6 Lessons We Can Learn From The Best Shopify Stores in Australia

22/04/2020, Marketing, Esther Lowde

Let’s dive into how six of Australia’s biggest ecommerce stores made their millions – and what they can teach us about succeeding in the online retail world.

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Australia is currently one of Shopify’s fastest-growing markets, with thousands of Aussie businesses choosing to migrate to the platform each year. 

 

Why are so many companies Down Under making the Shopify switch? 

 

Because Shopify allows online retailers to spend less time building and maintaining their websites – and more time focussing on growing their businesses

 

While there are 10,000 Australian brands currently scaling on the Shopify platform, there are six which – since replatforming – have truly taken the world by storm. 

 

Whether it be through generating impressive revenue, building a memorable brand persona or even revolutionising the way people shop online, there’s no denying that these businesses are winning in the world of ecommerce. 

 

Let’s take a look at some of the strategies behind their successes – and identify the lessons we can learn from these Australian superstars.

 

#1 JB Hi-Fi

 

 

While success may be a subjective term, there’s no doubt that this major home entertainment store has achieved it. JB Hi-Fi are currently the biggest retailer on Shopify Plus and the seventh biggest retailer in Australia, with their total annual revenue currently exceeding $7 billion

 

Part of this success can be credited to their choice to migrate to Shopify Plus last year. In fact, since replatforming, JB Hi-Fi’s online sales in Australia alone increased by more than 18% in the second half of 2019! 

 

However, JB Hi-Fi are also a prime example of a brand who have identified and highlighted their USP (unique selling point) right from the start. In other words, they know how to flaunt their famously low prices. 

 

From the moment you enter JB Hi-Fi’s Shopify store, you’re greeted by deals, discounts and offers so large, bold and flashy they’re impossible to miss.

 

Some of the attention-grabbing deals on JB Hi-Fi’s homepage.

 

JB Hi-Fi have clearly taken the time to consider what their customers are looking for – competitive pricing – and made it clear that that’s exactly what they specialise in. 

 

The lesson: Highlight your brand’s key selling points

 

Ask yourself what brings your current visitors to your Shopify store. Why do your buyers choose to shop with you over your competitors? Once you’ve identified what makes you special, make sure you spell it out to your customers loud and clear

 

In short, don’t make your customers look for answers. Let them you’ve got what they need before they even ask!

 

#2 Culture Kings

 

 

While JB Hi-Fi are best known for their competitive pricing, premium streetwear retailer Culture Kings are best loved for providing a truly unique, luxury in-store shopping experience

 

Created as a haven for music, sport and fashion lovers, the brand’s iconic stadium-shaped stores delight customers Down Under with daily DJ performances, pop-up barber shops, arcade games and frequent visits from celebrity clientele.

 

French Montana and DJ Smilez performing at the opening of Culture Kings’ busy Melbourne store. (Image source: culturekings.com.au)

 

Beyond simply selling streetwear products, Culture Kings sell their customers a lifestyle in the long term, and in the short term, an experience

 

So, when they decided to break into ecommerce, Culture Kings were faced with a challenge. How were they going to translate this trademark shopping experience to their online platform? 

 

It was by switching to Shopify Plus that the streetwear store discovered they really could replicate the atmosphere of their physical stores online

 

Using Shopify Plus tools, they got to work recreating the unique vibe that their customers had come to know and love through the design and functionality of their site. 

 

For example, their new ecommerce platform allowed them to create a ‘Shop The Look’ page, where the team could curate outfits in a similar way to how the staff in their brick-and-mortar store would recommend items to be paired together.

 

Culture Kings’ creative new ‘Shop The Look’ page gives customers their daily dose of fashion inspiration. (Image source: culturekings.com.au)

 

They were also able to create tailored, dynamic product listings of their thousands of streetwear items, so that the layout of their collection pages looked just as impressive as their creative in-store displays. 

 

The brand also keeps things feeling personal on their ecommerce store by tailoring the user’s journey around their personal preferences and even their geographical location. 

 

Within the last couple of years, Culture Kings have branched out from only selling to Australian customers to launching four international storefronts, introducing three different currencies and creating a localised checkout for their global customers.

 

The brand now pride themselves on giving buyers around the world a consistently unique shopping experience – whether they’re dropping into a physical store or simply browsing online.

 

The lesson: Accurately present your brand values

 

The lesson here is that if you have built a successful brand around your brick-and-mortar store, you can also use it to your advantage in the ecommerce world. 

 

What have your in-store customers come to love your shops for? Are you proud of the vibe you’ve created in there? Weave it into your customers’ online experience. Culture Kings like to call this ‘brand synergy’ – and you can create it too. 

