Watch the on-demand webcast to learn how the world’s most inclusive fashion brand boosted conversion rates with international shoppers while improving shipping speed
Sometimes, brands and retailers have the time to carefully and methodically plan out international business expansion, entering one market at a time. And then there are the brands that are thrown head-first into going global because of overwhelming demand. Universal Standard is an example of the latter. In just five years, Universal Standard has set the world on fire while dealing with many of the typical growing pains of a young brand.
Founded in 2015, Universal Standard is the world’s most inclusive fashion brand, offering trendy, premium apparel for women sizes 00-40. The apparel retailer quickly built a loyal customer base worldwide, with social media engagement and web traffic coming from international consumers almost immediately. The brand’s brick-and-mortar retail locations in Seattle and New York City were driving greater interest from global consumers, as well.
Every brand has its motivations and path for going global. In Universal Standard’s case, there were multiple drivers, such as:
- Low competition in the plus-size apparel market globally; the brand’s inclusive sizes and high-end apparel resonated with women all over the world.
- A unique opportunity to capture global market share and be a leader in a niche fashion space.
- Cross-border customers consistently had a higher average order value (AOV) than domestic consumers, translating to increased sales and greater revenue.
However, the fast track to success created some significant growing pains that the brand needed to work through. Universal Standard’s biggest challenges were providing a localized e-commerce experience in each country where they do business, and scaling logistics and shipping operations to meet global demand.
Universal Standard’s Chief Operating Officer Rita Hudetz discussed some of these challenges with Flow CEO Rob Keve in a webcast that was part of GELF’s Oktoberfest series. Hudetz shared that the most pressing problem was improving the speed and reliability of cross-border delivery times.
“The truth is, it’s not as simple as just sending a package. There are a lot of complexities to international transactions,” she noted.
After a few false starts and temporary fixes that couldn’t scale to meet their needs, Universal Standard turned to Flow for help. Solving the shipping cost and speed roadblocks were the top priorities. With help from Flow, the brand was able to significantly improve global shipping speed and reliability. The changes in logistics and new relationships with global express carriers helped Universal Standard better manage shipping and delivery and respond faster to any market disruptions.
Next, Universal Standard leveraged Flow’s A/B testing capabilities to gain more insight into customer preferences around how to handle relevant taxes and duties. Hudetz said that this exercise showed her just how varied consumer preferences can be in different countries.
Working with Flow has allowed Universal Standard to move away from being reactive and tactical in its international growth approach, thus becoming more strategic about entering new global markets. The brand reduced its average international shipping time by 70% and achieved an 80% increase in international web traffic conversion rates. Today, Universal Standard has a strong e-commerce presence in 26 countries. As new markets come online, such as Iceland and Switzerland, Universal Standard has confidence in its ability to deliver a localized experience that keeps customers coming back.