And the behind the scenes video for how it was shot!
And click here to win all 11 shoes designed by Wendy in the video, plus a pair you design yourself.
Up until recently, we charged $25 shipping (or local currency equivalent) on all our orders. This equated to about 10% of the total cost of an average order. We had discussed and debated whether to offer free shipping, as this is generally considered industry best practice, but we liked the fact that charging shipping gave us a way to offer a promotion (free shipping) that meant we didn't need to discount our product. We also felt that 10% wasn't significant and that people who had designed their shoes and were ready to place an order were already very committed on our site and unlikely to be put off by free shipping.
I was chatting with Ahmed Fahour, the CEO of Australia Post at the Prime Minister's Forum on the Digital Economy and he shared the story of a test run on eBay for shipping costs. A watch was being sold and an A/B/C test was run to determine the best way to sell it:
1. $25 for the watch and $25 for shipping.
2. $40 for the watch and $10 for shipping.
3. $50 for the watch with free shipping.
Any guesses as to what the break up of sales was? Apparently almost no one purchased under scenario 1. 20% of the sales happened under scenario 2, and 80% of the sales happened under scenario 3! Having 50% or even 20% of the total cost being shipping is quite different to 10%, but it's still very clear that people don't like to pay for shipping.
We hadn't adjusted our prices since launch so with this shipping test in mind we decided to rejig our pricing late last year and offer free shipping. Unfortunately it was too difficult to run an A/B test of pricing on our site, as prices are listed in so many places and needs to be incorporated into our back end accounting systems, and we made a whole range of changes to the site at the same time, so we don't have definitive results on whether free shipping has made a difference but our gut feel is that it's been a small positive.
I'd love to hear results from anyone who has been able to run a free shipping A/B test on an online retail site.
Ben is studying software engineering and commerce at the University of NSW. Ben worked with us over summer as a full time software engineering intern and we've been so happy with his work he's staying on with us part time now University has gone back for the semester. Ben's been working on some fantastic improvements to our 3D shoe designer which we'll announce and launch in the not too distant future. When he's not coding women's shoe designers Ben listens to music, plays guitar, basketball, soccer and like many on our team plays video games! Thanks for a great summer Ben and welcome to the team part time.
Dylan is studying software engineering and science, majoring in mathematics at the University of NSW. Dylan joined us late last year in a tech support role helping us keep our network up and running, setting up and maintaining servers and generally maintaining all the computer equipment in our office. Dylan also played a huge role in our recent office move helping organise a seamless transfer with very little downtime for our team. We've loved working with Dylan so much that he's also joining us in a permanent part time 'Growth Hacking' role now that the semester has gone back. In Dylan's spare time he likes cycling, rowing, and tries to hit the snow at every opportunity he gets. He also loves travelling and great food.
Please join me in welcoming Ben and Dylan to the team!
What are the key retailing trends for 2013?
Multi-channel retailing, the globalisation of retail, and consumers seeking experiences not just products when they shop will all continue to be significant trends in 2013. 3D printing will continue to advance but it has a few more years to develop before we start to see the massive impact it will have on the retail industry in the future.
How do you anticipate market conditions locally and internationally changing over the next 12 months?
International retailers love the Australian market, and more of them are likely to invest here over the next 12 months. Amongst the big online retailers ASOS and Net-a-Porter both put their first people on the ground in Australia in 2012 and there are rumours Amazon are gearing up to launch here. Of the big offline players Costco, Aldi and Ikea all continue to invest in more stores. This trend will continue. Australia isn’t an isolated retail island anymore, the retail market has opened up globally and we need to be in a position to compete with the international players. It’s also a fantastic opportunity for Australian retailers to sell our products globally. We now have a market of 7 billion people on our doorstep, not just 22 million!
What is your omni-channel strategy for 2013?
The big move for us is going to be offline. As a pure play online retailer we can see the significant advantages that exist to being able to offer our customers an offline retail experience where they can try the shoes on, see and touch the materials and receive help from someone working in the store. Watch this space for us in 2013!
How will the increasing number of international retailers entering Australia change the retailing landscape?
More competition = more innovation. 10 years ago one of the exciting things about travelling overseas was the different, amazing shopping experiences you could have. Today we can have those same experiences in Pinkemba, Preston or Penrith - we just do it online! As Australian retailers we need to be more innovative to compete in this environment.
What are the key consumer trends that are emerging at the moment?
Consumers shopping habits are changing. They want to be able to be able to interact and shop from a retailer through any channel they choose; offline, online, mobile. We as retailers need to be able to offer a seamless experience across all these channels. If someone wants to try our shoes on, we need to provide an offline environment for them to do this. If they want to design online, we need to be there. If they want to design on their couch we need to offer a great tablet and mobile experience. If we can offer this, we’ll grow our base of happy customers.
A diary of our adventures, successes, failures and everything we learn as we attempt to start a business or two.
Our first project: Shoes of Prey - design your own custom women's shoes.
Our latest project: Sneaking Duck - new prescription glasses, everyday.