Market research and strategy might not be the sexiest side of e-commerce, but knowing your demographic and shopping pain points is vital for long-term success.
Selling shoes online isn’t a new concept. Selling kids’ fashion isn’t new either. You know what else isn’t new? Painful online shopping experiences trying to purchase fashion and footwear for children. That’s where The Trybe decided to carve out its niche; entering a market that many would say is saturated, but doing it with a difference.
“Shopping for kids’ shoes is tough: poor availability of brands, range and sizes, combined with inconsistent in-store service makes finding kids’ footwear a painful experience,” says Accent Group’s Chief Digital Officer for The Trybe, Mark Teperson. “We set out to create a brand that helps parents alleviate these pain points and actually provides them with joy.”
“The Trybe is the destination for kids’ fashion brands and footwear,” Teperson explains. “It’s so much more than just a great online store though. The brand exists to encourage kids everywhere to be real, have fun and be bold. Ultimately, our goal is to inspire a generation of kids to be whoever they want to be.”
So how did The Trybe take its vision from concept to reality? The key was extensive research and knowing that it had to make its mark. “While there are a handful of players in the space, our research told us that the Australian market had a noticeable absence of a go-to business specialising in fashion-forward sneakers and footwear for kids,” he tells us. “Through some extensive industry research, market analysis and a really fun brand exploration process, The Trybe was born.”
The company is part of The Accent Group, which includes Skechers, Platypus and HypeDC, amongst others. This meant that it had a strong network of industry experts who had walked the path before. “We reached out to many of our trusted partners, both from an e-commerce and marketing standpoint,” Teperson explains. “That meant we could really hit the ground running.”
In this sense, the brand could launch with confidence, having a clear strategy in mind based on explicit research. It could then deliver on its market proposition with the support of proven e-commerce providers. “For the website, we challenged our partners to reimagine the shopping experience from both a parents’ and kids’ point-of-view. In doing so, it helped inspire the marketing side to be super creative too!” he says.
Branding was (and still is) a huge element of the company, informing many of the decisions that are made. “We believe in the importance of supporting individuality and inclusiveness, youth culture and activating play,” Teperson adds. “We lead with innovation and empower kids.”
This element of innovation and empowerment has led to the Kid Safe Shopping concept and the Family Sharing functionality, which The Trybe has recently launched. Kids share their wishlists with the ‘wallet keepers’ but only the ‘Trybe Champion’ (Mum or Dad or the responsible adult) can “make it rain,” (according to Teperson) and place the order.
This family focus also led to the development of family accounts. “Firstly, we focused on what really excites kids,” he explains. “On The Trybe, kids actually create their very own profile by setting their style. They choose their own emoji to represent them online and can save their favourite colours and brands. Secondly, we wanted to help families connect more with one another. Kids on The Trybe can connect with their Trybe Champion (Mum or Dad) so everyone in the family can keep up-to-date on the latest trends, styles and items saved in wishlists. Finally, we wanted to help make the online shopping experience easier and safer for parents. So, even though kids can select their favourite styles and share them in their profiles, it’s only the Trybe Champion that can place the orders.”
This communal and experiential approach to shopping, letting children get involved in the shopping process, certainly lives up to the brand’s promise of encouraging fun and independence. But, let’s not forget that from an insight and data perspective, surely this kind of shopping helps to reveal shopping behaviours and provides a plethora of information about style-preference, demographics and the purchase journey.
Another element where The Trybe excels is the utilisation of social media. “Showcasing the bold, inspiring realness and connecting are The Trybe’s social mantras. Whether it’s unboxing something special or sharing a rare skill, nothing is staged and it’s always fun.” In a world where #instareality is far more engaging than perfection, The Trybe aims to highlight and celebrate real kids and real families through its Facebook, Instagram and YouTube social profiles.
The Trybe aims to put experience first, and this applies to its website, social media presence and mobile. In this regard, the mobile site isn’t just an optimised version of its website. “We built The Trybe’s mobile experience first, and completely separate from the desktop version,” Teperson explains. “With limited screen space came challenges, but it was also a fantastic opportunity to reimagine how we could engage users. The Trybe’s product filters are very different on mobile to accommodate a more visual, icon-based experience.”
While there is no app at the moment, he tells us that it’s certainly on the table. “Our priority is to deliver a world-class mobile website experience, however, we’re aware that kids now grow up with a mobile or tablet at their fingertips. Apps offer users a different way to engage with a brand and it’s something we’re really excited about exploring for The Trybe.” In the meantime, customers can download The Trybe Doodles through The App Store, a sticker keyboard that comes with the chance to claim and share secret coupons. It’s another element of our experiential marketing campaigns that appeal to the family, and the sharing-is-caring approach of the brand.