Meet the “performance monster” helping a fashion retailer to increase profit.
How Apptus eSales helped fashion retailer, Stayhard, to significant increase in profits – by staying lean while finding innovative solutions to online retail’s unique challenges. Since its launch in 2005, Swedish fashion retail brand, Stayhard, stands apart from the crowd. At the heart of the business’ success is an acceptance that online presents unique challenges, which demand novel solutions. Chief Operating Officer, Johan Davidsson, points to an experience gap between physical stores and online as the core of the issue: “The big challenge online is not getting customers to the store, it’s closing them. Getting them to buy at a level that is profitable”.
For Stayhard, this central issue opens up a range of challenges for online merchandising:
- How to drive sales by delivering an online retail experience that is always relevant, for every customer and every context
- How to see beyond conversion, to link product exposure strategies directly to core business metrics like revenue
- How to do all this without eroding profitability by investing heavily in an expanded team.
Johan explained: “We’ve always seen the complexities inherent in an ever-expanding product range and an increasingly diverse customer base as an opportunity. But we also know that using that complexity to understand customers, deliver the experience they want and make more money requires a technology solution as well as a human one.”
Faced with these challenges, and having decided that technology must play a key role, Johan and his team set out to identify solutions. They assessed a number of point solutions, each of which solved part of the problem while adding a layer of unwanted system complexity, before discovering Apptus eSales – and were quickly convinced this was the right solution.
Through artificial intelligence-powered eCommerce optimisation, Apptus eSales automates huge amounts of routine online merchandising tasks. It draws on behavioural data and machine learning to adapt product exposure across recommendations, search, navigation and more to individual intent in real time, and frees merchandisers to focus on higher value, strategic tasks.
What’s more, rather than focusing only on conversion, Apptus eSales allows product exposure to be guided by business metrics like revenue – with rich performance feedback enabling merchandisers to observe and understand how each strategy changes customer behaviour. “It was obvious Apptus eSales was the right tool,” Johan said. “Not a small tool to solve just one problem, but one tool to solve them all – to allow us to do so much more and understand our customers better.”
Apptus eSales has become a critical component of Stayhard’s success – not least its ability to realise annual revenues of €20 million with a lean, twelve strong merchandising and developer team.
“We love Apptus eSales,” Johan said. “It’s a performance monster that copes effortlessly with peak demand, and which allows us to approach the eCommerce challenges in a new way.”
Specifically, Apptus eSales enables Stayhard to make a virtue of the complexities inherent in an ever-expanding product range and an increasingly diverse customer base. The ability to understand and respond to individual customer intent in real time, without the need for specialist IT or coding skills, is a genuine competitive advantage.
“We immediately saw sales go up when Apptus eSales was in control of product assortments. But, the great thing is we can observe the impact and have learned a lot as a result – sometimes people behave in ways that are totally unexpected.”
It’s a similar story when it comes to campaigns, according to Johan: “Before Apptus eSales we could only run one campaign at a time. Now we run 50 campaigns at the same time and analyse which of those performs the best in real time. As a result, we get incredibly valuable insight that helps shape future campaigns.”, Johan says.
Crucially, Apptus eSales is the only solution that allows Stayhard to ensure product exposure strategies are driven by business goals. “I love this,” Johan said.
“It’s such a powerful feature and very easy. You can’t dig in and do that much by yourself, which in my opinion is a big waste of time. Instead, Apptus gives you a few controls – but they are the important ones.”
The ability to select whether merchandising strategies are driven by high conversion goals or high revenue goals is a case in point. “When we have a big sale, we can live with having a lower profit,” Johan said. “We can optimise our assortment for high conversion and it’s a strategic decision. The rest of the time, we can optimise all our assortment to give us more profit and, using Apptus, we can see what actually happens, which in turn makes it’s much easier to take business decisions.”
The proof, or course, is in the numbers, and Apptus has passed with flying colours.
“We ran a 60 day a test where we compared a strategy that exposed products to generate higher revenues and a strategy to expose products that led to higher conversion,” Johan explained. “We could very quickly see that the revenue strategy increased profitability with a significant profit.”
- Entrepreneurs Daniel Möller and Joakim Naumburg launched the company in 2005.
- Stayhard is one of Sweden’s leading fashion players on the web.
- In just eight years (2005–2013), without external capital injections, Stayhard sales leaped from SEK 0 to SEK 105 million (USD 15.2 million; EUR 11.4 million).
- Stayhard sells 230 brands and has customers in 28 countries.