We have a saying at Fab: We’re an emotional business, backed up by data.
We don’t just say it, we live it every day. We truly believe that part of the key to Fab’s past, current, and future success is the way we rely first on emotions to guide key decisions around our business, and then second turning to data to support, defy, or enlighten those emotions. We believe that following this “emotions first” model is key to our maintaining the Fab personality and emotional connection with our customers. We never choose what to sell on Fab based on how much money we think it will make, rather we first talk about whether we love it, whether we think our members will get excited about it, and whether it fits the Fab brand personality (colorful, modern, fun, functional). As trite as it might sound, we truly believe that if we sell stuff we love, and focus on exciting our customers, then we will sell lots and lots of stuff over time. That’s what our brand is about: Wow. Our brand is not about making money. Our brand is about making Wow. We then bring in data to inform how much we should buy or whether we should try to sell it again, etc. So, it’s emotions first, data second at Fab.
Not everyone runs their business this way.
Earlier this week some senior Fab merchandising employees were at a meeting with a senior merchandising executive at another large e-Commerce company and our team told them about our Emotions-first model. The response from the other side was, and I quote: “you’re making me want to throw up.” That’s just fine by us.
Which brings me to Andrew Mason’s farewell note upon being fired from Groupon yesterday. Look, I don’t know Andrew, I have no idea what sort of leader he was at Groupon and how much of Groupon’s current and past struggles are because of his leadership. I do know that he built one of the fastest growing businesses in history and then hit some big speed-bumps. Big speed-bumps happen to a lot of companies, even amazingly successful ones (see: the history of Apple in 1985 when Jobs was fired, and many more as example). I do believe (from an outsider’s perspective) that Groupon’s relentless focus on going public and putting up big sales numbers at the expense of earning and nurturing the trust of their customers (both consumer and business customers) has played a big role in their struggles. I was, however, struck by something Andrew wrote in his farewell note: “If there’s one piece of wisdom that this simple pilgrim would like to impart upon you: have the courage to start with the customer. My biggest regrets are the moments that I let a lack of data override my intuition on what’s best for our customers.”
Some say that the Fab way and comments like Andrew’s are in sharp contrast to those of say Peter Drucker who once said: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”
What I think, and what I think Andrew was alluding to, is that the best long term businesses are emotions first, data second. Sure, every business needs lots of data to inform decisions. But, the data wont make the decisions for you. There’s data out there to back up all sorts of directions for every business. Only emotions — and true understanding of what direction your compass is pointing in — can guide you towards the long term relationship your company will have in the eyes of its customers. You gotta put the customer relationship ahead of the money-making stuff. Get the customer relationship and trust right and the money-making stuff will work out over time.
I’m personally a data junkie. But all the cohort data in the world is not going to tell me what to do next for our customers. The data only informs and helps make sense of the past. The go-forward strategy comes from our passion and love and belief in the long term vision for Fab and our customers and partners, informed by the data. Emotions first. Data second.
I believe that the companies that win in the end are those who really develop emotional ties with their customers. Some call that brand building. Sure. It is just that. Building a brand is different than building a company. Building a company is about strategy and finance. Building a brand is about layering on emotions. Over the long term, companies come and go, but brands endure.
Smile, you’re designed to.
It’s not just a saying. It’s the way we work.
Andy Warhol once said: “I think it would be very glamorous to be reincarnated as a great big ring on Liz Taylor’s finger.”
We’ve always imagined Fab as the website that Andy would have created. We think it would be very glamorous to be reincarnated as a great big virtual world inspired by Andy Warhol.
Tuesday we had the privilege of selling original Warhols on Fab. And sell, they did. 28 of 31 pieces, ranging in price from $600 to $8000 sold out within 8 hours. On Wednesday we’ll offer a similar collection on Fab Europe.
It’s humbling. It’s inspiring. It’s Fab.
Two weeks ago Kate Spade turned to Fab to exclusively launch their new Saturday line.
Now, Christies turned to Fab to feature original Warhols.