 

#3 Frank Body

 

 

As we mentioned in our article on Shopify Plus’ Biggest Beauty and Cosmetics Stores, Frank Body are a prime example of how a smart social media strategy can transform a small but ambitious startup into a multi-million-dollar cosmetics powerhouse

 

Although this Melbourne-based brand only launched in 2013 with $5000 to their name, Frank Body currently generate more than $20 million in annual revenue and ship their products to over 150 countries. 

 

At Swanky, we believe their ingenious use of user-generated content has played a defining part in their incredible ecommerce success. 

 

When the brand first launched (on a very tight budget), they chose to promote their products exclusively on Instagram by reaching out to micro-influencers and sending them samples of their body scrubs. 

 

It didn’t take long for word to get round, with hashtags like #thefrankeffect blowing up on the platform in days.

 

A micro-influencer proudly promoting the beauty scrub she was gifted by Frank Body, using the popular hashtag #thefrankeffect. (Image source: blog.refersion.com)

 

Even today, Frank Body actively share their customers’ selfies, rave reviews and hashtags on their ecommerce store; celebrating their audience, building a sense of community and spreading the word about their brand as they go. 

 

Frank Body proudly feature real, fun and often unedited Instagram photos of their loyal customers on the homepage of their site, creating a positive, fun and encouraging community atmosphere.

 

Ultimately, this fun and quirky cosmetics brand understands that when it comes to persuading customers to purchase, trust is key. And the most effective way to build up the credibility of your business is to make use of your customers’ most trusted source; other people.

 

The lesson: Celebrate, encourage and display user-generated content

 

Consider whether there are any micro-influencers you could reach out to to supercharge your marketing strategy – even on a limited budget. Could you start a hashtag competition on one of your social channels, where users post pictures with your products in exchange for a prize or discount? Or perhaps you’re already getting some amazing mentions from your buyers which you could feature on a social feed on your site?  

 

As a start, you should at least consider using a tool like Yotpo or Okendo to feature product reviews on your store. According to BrightLocal, 85% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and featuring reviews on your website has been shown to produce an 18% uplift in sales on average. 

 

If you’re interested in finding out more about the benefits of UGC, have a read of our article on how to generate and make the most of user-generated content.

 

#4 Who Gives A Crap

 

 

Who Gives A Crap are a premium sustainable toilet paper brand who have revolutionised the way their customers think about shopping for essential goods

 

Based in Australia, the Who Gives A Crap team have been scaling exponentially since 2012 – and have recently begun supplying their fully recycled products to customers from all over the world. 

 

But with so many toilet paper brands already filling the supermarket shelves – many of which have a lower price tag – how did this ambitious Aussie brand make their loo rolls such a hit with a global audience? 

 

Firstly, Who Gives A Crap’s ecommerce store has personality in spades, demonstrating how even a product as seemingly straightforward and commonplace as toilet paper can become exciting with vibrant, memorable and humorous branding.

 

 

One of the funny, lighthearted stamps that can be found on Who Gives A Crap’s packaging. (Image source: au.whogivesacrap.org)

 

Along with a bit of silliness, the company also reveal they have a heart of gold by promoting sustainability and actively showing their compassion for others.  

 

Not only is their toilet paper 100% recycled, but 50% of the company’s profits go directly into helping build toilets for communities in developing countries. 

 

Now that’s a company worth supporting – and it’s a huge part of why so many shoppers are choosing them over less expensive but also less ethical brands.

 

Who Gives A Crap combine good humour with strong ideals to create campaigns that are truly worth talking about.   (Image source: gralinhughes.com)

 

The lesson: Brighten up people’s lives on a regular basis

 

The cherry on the cake of Who Gives A Crap’s digital strategy is their fantastic use of the subscription model. Customers can pay in advance for their toilet paper to arrive at their door on a monthly basis – and are actively incentivised to do so, as the more months they sign up for, the greater the discount they’ll receive. 

 

If you sell a product that your customers will eventually use up – such as food, drink or toiletry items – why not start up a subscription service on your own store? 

 

You’ll likely find that you’ll retain more loyal buyers, boost your revenue and increase your customers’ satisfaction too.

 

#5 Koala

 

 

Over the last few years, Koala have quickly risen to fame as Australia’s favourite luxury bedding provider

 

Aside from creating an award-winning product and coming up with some memorably cheeky marketing campaigns, Koala has achieved true ecommerce success through its use of a headless commerce system

 

 

Going headless has helped Koala provide their customers with a faster, more dynamic and more customised shopping experience – and has made editing the site a whole lot quicker and easier for their design team too.

 

“That’s great,” we hear you say, “but what does headless commerce actually mean?”

 

Without diving into all of the technicalities, headless commerce basically refers to the separation of the front-end and the back-end of an ecommerce store. This enables developers to make rapid changes to a storefront’s content without affecting any of the back-end coding, and vice versa. 

