To break in, the company built a strategy based on temporary, experiential retail spaces, strong social media marketing and notable acquisitions of Nasty Gal and PrettyLittleThing — two companies already established with Boohoo’s core demographic of college-aged consumers.
Wether or not the Nasty Gal acquisition will really help with that expansion is still very open. (We’re slightly sceptical but let’s see.)
Interestingly, Boohoo started with a small inventory in the US and is expanding it gradually trying to learn as fast as possible (and with as little cost involved as possible). Digiday:
Boohoo says that it adds up to 100 products to its site per day by investing in a small number of inventory per item at first. If demand is low, the items sell out and disappear. If demand is high, Boohoo doubles down in its investment of a particular trend. As a result, customers are continuously checking back for new styles, sifting through up to 20,000 products live on the site at any time. In the U.K., Boohoo claims to be the third-biggest online retailer by market share, after Asos and Next.
Boohoo is also using Instagram and pop-up stores to learn more about the US market and the subset of college-aged women, the company is targeting heavily in the US:
To get its footing in the U.S., the company drilled down on college-aged women by hosting college-area pop-ups and mining Instagram (the company reportedly sees 13.4 million annual interactions on the platform) to identify what styles are trending with this age group.
“We are being more targeted in the U.S. because it’s a big land mass to grab, and it’s become an unfriendly region for retail,” said McGrath. “Our marketing dollars are targeting the college girl first, and the woman leaving college for her first job. Our reach is broader in other markets, but in the U.S., we have to build up to that.”
All this looks very smart.
For at least a year, 70% of its traffic is mobile and at least half of the checkouts happen on mobile as well.
Thus, go, go, go:
“Physical retail is part of our DNA, but traditional physical retail is not,” said McGrath. “We see the physical space as a window, an introduction to buying online. Our customers aren’t spending time sorting through racks any more than they’re sitting on desktop. It’s go, go, go.”