It’s simple. Fab is everyday design. In the last 12 months we’ve grown from 1 million to 12 million members, with an average shopper’s age of 28 years old, who are 60% female, social media savvy, and who appreciate modern, colorful, fun, and functional design across all categories and price points. Fab is the place to discover designs that inspire, designs that poke, designs that make you smile. We’re a bit off center. We’re color. We challenge the norm. We constantly re-imagine and reinvent. We’ve got a definite point of view. 67% of our daily sales are from repeat buyers. So, we’re a happy addiction. More than 1/3 of our daily sales are via mobile apps. So, we’re in your pocket. We’re fresh.
Dirty little Fab secret: We actually care more about pushing buttons and being exciting than we do about selling. If we push and excite every day, lots and lots will sell over time.
We’re a lot of what Warhol always lived and imagined.
And, we’re still just getting started.
Smile, you’re designed to.
As per a Fab muse.
That’s how we feel about a very special event launching on Fab today at 4pm Eastern in the U.S., 4pm CET tomorrow in Europe..
Just a few days ago, Fast Company magazine named Fab the #5 most innovative company in the world, for “evolving into the destination for design wares” and for leading the industry in e-commerce user experience.
Our reaction was: Holy shit. Yeah, we’re growing super fast at Fab (sales up more than 500% in 2012 over 2011), but we’re also a humble bunch and we know that we’re just at the very beginning of a long long Fab journey.
#5 most innovative company in the world? Those are some big shoes to fill! But, we are thankful that it’s a recognition of our constant rethinking and re-imagining of the e-commerce user experience.
So, we decided to whip up some quick innovation to show the world what e-commerce innovation looks like at Fab speed.
Just a few days ago we brainstormed an idea to create a “fullscreen” way to browse Fab on the web. The idea was to enable users to swipe iPad-like on the web through Fab’s products in fullscreen image mode, turning Fab into your very own design magazine.
From idea to hackathon to Ship It! in just a few days, I’m thrilled to announce that we have just launched V1 of Fab Fullscreen to all of Fab’s members globally. The entire project took just a few days.
Here’s how it works.
To Launch Fab Fullscreen: From any list of products on Fab, just click on the two red expand arrows in the top right corner of the product image.
Here are a 2 examples:
1. With help tip.
That will then launch Fab Fullscreen.
Fab Fullscreen enables you to browse products on Fab in large image format. The entire screen focuses on the large product image. All other features and navigation of Fab fade to the back.
You can easily browse through our entire catalogue just with a click of the right or left arrows.
See something you like? Click the heart to add it to your favorites. This adds the product to your bookmarks of favorite Fab products, for you to save for later and for you to share with the world.
We’ve also added a recommendations sidebar to Fab FullScreen: “You Might Also Like.” This presents similar products based on an algorithm that calculates what Fab’s members who purchased or faved the product you are looking at also purchased and favorited.
We are hopeful that Fab’s members will enjoy this latest innovation from Fab. For us, internally, it was a great exercise in going from idea to live product enhancements in just a few days.
We’ll be adding more features and enhancements to Fab Fullscreen in the coming days and weeks.
And, yes, we are just getting started.
Expect even more innovations from Fab regularly. We are constantly rethinking and re-imagining the e-commerce experience.
Smile, you’re designed to.
Today marks the 1 year birthday of Fab Europe. We launched Fab in Europe, first in Germany, on February 21 2011.
We have this say at Fab: You can do a lot in a day.
Well, as Fab Europe is proving, you can do a whole heck of a lot in 365 days.
Fab Exclusive: Shop Now! Kate Spade Launches Its New Saturday Collection on @Fab. @katespadeny launches @ks_saturday
Big news! Kate Spade has just launched its new Saturday collection exclusively on Fab! Shop now, like it’s Saturday every day!
Fab is rapidly becoming a design-centric fashion powerhouse. While Fab is primarily known for fun, quirky, modern, and colorful products for your home, 20% of our sales now come from fashion and accessories.
With 11 million members in 26 countries, where 35% are under 35 – it’s no surprise Kate Spade hand-selected Fab to bring their new Saturday line to market. And Fab’s power goes beyond web-based e-commerce, 35% of sales are on mobile – the new frontier of shopping.
