2.5 million masks and still delivering

Story of how we helped Fabric Pandit in the wake of COVID-19

Fabric Pandit is a D2C ecommerce startup with two branches, one focusing on everyday utility apparels like masks and sanitary pouches, second one focusing on helping designers and boutiques reduce costs by delivering designer fabrics directly from source. Fabric Pandit started operations right when the world was battling COVID and masks and other medical supplies were in short supply. Since then, Fabric Pandit has shipped masks across all pin-codes of India, contributing heavily to India’s effort in stopping the spread of Coronavirus.

Growth

As with every success story, there isn’t one defining moment, but a series of defining moments that add to a positive outcome, here we list some of the challenges or key moves we made to aid Fabric Pandit’s growth.

Fabric Pandit’s revenue growth and when we joined as partners.
  • Upgrading to Shopify Plus
  • Reducing COD returns using OTP verification
  • Recovering users landing on Out of Stock Products
  • Covid restrictions and recovering users from unserviceable pincodes
  • Simplifying the checkout for Indian users
  • Understanding user behaviour with Advanced Analytics
  • Up To speed with Shopify OS 2.0
  • Saving $4000 on email marketing every month

Upgrading to Shopify Plus

Advanced Shopify is a great platform to get started and scale but soon can limit growth because of technical limitations it poses.

Fabric Pandit was at that stage and the right thing to do was to unlock the next set of modifications, and hence we upgraded Fabric Pandit to Shopify Plus, which not only helped us make additional modifications but also reduced the monthly commission that FP pays to Shopify.

Best benefits of shopify plus was getting access to checkout.liquid file which allowed us to optimise Fabric Pandit’s Checkout.

Key Benefits of Shopify Plus
  • Lowered Shopify Commission
  • Custom Checkout
  • Faster API calls
  • Advanced Checkout Engine
  • Cloned stores for Development and testing of risky integrations

Reducing COD returns using OTP verification

In a developing market like India people are yet to start trusting e-commerce companies and online transactions. Thus, Cash On Delivery(COD) becomes compulsory, But with cod comes fraudulent customers placing orders with fake identity and addresses.

E-commerce businesses in India usually have 30% return to origin(RTO) orders for CODs, Fabric Pandit was better positioned at only 14% of RTO COD returns, But since RTO logistics cost a lot because of two way shipping, fixing this would have improved the revenue top-line significantly.

We deployed a simple hack to reduce fraud at source by verifying OTP of customers using their phone numbers given OTPs are a very common practice in India and wouldn’t add friction to genuine buyers.

“Reduce the 14% returns to just 5% effectively reducing it by 9% which boosted profit significantly.”

Recovering users landing on Out of Stock Products

Imagine promoting new products through ads and newsletters, and by the time a customer sees the email or a message or the advertisement, the product is already sold out, it is a good problem to have.

Fabric Pandit had a very similar problem, people had started associating masks with self-expression more than a utility and products would go ‘out of stock’ minutes after launch and more customers would still pour in for days, leaving disappointed by the ‘out of stock’ label.

And it was almost impossible to scale the inventory because of peak covid forcing manufacturing units shut and unavailability of workers.

And this was a huge segment of users to be ignored, we thought of two solutions:

  1. Provide a ‘notify me’ on Out of Stock products, this feature sends out a SMS text alert when the product is in stock.
  2. Improving discovery of other products on Out of Stock product pages.

“We immediately saw reduction in exits from Out of Stock product pages, which meant improved retention and customers not leaving disappointed.”

Covid restrictions and recovering users from unserviceable pincodes

In the months of July and August, the second wave of COVID was in full swing and eCommerce delivery restrictions were growing.

FP was marketing pan-india but we had a unique challenge, the list of unserviceable pincodes from logistics partners would update everyday which meant it was impossible to make changes in marketing campaigns because the frequency was very high and with huge uncertainty.

