When it comes to value fashion in the UK, Boohoo has been the name on everyone’s lips for a while. Boohoo is a popular UK based online retail clothing store aimed at 16 to 30 year olds.This exclusively online brand is one clothing label that continues to stand out in the crowded online fashion world. But how are they doing it, and how did they build such a successful brand?
BRIEF HISTORY OF BOOHOO
Like every great successful start up, Boohoo started from one golden idea. It was founded in 2006 by co-owners, Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane who are Joint Chief Executives of the company, respectively serving as the Group Executive Chairman and Executive Director.
Kamani, who used to be a fashion wholesaler working with his father on a market stall and selling handbags in Manchester, spotted the potential to transform their business by selling online, and used his knowledge of what sells in the 16 to 30 age group to open up their range to a far larger audience online.
Kane has a strong background as a fashion wholesalers supplying fast fashion to high street retailers. They jointly founded boohoo.com to tap into the growing online retail market. Boohoo as a company was incorporated and registered in New Jersey on the 19th of November, 2013 as a public company under the name Boohoo Group PLC.
BOOHOO’S OPERATION IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
Although Boohoo’s major operations centre on the United Kingdom, with its head office in Manchester, it supplies clothing to over 100 other countries outside of the United Kingdom, including France and the United States. Boohoo employs over 2000 workers making it one of the biggest and most recognised online businesses. Boohoo’s core products include a strong variety of dresses and tops, with a selection of over 27,000 styles of clothing making them a leading force in the world of online fashion and retail. Boohoo has made a name for itself as being different from the likes of other online-only fashion giants such as Asos, because all the clothes it sells are own-brand and its price points are lower than competitors, with an average selling price of around £17.
Boohoo uploads about 120 new pieces of clothing onto their site every day and sells an average of 50 items of clothing per minute.
Boohoo not only offers value and choice for the extremely fashion-conscious 16 to 30 year old market, but it also offers convenience as well; vital for this particularly audience who expect fast fashion and deliveries straight to their door. Items on the Boohoo site can be ordered up until midnight for a next day delivery, even on a Sunday. Between 2016 and 2017, the Boohoo customer base had increased by 29%, making their reach an incredible 5.8 million customers.
BOOHOO’S MARKETING STRATEGY
As an online fashion store, Boohoo continues to make strong use of social media as a key tool in their brand marketing strategy. In 2012, they appointed a Social Media Manager and created a social media team whose sole responsibility was to drive the online presence and awareness of the brand. All other members of staff were encouraged to support the social media team by supplying content, feedback, messages and images to the team.
By September 2017, Boohoo already had 4.4 million Instagram followers, 3.1 million Facebook likes and almost a million followers on twitter. As of April 2017, Boohoo had recorded a total of 2.2 million downloads of its mobile app across the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia. Customers browsing from mobile devices accounted for about 70% of total browsing sessions, which was a steady 4% increase from previous years.
Bohoo’s consistent and steady growth over their thirteen years in business has meant they’ve hit major milestones year after year. It’s no surprise that they’ve become such an empire in their corner of the online fashion retail business.
FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE OF BOOHOO GROUP PLC
In April 2018, Boohoo recorded an enviable financial performance as it announced it had almost doubled its revenue on the previous year, taking in a total of £580 million, with pre-tax profits rising by 40% to £43.3 million. Combined with a 22% increase in their customer base, it’s fair to say that Boohoo is doing a lot of things right. Whatsmore, it shows no signs of slowing down either. Boohoo continues to enjoy a strong financial performance into the first quarter of 2019 with a 44% jump in revenue to £328.2 million.
The online retail fashion store is now worth a whopping £2.6 billion ($4.4 billion), making it one of the largest and most wealthy online assets in the world.
Boohoo has won major awards across the industry both in the United Kingdom and outside of it, including;
- BT Online Retail Excellence Awards in 2007
- Best Newcomer at the 2009 Cosmopolitan Online Fashion Awards
- Best for Bargains at the 2010 Cosmopolitan Fashion Awards
- Best Online Retailer at the Lorraine Awards, 2012, 2013 and 2014
- com also won the City A.M’s Business of the Year award in 2017
The evolution of Boohoo from a wholesale stall to a business giant is in itself a great inspiration and lesson for business owners worldwide. It shows the power of innovation. Boohoo took off as a clever way to combine fashion insider knowledge with the unlimited possibilities of the internet while its competition was still waging analogue wars. They ensured they were straight out of the starting blocks when new opportunities and innovations came along, and kept a keen eye on their customer base all the way through.
As a relatively new company with an impressive market share of customers, they have also shown up-and-coming businesses the way to level the playing field when it comes to playing with the big guns. The internet and specifically social media marketing have helped narrow the gap in the marketing power balance between huge companies and start ups, and Boohoo have exploited every opportunity to create a buzz about their brand. They know their market inside out, showing that with the right knowledge and an eye for opportunity, it is possible to become an overnight success story even in a highly competitive scene.