When the stylish Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, wears something, media and people around the world notice, leading to major spikes in demand and traffic on the brands’ and retailers’ eCommerce sites. Reports of site crashes following an implicit Meghan Markle endorsement are not uncommon. She is, in her own way, a super-influencer.
Meghan Markle seems to have a penchant for Canadian designers and brands, 3 of which are Absolunet customers. Here is how Maison Birks (jewelry), Judith & Charles (clothing) and Kamik (boots/footwear) have capitalized on the Meghan Markle effect using their eCommerce tools and business savvy.
1 – Maison Birks saw a 400% spike in online sales when Markle wore Birks earrings at her engagement announcement. Markle also wore Birks jewelry in her first public outing with Prince Harry. Luckily, Birks jewelry had successfully expanded its business to the U.K. a month before the engagement. Birks’ website has survived multiple traffic storms as Markle-worn pieces sell out quickly.
- What Birks did right:
- beautiful merchandise
- a peak-proof eCommerce infrastructure
- pre-ordering feature
- a strong customer acquisition strategy
2 – Markle has been photographed several times wearing Kamik’s “Sienna” boots. Media photos are better than any paid influencer advertising and Kamik’s B2C and B2B positioning (with a strong network of retailers and its own transactional site) means that Markle fans can buy Kamik shoes from Nordstrom’s, Moosejaw, Designer Shoe Warehouse or directly from the brand itself. Though not a luxury brand, being worn by royalty provides an instant boost to both brand and influence.
- What Kamik did right:
- great, long-lasting boots,
- a B2B site with B2C/direct-to-consumer functionalities (Kamik is a brand manufacturer),
- store locator for brick-and-mortar retail outlets and links to online merchants to optimize drive-to-store behaviour,
- a scalable/peak-proof eCommerce hosting architecture.
3 – After a recent hiatus from the public eye, Markle wore a Judith & Charles tuxedo dress. Markle followers who flocked to the brand’s site, experienced an intuitive checkout experience that is faithful to the luxury brand’s design and feel. The luxury clothing brand quickly set up a “pre-order” feature to secure sales of the now sold-out item, which will ensure shoppers receive the very next production run.
- What Judith & Charles did right:
- sleek clothing design,
- an intuitive, design-driven and customer-centric online experience,
- agile customer acquisition strategy,
- pre-order functionality
What do all three brands have in common, aside from being worn by Meghan Markle?
They nailed their eCommerce fundamentals before building an efficient, on-brand customer experience.
How to prepare your eCommerce site for the Meghan Markle Effect:
Choose a platform that is peak-proof, then test it, regularly.
Conduct tests to measure your site’s maximum bandwidth capacity, number of users/sessions, and any other element with a limit that could potentially break and cause an outage right when Meghan Markle (or any other person of influence) wears your products.
Reduce loading times.
Loading speed has a big influence on conversion rates – up to 20%, according to Google. The faster, the better, so make sure your pages are loading quickly. Your eCommerce partner should be implementing tactics to speed up loading times.
Make checkout easy and frictionless.
Eliminate unnecessary clicks, as too many steps to reach the final checkout will contribute to abandoned carts. A UX specialist can help you optimize your site’s taxonomy.
Address fulfillment and customer service; they’re omnichannel elements too.
A poor post-sale service can seriously damage a brand’s reputation. Make sure you are ready to ship items that have been ordered, respond to questions from consumers and handle returns. A service like ShipStation can help you “Get Ship Done.”
Most importantly: work with an eCommerce agency that provides end-to-end eCommerce expertise.
Choose a trusted eCommerce partner who can help you do more than just put up a website – one who can help with business strategy, operational impacts, financial forecasts, marketing and technological expertise. Preferably one who has already “royal-proofed” other eCommerce sites.