It’s all about your story
Both Dubin and van Seters started with a single product. And not only that: also a product that was available in every supermarket already. How do you make sure people are going to order such a product online? That’s where the story behind your product is crucial.
Dubin launched his razor blades with a single well-timed, perfectly executed video (see above), in which he juxtaposes his simple blades with the overpriced, way too advanced blades available at the drugstore. And, he wonders, why can’t they just be delivered at your doorstep every month?
For Nuud it was all about the microsilver formula, which enabled an entirely new deodorant-experience. No spraying or rolling several times a day, but applying a tiny bit of cream under your armpits every three to seven (!) days. No giant spray can, but a tiny little tube. The whole production process as sustainable as possible, from the ingredients to the tube made of sugarcane. And most of all: no more sweaty odours!
OK, so you’ve got a brilliant product that really works: but how do you attract your first customers? For Dubin his video was sufficient to reach a large group of American consumers; for Nuud, Facebook advertising turned out to be the key. Martijn: “The first month we promoted Nuud mainly among friends and relatives. But as of October 2017 one of our shareholders, who happens to be really good at performance marketing, unleashed a series of continually optimized Facebook ads. That was very succesful, and it still is.”
Naturally these ads also benefit from the appealing story we talked about earlier. Nuud’s story is a hit with consumers because it is really novel, and caters to a real need. By now the product sells itself. The many jubilant reviews on the site clearly show that word-of-mouth marketing is the biggest motor behind Nuud’s sales.
Smart business model
And then there is the direct-to-consumer phenomenon. This is what every entrepreneur wants: as few middlemen as possible. Not only do they skim off a percentage of your profits, they also prevent you from getting to know your customers. Webshops are in a unique position to avoid those layers in between. If they have a strong story they stand out, and are able to bond with consumers much better than existing companies.
This is further enhanced by a recent trend in eCommerce: turning customers into subscribers. Razor blades and deodorant are typically products that need regular replacement. Webshops such as Nuud and Dollar Shave Club see this as an opportunity to enter into a longlasting relationship with their customers. Instead of selling them a product once, they continuously solve a recurring problem for them.
As such, location becomes less and less important, because a webshop is accessible anywhere in the world, at any given moment. This makes scaling a webshop a feasible option. If you’re not bound to a physical store, the whole world is a potential customer. The Dollar Shave Club is a prime example of how fast these things can go: within a few years Dubin’s webshop became a player to reckon with, in a market where competitor Gillette had been calling the shots for a long time.
At Code, too, we frequently help clients to scale and go abroad: Veloretti (of the trendy city bikes) and Mr. Marvis (selling the perfect shorts) are good examples of Netherlands-based shops which quickly and succesfully expanded their sales market. For Nuud this wasn’t necessary, because they targeted an international audience from the start. About 25% of their deodorants stays in The Netherlands, the rest goes across the border: mostly to the UK, where Nuud has a growing customer base.
In manuals for start-ups it is often said you shouldn’t pay too much attention to the software in the beginning, and how it’s better to go with a quick, temporary solution to test if there is a market for your product. That is exactly what Nuud did in their first year. Van Seters: “At the launch in september 2017 our webshop ran on WooCommerce. A few months later we heard that Veloretti had moved to Shopify. We wanted that too! Shopify performs much better in terms of e.g. loading speed: super important for our store.”
They got in touch with Code for the migration. “ In the Netherlands Code is the go-to agency when you need an ambitious Shopify webshop. Their positive reviews were also promising.” Code moved the data from the old webshop to Shopify in no-time, added a slick-looking custom theme, and a bunch of apps – among them ReCharge, a superapp for subscription webshops – to take the site’s performance to the next level.
In addition to the migration Nuud commissioned a connector to their fulfilment partner Nic.Oud. This turned out to be a bit more challenging than expected, causing the launch to be delayed a little. Even so, the site went live within four months total!
Just wait for your chance encounter; make sure you have a good story; and off you go with smart marketing, business plans and software. This is in a nutshell the formula behind the success of Dollar Shave Club and Nuud. And behind Veloretti and Mr. Marvis. And perhaps behind your future webshop? At Code we’d say: go for it!
Have you got ambitions for your start-up? We’d love to supply you with the smart software that allows you to grow fast: Shopify of course. Wanna have a chat? Call or email us, or stop by in Delft or Amsterdam!