy and sell with us.
Our work is never done, especially when it comes to delivering exceptional experiences for our customers. We couldn’t be more excited for what’s in store and to be building on the momentum we’ve created this year.