Who Gives A Crap doubles revenue with international expansion stores
Home and garden
International expansion, B2B and wholesale, Growth and scale, Customization, Apps and integrations
Who Gives A Crap got its start in 2012 after its co-founders learned that 2.4 billion people—roughly 40% of the global population—didn’t have access to a toilet. Launched with a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo, Who Gives A Crap took on the toilet paper market with a mission to donate 50% of its profits to help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world.
Who Gives A Crap has since grown into a household name, becoming an international brand and making it fun to do good. To date, the brand has raised more than AU$13 million, a feat no doubt bolstered by the spike in toilet paper demand triggered by COVID-19. When the brand looked for growth in other markets and greater brand traction through wholesale buyers, it turned to Shopify Plus for its expansion stores, B2B, and customization capabilities.
With Shopify Plus, Who Gives A Crap has seen:
- 2X year-over-year revenue growth since international expansion store launches
- 15% year-over-year increase in conversion
- 20% increase in customer lifetime value
Having initially adopted a direct-to-consumer (DTC) model, Who Gives A Crap used Shopify from the beginning to handle most of its sales. But when the brand wanted to move to its next tier of growth by expanding beyond its existing market, it became clear it needed additional ecommerce capabilities.
“If our mission is to give people access to clean water and sanitation, which is a huge problem, we need more bums to wipe than just in Australia,” said Jehan Ratnatunga, Co-Founder & VP of Strategy and Digital Product, Who Gives A Crap. “We always knew we couldn’t do this with just one market. It’s been in our thinking from Day One.”
International expansion was a top priority in the brand’s growth plans. However, with a name like Who Gives A Crap and a love of toilet puns, it was essential to get the messaging right for each country the brand operated in, given cultural differences and language usage in respective markets.
The B2B market was another important area for growth. Although most toilet paper is bought and sold in grocery stores, there was little interest among retailers in the brand’s products. Regardless, the brand built up a wholesale business, selling to the likes of hotels and cafes. But with a largely manual B2B order process, every new wholesale purchase meant additional time spent on administrative tasks such as inventory reconciliation, making B2B difficult to scale.
At the same time, while Who Gives A Crap’s online channel was bearing the bulk of customer sales for the company, a limited palette of automation and optimization tools represented a barrier to the kind of streamlined scale the brand wanted to achieve in order to reach its next stage of growth sustainably.
Who Gives A Crap already used Shopify, making the easiest path to expansion an upgrade to Shopify Plus. This provided access to Shopify’s expansion store feature, which it used to create three online stores specifically customized for the US, the UK and Europe target markets. The ability to customize each expansion store individually meant Who Gives A Crap could tailor its brand messaging, pricing information, currency selection, and checkout processes to appeal to people in different countries.
“With DTC, you want to be able to tell your story to the customer in the context in which they live, and that changes from geography to geography. Messages that resonate in the US are different to those that resonate in the UK,” Ratnatunga said.
Who Gives A Crap also used the Shopify expansion store capability to launch dedicated B2B stores for its wholesale customers. Employing the B2B on Shopify suite of tools, the brand customized three expansion stores to service its wholesale markets in Australia, the US, and the UK. The B2B on Shopify functionality enabled Who Gives A Crap to create bespoke price lists for individual wholesale customers, self-service ordering, and an automated fulfillment process.
Not only did Who Gives A Crap improve customer experience through front-end customization, it also used Shopify Flow to create customized automations aimed at streamlining the user experience for both DTC and B2B customers. With Flow, Who Gives A Crap was able to automatically offer bulk discounts to wholesale customers such as schools and automate targeted promotional discounts to DTC customer cohorts.
At the same time, the brand employed the Klaviyo marketing automation app to automate promotional emails to customers at various points in the customer lifecycle, boosting brand engagement and purchasing opportunities. Additionally, Who Gives A Crap made use of the ReCharge subscription management app to augment its toilet paper subscription business with tools such as personalized customer journey flows and automated recharge messages.
With Who Gives A Crap surpassing the 1 million order milestone, the expansion of the brand into the US, the UK, and the European markets via Shopify Plus expansion stores has bolstered its growth strategy. The ability to customize each country’s online store has helped to tailor the brand’s story to maximize customer engagement in those markets. International sales now outstrip sales in Australia.
While international expansion has delivered market diversification, the use of expansion stores and B2B on Shopify to support the growth of the brand’s wholesale business has delivered channel diversification. Who Gives A Crap now has thousands of wholesale customers using its online B2B store, the influx of business buyers driving up its wholesale revenue rate.
All of Who Gives A Crap’s expansion stores share the same unified Shopify admin as its main store. This means the brand now has instant visibility across all of its online sales channels from one single source of truth. It also enables Who Gives A Crap to integrate analytics tools and business intelligence applications to keep better track of sales, inventory, and costs.
“Without having a great system behind our B2B channel, it would be much harder to work out which products and customers are working best and make the right decisions to enable more growth,” said Ratnatunga.
Such insight proved to be a valuable asset for the careful management and rationing of stock when Who Gives A Crap faced a surge in online store traffic that was ten times higher than normal due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Using Shopify Flow, the brand automated its inventory planning calculations, ensuring it didn’t make any mistakes when rationing toilet paper for customers.
“One of the most important things we get with Shopify Plus is core stability,” said Ratnatunga. “The panic buying during COVID-19 was nuts, and yet nothing relating to our online stores broke. We knew there would be peaks and troughs in demand, but Shopify Plus has allowed us to navigate some challenging times for the industry as a whole.”
Who Gives A Crap’s use of Flow, in conjunction with Klaviyo and ReCharge, has also enabled the automation of customer-facing communications, sales prompts, and promotional messaging, enabling more attentive customer engagement, which has resulted in noticeable upticks in sales conversion rates and customer lifetime value.
At the same time, Who Gives A Crap has integrated its NetSuite cloud enterprise resource planning system with Shopify Plus to gain even greater financial and operational insight. Meanwhile, the brand is in the process of taking its customization capabilities to the next level by implementing headless commerce with Hydrogen front-end web development framework.
We’ve found Shopify to be the tool that’s been there from the start, it’s helpful, it doesn’t get in the way, it just enables growth. There are so many features within the platform that enable the team to do what they do.
- Who Gives A Crap
- Jehan Ratnatunga — Co-Founder & VP of Strategy and Digital Product
With Shopify Plus, Who Gives A Crap saw results fast.
year-over-year revenue growth since international expansion store launches
year-over-year increase in conversion
increase in customer lifetime value