 

As a result, tech-savvy ecommerce stores are free to endlessly customise their storefronts (with no design constraints), speed up their page load times (by stripping out any unnecessary features which are slowing things down) and create a completely custom experience for their buyers.

 

“Most companies would kill for our velocity. The speed with which the development team at Koala is able to deliver solutions, from ideation to production, is triple what I’ve seen anywhere else.

Being headless also allows us to deliver targeted experiences, or even different content to specific cohorts visiting the same page.

Richard Bremner – Head of Technology at Koala

 

The lesson: Consider switching up your website’s architecture

 

Of course, going headless isn’t for everyone. But are ultra-speedy site response times, the flexibility to change up your site quickly and the freedom to endlessly customise your store high on your priority list? If so, an ecommerce platform such as Shopify Plus could be well worth looking into.

 

#6 Goondiwindi Cotton

 

 

Since 1992, Goondiwindi Cotton has been producing premium high-quality ladies cotton clothing to customers in regional Australia. 

 

Stylish, timeless and true to their roots, this family-owned brand is “built on the old-fashioned and honest principles synonymous with the people of the Australian bush”. 

 

When our team first met Goondiwindi Cotton in early 2019, they were already a well-established business selling clothing to their loyal local buyers. But in order to continue scaling their brand, they knew they needed some serious help revamping their online presence

 

Our Swanky team were delighted to build them a beautiful new Shopify store – and even more delighted upon seeing the results this change generated! 

 

Since the launch of their Swanky new site, Goondiwindi’s year-on-year sales have more than doubled! They’re also seeing increased average order values with multiple items sold per transaction, with a clear increase in average revenue per user. Stockists and customers alike have passed on their praise about the new store, with the team receiving plenty of positive feedback to date. A true Shopify success story!

 

Sean Clanchy, Director of Swanky Australia, visiting Goondiwindi Cotton HQ.

 

So what exactly can we learn from Goondiwindi’s rapid success?

 

One hugely influential factor in their business’ rapid growth is the automation of their routine business tasks. While working with the Goondiwindi Cotton team, our Swanky developers were thrilled to help them update their back-end admin processes; streamlining and automating time-consuming and repetitive chores where possible

 

For example, we created automated customisable product review requests using our technology partner Okendo in order to maximise the quality and quantity of their user-generated content. 

 

Crucially, we also helped Goondiwindi implement an abandoned cart email flow using popular marketing automation tool Klaviyo.

 

Cart abandonment emails are a vital part of every strong email marketing strategy. They motivate visitors to return to your site and so help to recover sales. These automated messages can also help build customers’ relationships with your brand, increasing consumer trust and loyalty. 

 

Automating these kinds of sales-boosting – but potentially time-consuming – processes ultimately brings in more customers while saving your team hours of work. 

 

As a result, Goondiwindi Cotton’s team are now free to focus on the revenue-generating aspects of owning an ecommerce store.

 

The lesson: Automation is key

 

If your business is struggling to find the time to focus on the things you want to, why not make the most of the wealth of automation tools on the market? There’s a tool out there for every business’ unique needs, goals and budget.

 

Lessons learned from Australia’s best Shopify stores

 

Ultimately, while it’s great to admire the achievements of these rapidly scaling Aussie stores, it’s important to remember that success didn’t simply come to them by chance. 

 

As we’ve explored, there’s a lot of hard work and planning behind these Aussie brands’ amazing results.

 

They’ve thought carefully about what their customers want, taken the time to put together a strong digital strategy and made exceptional use of Shopify Plus’ countless tools and features

 

As a result, they’ve truly elevated their online presence and turned their ecommerce dreams into reality.

 

Could Swanky Australia help transform your ecommerce store?

 

If you’re looking for help with your business’ digital strategy, store design or Shopify Plus migration, we’d love to hear from you! We’re passionate about helping ambitious, high-growth brands unlock their potential and achieve their ecommerce dreams. 

 

Just check out some of our Aussie success stories to see some of the amazing results we’ve generated for our clients!

 

Please do get in touch with one of our friendly ecommerce experts at Swanky Australia if you’d like to find out more.

 

Looking to update and grow your ecommerce store?

Swanky is an end-to-end Shopify Plus partner agency, with offices in the UK and Australia. As a leading ecommerce agency for design, development and growth services, we have spent years delivering innovative digital solutions that elevate our clients to the forefront of their industries. We’re committed to accelerating the growth of ambitious brands through the delivery of creative digital solutions and outstanding customer experiences.

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About the author

Esther Lowde

Copywriter Esther loves writing engaging articles about all things ecommerce. Her blogs specialise in conversion rate optimisation, ecommerce strategy and web design.

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