July creates customisable, luxurious luggage that lasts a decade worth of trips. Its name was born out of an Aussie traveller’s constant need to escape the dreary winter in July for the warmer weather in the northern hemisphere.
While the brand started before COVID, Athan Didaskalou, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at July, says the pandemic provided them with an opportunity to reevaluate what the brand needed to do in order to adapt and thrive.
The team at July invested their time in product development during the strict Melbourne lockdowns, from which they can now see the fruits of their labour. "It's been an exciting time. Rarely do you get such an opportunity to sit down and ask, 'what do I need to do in the next 12 months to succeed over the next five years?’," says Athan.
As restrictions begin to lift, Athan has his eye on expanding his brick-and-mortar presence beyond his two stores in the heart of Melbourne, with plans to open another in Sydney and an upcoming national partnership with upmarket department store David Jones.
Shopify point of sale (POS) has helped the luggage brand throughout its growth; from July’s initial online store to its ever-expanding network of retail stores that use Shopify POS features.
July looks to Shopify POS
When choosing an ecommerce platform, Athan analysed multiple platforms but they didn't come close to the impact that Shopify offered. "There were no other options worth considering. At the end of the day, we wanted a commerce partner that enabled us to scale our business.”
Shopify POS allows you to start small, grow big and it gives you the pathway to get there. It's simple to use, and really easy to get started.
Athan appreciates how smoothly managing and processing both online and in-store orders is with Shopify. "Getting an order, the address and details correct, dispatching out and setting up customer notifications; starting all of this in Shopify was seamless." In fact, Athan attributes much of the success of their brick-and-mortar retail strategy to using a POS that seamlessly integrates with their online operations.
Repeat purchases fuelled by a standout store experience
July prides themselves on providing personalised experiences in-store, offering customers the opportunity to design a bespoke piece of customised luggage. This mirrors the personalisation July offers online, creating a unified experience for the customer regardless of the channel they are shopping in.
Pre-COVID, July was hosting monthly events, encouraging customers to visit their store so they could enjoy a first-hand experience with the brand and engage with their premium product range.
The holy grail has always been the single view of the customer, says Athan. It allows July to accurately attribute customer lifetime value (CLTV), and then justify the budget spent on engaging with those customers through their experimental store locations.
"From our data, we knew that the majority of those who visited our stores converted into paying customers. We could feed our offline customers’ details into the same system we are using for online sales and create a single source of truth and a single view of any customer regardless of where they transacted,” explains Athan.
Importantly, Shopify POS helped July identify that 30% of their customers made repeat purchases, prompting July to label them as loyal customers.
Greater visibility into our conversion rate and repeat purchase rate has helped us understand the importance of creating unique and personal experiences in-store for our customers.
Focusing on growth rather than their tech stack
Athan praises Shopify POS for instilling flexibility within July’s business objectives. "Shopify's flexibility allows us to grow, scale-up, scale down, and move around as much as we need without having to think about the technology behind it.”
“We could open more new July stores overnight and Shopify POS and the hardware we use would work exactly the same way we expect it to.”
That stability has helped Athan focus more on growing July, rather than be concerned with the underlying technology they’re using. "I don't have to worry about any of it. I can focus more on growth instead of the technology that we’re using to operate our business.”
Uncovering insights with flexible and accessible reporting
There is a competitive spirit at July. Athan admits to hourly checks and comparisons between online and in-store sales, all made possible through Shopify POS’ reporting and analytics. Despite operating just two physical stores, July’s retail business does remarkably well.
Athan chalks it down to people wanting that in-store experience to see and feel July’s luxury products. In fact, thanks to reporting that allows them to see sales by channel or product category, July learned that in-store shoppers purchase more soft goods than online shoppers.
"We noticed people buy more soft goods in-store than they do online. 80% of our online sales are luggage. In our stores, however, 50% of sales are luggage and 50% bags. Since we use Shopify to run our entire business, we have a holistic view of our sales and our customers," says Athan.
Shopify centralizes all our data and gives us the flexibility to break it down however we want. The reporting is so accessible, which allows us to analyse data ourselves rather than have someone else do it for us.
In addition to generating more soft goods sales, July uses physical stores to learn more about its customers. "We use our physical retail stores as a research feedback loop. We have weekly chats with our retail teams about what feedback customers are sharing with them—what they do or don’t buy.”
Shopify POS helps July deliver first-class customer service
For July, the breadth, functionality, and reliability of Shopify's omnichannel commerce platform makes it a clear-cut best choice for any brand looking to sell in-store and online. "They're the best for your website with optimised conversion and quick payments. They're the best for dispatch and operations management. Now, with their POS, Shopify is the best option for holistic omnichannel selling.”
Learning how to use Shopify POS was easy for Athan and July’s retail teams, who equated it to a native Apple experience. "Everything is quite intuitive and user-friendly. You log in and your products are already there, you set it up and are ready to charge people. Shopify makes things simple and the user experience is great, which is a big benefit for us as we scale our teams.” And when the July team needed assistance, Athan knew he could count on a dedicated customer support representative to help.
I would recommend Shopify POS because it's the single best platform for opening a physical store and offering shoppers service that lives up to their expectations.