Retail Focus — Shop Super Street; An E-tailer With Authenticity

How one small business owner turned millennial marketing into dollars

Lucy Akin launched Shop Super Street online in 2014 with a diverse mix of high-end luxury designers like Isabel Marant and Alexander Wang sitting alongside emerging up-and-comers such as Rejina Pyo and Maryam Nassir Zadeh. Tapping LA’s domestic street culture Akin also introduced cult favourites such as Y/Project and Alyx, mixing them with beloved names like Stüssy and Palace. Thrown into the eclectic line-up are a handful of Insta-favourite independent jewellery designers including Alighieri and Laura Lombardi. Her curatorial eye was positively received and Akin responded with an equally on-brand physical outpost in 2015, in the diverse shopping area of La Brea Avenue, LA.

Similarly, progressive LA based e-tailers such as H Lorenzo, Maxfield, and Just One Eye offer fierce competition: they also place emphasis on solid aesthetics and brand voice, offering both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar to engage with customers. Leveraging the potency of social media, Shop Super Street takes its consumer engagement to the next level, using interactive social media strategies to drive customers to purchase.

“Social media is definitely the most important way to engage our customers since they are mostly millennial,” explains Akin via email. “But we keep it pretty simple. We don’t push too much and aren’t doing interviews with designers, or even giving our opinions about what’s happening around the world.”

The result is a social media strategy that speaks to empowered, fashion-driven millennials and is in equal parts stylised and nonchalant. The Instagram feed full of candid girls donning designer pieces from their latest edit and this effortless visual identity has proven to be a successful strategy for the store, building an impressive online reputation that drives consumers straight to their platform.

In its 2018 Global Fashion Survey as part of The State Of Fashion Report, consultancy firm McKinsey & Co,. identified personalisation and individuality as the top trends of 2018, a fact that Shop Super Street understands intrinsically. According to the survey, what the millennial consumer craves is to connect to a brand or company on a more personal level; 9 out of 10 consumers say they trust influencers more than traditional advertisements or even celebrity endorsements.

Shop Super Street’s digital presence offers this sense of sincere relatability; no fancy branding or pushy marketing, simply an authentic mix of young girls, models and influencers. Devoid of unrealistic lifestyle shots or unattainable bodies, it champions diversity and healthy girls embracing their distinctive styles. This, alongside a careful curation of designers and products, is marking the e-tailer out as the ultimate destination for the youth consumer.

“When you are starting out, I think content is king and you must have a defined aesthetic, so people can understand exactly what you are about to offer them,” says Akin. “Content has been paramount for us because we don’t really invest in digital marketing. It’s all been organic and viral.”

This strategy of reaching consumers on a more personal level via lowkey imagery has not only enabled the e-tailer to better connect and communicate with its growing following but has encouraged growth in monthly sales for the platform. Akin has also incorporated the shoppable ‘Instashop’ tool into the store’s website, indicating how well she understands her customer.

A side-step away from the mechanical quality of standard e-commerce imagery, the ‘Instashop’ tool entices casual Instagram browsers to purchase expertly-styled looks without being overbearing. This trend of shopping straight from the carefully crafted Instagram feed offers the consumer a more targeted and relevant visualisation of how an outfit could fit into their everyday wardrobe and lifestyle.

To date, Shop Super Street lacks a mobile app but the mobile-friendly website still manages to offer a seamless experience for on-the-go consumers; in fact, their Instashop tool works just as effectively on mobile as it does on desktop, simplifying and facilitating purchasing decisions in a matter of clicks. This is good news considering mobile usage amongst millennials has now surpassed that of desktop according to McKinsey.

Although Akin outlines that content is pivotal to wooing customers at the initial stage, directing them from casual newsfeed scroll to end purchase requires a much bigger strategic push and great imagery alone is not enough to receive fruitful engagement.

“It takes a lot for someone to check out. It needs a really good image, a really good message, a great model, a perfectly cropped moment. It takes approximately 7 impressions for someone to finally commit to processing their order,” Akin explains.

Moreover, McKinsey reports while almost 7 out of 10 consumers rely on peer recommendations, and increasingly discover products online before going out to shop, physical touch and feel of the product remains the number one priority before making a purchase, a gap filled by the physical store.

In fact, Akin explains that specific shopping habits are splitting sales between online and in-store: “We have that customer who is going to our website or Instagram constantly, but will only buy in-store when in LA”. She describes a Japanese customer as the prime example: “He came to our store with screenshots of his girlfriend’s wish list from our Instagram and bought everything - having zero communication with us.”

As an independent boutique, Shop Super Street has grips on a complex engagement strategy that some of the most established retailers are struggling with. Its omnichannel approach provides a seamless experience throughout the consumer journey - from desktop to mobile, to in-store - and it seems that this 3-way focus on all these critical touchpoints is the keystone to its success.