We already had a Pincode checker in place which would prevent users from placing orders if they reside in unserviceable pincodes.This was resulting in FP losing around 15% of acquired customers, directly meaning loss of 15% ad budget. Since there was no way to fix it in ad campaigns, we devised a ‘Pincode Serviceability Recovery’ feature.

User Story: User lands on a product page and checks pincode serviceability or the user is checking out and the delivery address has an unserviceable pincode, ask the user if they would want to be notified when the pincode is serviceable again.

When the pincode is serviceable again and if the product that the user wanted to buy is still in stock, this tool sends out text SMSes with a magic link that continues the user journey from where the user exited.

Soon after this was launched covid restrictions started relaxing, but just in case next wave hits, we are well equipped to tackle this problem.

Simplifying the checkout for Indian users

Shopify guest checkout is great and well designed for developed economies, it is compliant with global laws and regulations, is built to solve the majority of issues related to wrong addresses, shipping and payment options, it is a well rounded generalised solution, decent enough to start with.

As you grow, you start noticing that you need something that serves your audience better, the 4-step checkout on Fabric Pandit was bleeding 70% users from checkout initiation to completed transaction.

We applied custom events on complete checkout and measured the areas causing the drop, major problems were high cognitive load of the UI and sequence in which the information was asked was creating a sense of fear.

We reduced shopify’s 4-step 15-actions checkout to a clean 2-steps 7-actions checkout merging fields, changing sequence and pre-populating information.

Impact: We saw a 14% reduction in drop, from 70% to 56%, a 14% in the bottom of the funnel directly impacted the revenue and profits.

Additionally, we also helped integrate a separate checkout and payment gateway (GoKwik) for customers wanting to pay through COD and UPI, which is a major chunk.

Understanding user behaviour with Advanced Analytics

For a store of the scale like Fabric Pandit, more than 5 million customers interact with the website every year, improving the features or adding new ones can not just rely on intuition, it needs to be backed by real world data.

With basic Google Analytics integration and Shopify analytics, it is easy to see macro data and user flows, but both of these are blind to what users do on a specific page or a feature and how many users do it how frequently.

We added both qualitative and quantitative analytics systems, qualitative with video recordings, mouse and scroll tracking heat maps and quantitative with GA custom events. With GA custom events we were able to generated micro data from millions of datapoints every week, giving us deeper insights into particular sections of the website which were previously unavailable.

The data gathering architecture based on GA events was made in scalable and dynamic manner, new events get added automatically when a new page, product, collection or a link is added, and it allowed for isolated analysis of individual features or a cumulative analysis of sections of the website or the entire website itself.

We now use this analysis while helping in the process of decision making and all of this data from is contributing to the historical data which can be used predict user behaviour patterns in the future.

Up To speed with Shopify OS 2.0

Rapid and frequent experimentation with content, layout, features and marketing assets is at the core of Fabric Pandit’s growth strategy, which was easy but very time consuming in the past.

Shopify as it is great, but severely limited frontend engineering, which would have to be compensated with building additional app, with release of Shopify OS 2.0, it unlocked a whole new level of frontend engineering and editing.

Now the store can be optimised for different form of content and content driven experiences, without impacting other sections on the page or side loading a private app.

One big upgrade for Fabric Pandit was the increased and fluid experience, which overall improved the UX.

Migrating to Shopify OS 2.0 has equipped us to help Fabric Pandit for more detailed experimentation for the future.

Saving $4000 on email marketing every month

Like any other D2C ecommerce startup, Fabric Pandit started as a one man operation, and they started Drip for email marketing, which is great if you have a small list of customers, it has a fuss-free automation editor and works perfectly well, generating significant ROI to negate it’s cost.

But over the past year as the store grew and so did the list of contacts in Drip, the invoices started going well beyond $4000 per month, irrespective of the number of emails being sent.

To us, this seemed extremely high considering we have seen clients send 10 million plus emails every month and their invoices being a quarter of this amount.

We paired Amazon SES with Sendy(a sendletter automation tool built to pair with Amazon SES), effectively reducing a monthly $4000+ invoice to a $200.