Brendan Sweeney, the general manager of e-commerce at Cotton On Group took the stage on day two of this year’s Online Retailer conference, talking mobile-first and charitable pursuits.
Speaking to attendees about the group’s mobile-first strategy, he explained how a collaboration with Carrie Bickmore and a worth-while cause increased the company’s sales by 2500 percent in a single night.
Cotton On Group and Australia Post recently teamed up with Australian media personality and The Project host, Carrie Bickmore to help raise vital funds for Brain Cancer, through Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer charity.
Through the production of fashionable beanies that were designed and sold by Cotton On, and distributed through Australia Post’s local network, Sweeney told of how the product launch increased the company’s sales 2500 percent between 6 and 7 O’Clock when the product was launched by Bickmore live on The Project.
“I opened Google Analytics, because I knew The Project had just started and Carrie would be announcing the launch of the beanies and, what I saw was staggering,” he said.
In a single hour, the company reportedly brought in $1.8 million in sales, most of which was generated via mobile devices.
“By 7 o’clock in the evening, after the beanies launched at six, we had taken about 66,000 orders and the vast majority of that was from people who never got off the couch. Actually, 77 percent of it was on a mobile phone or tablet.”
When talking about how the company was able to handle such a huge influx of online orders, while also ensuring a positive customer experience, Sweeney said Cotton On’s new focus on mobile-first is to thank for the success of its charitable venture.
“We had done a lot of the work over the last year on how to get mobile convert well, and we were pleased to see such a strong level [of conversion] in relation to our desktop version.
“What we’ve done in the last year over re-platforming and mobile-first design is represented in the number of Australians who didn’t get off the couch and just ordered on their mobile phone, especially during the ad break,” he said.
Although, Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer isn’t the only non-profit venture Cotton On Group has been pursuing, as it also works to help reduce poverty in underdeveloped countries through its own foundation.
“It’s quite hard to get out of our stores without being asked to buy a bottle of foundation water or a tote bag. We actually sell one foundation item every three seconds.
“In the last year alone we’ve raised nearly $14 million from the sale of foundation items. That’s allowed us to open new schools around the world, but as we’ve found, it’s not just about getting the kids in school, as they also need access to clean drinking water and meals.”
In the last year alone, Sweeney says funds raised by Cotton On have allowed the company to provide more than one million meals for hungry children in impoverished areas, like Uganda, a fact he says is very rewarding at both a company and personal level.
“I was lucky enough to visit Uganda last year and see the work that we’re doing on the ground and the difference that we’re really making to the lives of people there.
“We partner with the right people and bring the combined assets, by working with people like Carrie and also leveraging our suppliers. We’re also looking out for opportunities to do more of this stuff around the world, so we’re able to make that kind of difference. To be able to raise essentially $10 million in a week has been a huge eye-opener to us.”
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