Alex and Ani invested almost $7 million in digital over the past two years — and the results are paying off.
Harlan Kent, president of the Rhode Island-based company, said at least 25 percent of the company’s projected $350 million in revenue this year would come from e-commerce, including direct as well as wholesale partner sites. The brand has grown almost 30-fold over the past four years.
That’s a lot of charm bangles.
And Kent said the online business is especially important. The brand has a significant online profile with just under two million followers on the social platforms combined, plus paid, owned and earned media. That digital presence grew last week with the launch of the first Alex and Ani app.
A year in the making, the app was designed to target the more than 50 percent of consumers who visit alexandani.com via a mobile device. Kent projects that 10 to 20 percent of the brand’s mobile Web visitors will download the app, and amongst this group, the target is 10 app engagements per week.
A brand’s app users are typically its most loyal shoppers, and Kent is betting that an app heavy on experience and exclusive content that changes daily will entice shoppers. He said Alex and Ani’s mobile revenue hovers in the low double digits of the e-commerce business and is “not a meaningful percentage of sales right now.”
Kent sees this changing with shoppers buying more items on the go, from the $28 “Because I Am a Girl” bracelet that Michelle Obama wore last week to the Precious Initial style that sells for $98.
“The expectation is that we’ll have lower conversion, but because we have so much higher frequency of visit that net dollars will be a significant multiple of an average Web site transaction,” Kent said.
While users are encouraged to transact, Kent stressed that the app is not just a commerce vehicle. In addition to publishing a Motivation Nation inspirational quote each day, customers can also check their moonscope (similar to a horoscope but a different take on the Zodiac).
The brand will make a donation of $1 for every app download to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation during the month of October, with a maximum donation of $50,000. This puts the company on track to donate more than $10 million to charities this year.
As for the off-line world, Kent said the brand will open an additional 16 freestanding doors by yearend (it has 40 already), including locations in Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, N.Y., and Ponce City Market in Atlanta. The brand will also roll out to 107 Jared stores this month, and add 10 wholesale accounts in Las Vegas, the Caribbean and Central America.