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Founded in 2011 by Stefan Gehrig, King Kong Apparel prides themselves on making the most functional, toughest and highest quality gym bags. Using the most durable materials and smartest construction techniques, King Kong Apparel bags are decked out with multiple compartments and quick access pockets so customers can keep their gear organized and easily accessible.
King Kong Apparel had gone through several iterations of their website over the years and had been on Shopify for six years. Since their last site development a couple years prior to approaching Ethercycle, they’d been making updates and patches to add functionality to address their evolving needs.
“After a number of years of building on band-aid solutions, it became inefficient and difficult to work with and the customer experience was clunky. Load rates were slow because it was patches on patches. We got to the point where rather than making more patch jobs, it was time for a clean slate with a new theme with all the functionality built into it.”
As a high-end gym bag brand, 90% of King Kong Apparel’s orders were single-item orders for a product that lasts for years, so one of the core challenges the company had tried to address by building onto what they already had was increasing the number of items per order (and consequently increasing the average order value). They used third-party apps to install pop-ups offering upsells. The pop-ups weren’t well branded or integrated into the site and added friction to the customer experience.
King Kong Apparel wanted to have an up-to-date, cohesive site that included a well-integrated and smooth upselling and checkout experience for the customer in order to increase the number of items per order and average order value.
“I guess the main concern with development in general is consistency between what I expect and what the developers are actually going to deliver. We’d never had great experience working with developers. There had always been scope creep and disagreement around timeframes and things like that.
I'd followed Ethercycle’s work as thought leaders in the Shopify space, and I had even been a guest on the Unofficial Shopify Podcast. I could see the websites they’d delivered in the past, so it was pretty clear what deliverables we were going to get, which is not necessarily the case for all developers. We had the initial idea of hiring someone local, but it got to the point where we wanted the best in the game, so I reached out to Kurt.”
We worked with King Kong Apparel to design & develop a custom theme that would take the customer shopping experience to the next level.
A key feature we implemented was building the upselling experience into the theme, rather than using third-party apps. We customized the theme so that King Kong Apparel could easily assign two accessories (such as a water bottle and a T-shirt ) to feature on a product detail page (PDP) to encourage the customer to add to their order. The drawer cart we added displays additional product suggestions as cross-sell opportunities. As part of a separate engagement later on, we created a custom bundling feature that offers customers a discount for buying a specific bundle of products and integrated it with the inventory management and third-party-logistics fulfillment systems.
Our design process for custom themes is always a collaborative one, and we worked closely with King Kong Apparel to improve the look and functionality of the new site.
We designed the site to have an excellent mobile experience (a core requirement with 70% of the site’s traffic coming from mobile devices). We executed some specific design requests King Kong Apparel had, such as creating a custom collection menu in the style of Instagram story bubbles that wouldn’t collapse into a hamburger menu (unlike the main menu) to make the collections easy to navigate on mobile. On the collection pages, we make the product color variants appear as separate items while still having those variants connect to the same PDP.
To give the site a more unique and delightful touch, we custom drew icons for elements such as the trust badges, product highlights, and product specs.
We created a flexible long-form PDP template to showcase product value and answer potential objections, with sections that can be easily added or removed (including images, banners, FAQs, testimonials, etc.). We added a custom-coded progress bar to show the customer remaining inventory level of a given product (in stock, low stock, out of stock/on backorder) and the timeframe the item will be shipped within. We also built a custom comparison table for the product spec section, which allows King Kong Apparel to select up to two other products to compare, in order to help the customer come to the right buying decision for them.
We added the ability to feature 3D images of the product and use augmented reality to give the customer a better sense of the product’s size and details within their own environment (allowing them to better compare the new bag they are contemplating buying with their old bag, for example).
“It's just a far more engaging experience for buying a backpack, which can be a difficult thing to sell to people without them seeing it in their hands. The website as a whole is certainly far more engaging than it used to be.”
We recommended and implemented a floating add-to-cart button to the PDP to make it easy for the customer to purchase as they scroll down the page. We made custom adjustments to optimize the screen placement (nearer the bottom of the screen instead of the top) and to show key product information (including price, color and a photo of the product) to reduce the need for the customer to scroll back up to see what they have selected.
Stefan says it was particularly valuable having us make suggestions such as this one based on our deep expertise and experience in designing and developing Shopify sites.
“Not being developers and not being at the forefront of ecommerce trends, it was great to have someone tell us, ‘Hey, this is what we’re seeing is working really well at the moment for conversion rates and for increasing average order value. We think you should try this.’
We never would’ve had some of these improvements if they hadn’t suggested it. It was like having an in-house partner rather than a service provider who would just do exactly what we said. We got the benefit of the Ethercycle team’s skills and brains to improve our site.”
The launch of the new website was a seamless one, says Stefan, and he appreciated how we delivered exactly what we said we would within the timeframe we promised.
The changes to the site have resulted in a much smoother and more engaging customer experience.
With the new website and integrated bundle offers, King Kong Apparel has seen marked improvements in product sales, including:
Stefan says the results we’ve helped them achieve are particularly important in the face of the continual rise of advertising costs.
“If we can’t improve customer repeat purchase behavior or increase order value, we'll get to the point where it's too expensive to advertise for customers. So we’re happy about the results and it’s absolutely critical that we do this and keep improving.”
Stefan says he says they benefited from our expertise beyond the confines of theme development and would recommend working with us to others.
“Working with Ethercycle, the benefit is knowing we're right on the forefront of ecommerce best practices as a whole. We get more of an overall understanding of what's working well with all the different integrations and marketing tools in conjunction with the Shopify site. It’s not just ‘we’re developing this theme for you.’ They take into account how it plays with the entire tech stack.
It was a great experience and they provided their best ideas outside of what we had asked them to do. We’re doing ongoing work with them because we’ve been so happy.”
Ethercycle helped King Kong Apparel: