How one multi-brand fashion store is carving out the route to success

Is there an easy route to a seriously good looking high performance E-Commerce site…? Take a look at Route One’s new and improved corker! It certainly wasn’t easy though…

The story…

Back in 1989 two entrepreneurs departed London disillusioned by the lifestyle and keen to get out before they burnt out. They embarked on setting up a warehouse and selling action ware. The timing was perfect as counterculture, action and skating/street lifestyle began to get a foothold in the UK, time for an unlikely supplier to begin making a real name for themselves. Initially the duo set up a shop in Bath providing “an eclectic mix of action sports, gadgets, foot ware and apparel”.

A true gem of a company evolved, nestled in the SW of the UK and having boomed into a high street name for street/urban retail the company has weathered the storm of becoming a multi-channel retailer and succeeded in building an online presence which attracts over 5 million visitors per year and showcases over 8000 products.

Maintaining their identity whilst expanding into new markets and increasing the number of brands sold online, the Route One transition from high street to high volume ecom has hardly been an easy journey, but one that the team in Bristol are very proud of I’m sure.

Rightfully so in my opinion and here is a little glimpse at a few things they are doing well on the site to help them continue to grow and stay ahead of the curve…


“One hit Wednesday” to get customers back shopping weekly!

An obvious way to reward loyal customers is by offering them a flash sale, but why not make these regular, in this case weekly. One hit Wednesday gives Route One customers a chance to “get over the midweek blues” and grab a bargain! Everyone loves feeling like they’re getting a special offer. So by creating a regular and diarised offering the site can expect a certain amount of traffic at this time, that will be interested in an offer or discount. Learning from that traffic is what will really add value, not just the ability to reward those in the know or regular customers.

Obviously this requires some consistent and engaging email correspondence to your regular customers in order to keep the interest high as not all flash products will meet every customer’s requirements, but this is a good problem to have when you’re shifting limited stock at a reasonable price.

An ACTIONABLE lookbook for swift and convenient shopping

Across the ecommerce world we still enjoy content rich lifestyle brands that utilise a lookbook in order to create and portray styles, and therefore create buying patterns. This is beautifully taken to the next level in the case of Route One where you have the add to basket feature within said look book. Why is this important? Reducing the amount of time it takes your customers to find what they’re looking for, motivate a sale and allow them to complete this sale the more efficient your site becomes. From a user perspective the buying process from decision to check out should be as seamless as possible and in this case you can take a casual browsing customer from an unknown, to sold on a style/look or brand and then to the check out in 2 clicks! That’s pretty efficient in anyone’s book.

Direct social sharing from products to help decisionmaking

Social proofing purchases is anything but new to the world of ecommerce but how regularly is it used to good effect, and live on site too! Take an item, decide if you like it and email/whatsapp/pinterest straight to those that matter most to you, well maybe not, but their opinions matter.

So gone are the days when you can buy that new red coat you think looks awesome and get ridiculed at the pub by all your friends, just to leave it crumpled at the bottom of a wardrobe, or better still defy the group and wear it anyway. The serious note here is that this feature can reduce returns, improve user experience and help your customers feel connected to their social circles which helps them to make that decision.

Cross- and upselling done right on the way to checkout

Recommendations in cart are exceptional, recommendations on the way to cart even better. One thing which really stands out on this site is the add to basket recommendation slot from the shopping cart. In truth the verdict is still out on success rates for this tactic as some merchants feel that this can cannibalise the sale and may even derail a would be customer right at the final hurdle.

In my opinion it’s awesome. Hijacking the buying journey when a consumer has already made the decision to put their hand in their virtual pocket and pull out their wallet, is pretty powerful stuff. When used correctly this can only breed positive influences and behaviours.

Create the right user experience and add this feature to maximise your cross and upsell potential, but be mindful of your target audience. The only way to find out if this works for you is to try it and let the results speak for themselves!

On the way to checkout – Why not X-sell!

Whilst in cart and at the final hurdle, what else does your customer want to buy? Or if your abandoned basket rates are high maybe showing a product at this stage which the customer is more likely to purchase might stop them from leaving and commit to the purchase.

The journey for Route One has been something to marvel at in my opinion, the current site is clean, on brand and serves the target audience well. The balance between content/lifestyle and merchandising is on the money and the brand continues to see success as a result.

With the festive season in full swing the new and improved Route One site has now been tried and tested and with the aforementioned strategies implemented by the ecommerce team already yielding results we wish them all a very happy holidays and hope they all make it onto the slopes in the new year.


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