When Chloe and Sarah travelled together to Brazil they fell in love with the outgoing and colourful Brazilian culture. Not long after Zeenya clothing was born and they started on their journey into the world of ecommerce.
‘Embracing life through colour’ is Zeenya's slogan and it’s not hard to see why. Their bright and bold activewear screams positivity, fun and adventure, ideas echoed by their loyal customer base.
We caught up with Chloe from Zeenya to chat about the steps they took to help grow their ecommerce business.
What have you done that has most significantly affected ecommerce sales?
The main thing that has driven our ecommerce sales is the ability to connect with our customers directly and we put a lot of time and energy into creating platforms for us to speak with them. So whether that is offline or online, we create ways for us to engage them in what we’re doing as a company so they feel part of the journey, part of the story and we encourage them to share with each other what they’re enjoying about their product. Or the adventures they’re getting up to where they happen to be wearing our clothing.
Our offline channel is based around events. For us we’ve really targeted our audience around active women in particular. After trial and error in the early days, we now know where she hangs out, where she spends her time. So we make sure we turn up to those events where we can, sponsor them and then get some kind of recognition for our brand through that particular event. This gives us the chance to meet with our customers face to face and have real conversations with them.
In terms of online, we have Instagram and Facebook but within Facebook we have our own VIP group called Zeenya’s Activewear Anonymous for our superfans to meet and talk about their Zeenya addictions. We’ve created a 12 step programme and made it a bit of a joke so that people can have a bit of fun with it. Within that group, not only are we giving special offers to the superfans but they’re sharing with us and the other ladies what they’ve been up to on the weekend. What adventures they took their Zeenya’s on, and who they met and those kinds of stories that are helping build the brand within a private group.
Are there any other brand building ways you communicate with your customers?
We have an online subscription newsletter but we make a real point of it to be a conversation rather than it be a sales pitch just about new items or sale items — while we do that, we try to make it personal as well. And we don’t spam people — a lot of other clothing companies out there seem to spam people every other day with the latest line or look. For us it’s not about what’s new and great all the time, it’s more about sharing cool stories or maybe we’ve launched a new collection and our subscribers are the first to see it. Both our VIP group and our newsletter subscribers get 24 hour advance notice of new products coming to market. So there’s a real incentive for them to be engaged and open those emails.
What about other forms of paid advertising?
We work with Harper Digital to do our adwords marketing for us and we have support from a company called Ad Hoc Marketing who help us to do our own Facebook marketing. We have a bit of anchor content that we run through Facebook, in particular called the inspiring human, where it’s a monthly blog post where we find an inspiring woman who happens to be a fan of Zeenya. We then interview her about her life and the challenges she’s overcome and how she can inspire others just by being herself. So that will always be an advertised post each month on Facebook, as well as shared — getting people familiar with our brand and knowing what values are important to us.
Our adwords target related keywords rather than specific products. We have attempted to do a bit of remarketing a specific product but at the moment the numbers aren’t high enough.
What advice would you give to new ecommerce businesses to help them streamline their business from the beginning?
Realising that we don’t need to be experts at everything has been really good for us. As a small company you try to save costs everywhere you can but at some point you need to sit down and either learn how to make something like adwords effective or you suck it up and pay someone else to help you. We decided that we didn’t want to spend the time learning how to do adwords really well. We see it as an investment in our marketing. Marketing budget is probably not something that’s thought about when people are starting out but the hardest thing to do with an online company is to get people to find you. And that’s where we needed that physical presence at events and that helped us build our databases. Going out and actually finding places for your product as a second home, that’s not just online. At the end of the day our customers are still people and we want to try and connect with them in a person to person level. Despite the fact that we’re doing it in an online platform.
We try to make things as personal as possible. It comes into our copy and language — to try and connect directly with one person. Trying to make sure our website talks to one person rather than a group. “I want to tell you my story”. The other personal touch we do is that everyone gets a hand written note with their order.
Our thanks for your order email is really fun and ridiculous and we have a bit of fun with it. It’s not just thanks for your order, here’s your order number. It means that people get excited about their purchase and reply to say they’re excited. What little things can you do to help your brand to stand out that little bit more.