Fab is partnering with top fashion design house Kate Spade to launch their newest line – Kate Spade Saturday. Today, this new collection debuts on Fab – more than 2 weeks before its official roll out on store shelves and the Kate Spade site.
Just in time for the spring shopping season – Fab and Kate Spade are presenting a playful and sunny line full of staples like striped wedges, graphic home goods, poplin jumpsuits, vibrant iPhone cases and essential weekender bags.
You know how obsessed we are with bold, bright hues – so it should come as no surprise that we’re excited to be partnering with Kate Spade Saturday to bring this new colorful, patterned collection to market.
This partnership speaks to the future of retail – where consumers are focused on the experience, discovery and access.
There’s nothing like a line inspired by Saturday to put a smile on your face. And, at Fab we always want to make you smile.
Fab + Kate Spade = Not to be Missed!
Smile, you’re designed to.
This was not expected. It is so very humbling and inspiring. What a testament to the hard work and dedication of the Fab team towards re-imagining and reinventing what online shopping can be all about.
Fab is everyday design. In a very short period of time we have created the world’s #1 design store by delivering a fresh, unique, quirky, modern, and fun experience. And, we’re just getting started.
Thank you Fast Company and others for acknowledging our progress.
But, we’re just getting started. We plan to continue re-imagining and reinventing every day.
Smile, you’re designed to.
And, here’s a snapshot of our first 18 months:
It goes without saying that Fab is a transparent company. Transparency is one of our core values. We believe that the more people know about Fab and our story, the more they will understand the people and motives behind our company. We are an emotional brand. Put simply, we want people to LOVE every interaction with Fab and we’re not satisfied until we’ve delivered a WOW! experience.
But, we’re also a private company, so we can’t share everything.
We don’t typically share monthly sales data.
But, January was so exceptional — and January typically sucks for retailers — that I just had to share some details.
- Fab grew sales by nearly 300% in January 2013 over January 2012.
- January 2013 was our 3rd highest sales month ever. It was 40% higher than any previous non-holiday month.
- Fab added 1 million members in January 2013, bringing our total to 11M members worldwide. That compares to 1.5M members at the end of January 2012.
- Fab now has 1 million members in the UK, which is also now generating nearly 40% of our sales in Europe and is our fastest growing market outside the U.S.
- Repeat buyers continue to make up 67% of our daily sales.
- Mobile sales continue to average around 33% of daily sales.
- 8% of every login to Fab in January 2013 resulted in a purchase.
- Oh, and we also just won the Crunchie for best e-commerce company of 2012. Humbling. Inspiring.
Not bad for what’s typically a horrible month for retailers.
And, we’re just getting started.
Here’s to an even more Fab rest of 2013.
Smile, you’re designed to.
Unicorn Poop Cookies 10 Pack @InsaneBakeShop on Fab.
Congrats to the entire Fab team on this huge win!
Fab was named best e-commerce company of 2012 at the Crunchies last night in San Francisco.
Thanks to Fab’s COO, Beth Ferreira, and our SVP Merchandise Ops, Matt Baer, for accepting on our behalf, as Bradford & I are in Berlin right now with the Fab Europe team.
Smile, you’re designed to.
Mobile is a cornerstone of the Fab experience. It is not an understatement to say that Fab is a breakout mobile retailer. Each day 30% of Fab’s sales comes from our mobile apps on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. During some day-parts we see 50% of our sale come through our apps. We even had two days in the last 30 days where the entire days we saw more mobile revenue than pc mobile. That compares to 10% mobile sales for most e-commerce companies.
Our formula for building a great mobile retail experience is:
- Build mobile first. For nearly a year now, we’ve been designing and building new Features for Fab’s mobile users first, and then taking those features to the web. Building mobile-first forces us to think about how Fab will be used by people on the go first, and people at their desks second. We’re now in a rapid development cycle on Fab mobile, updating our app with new features and usability improvements every few weeks.
- Keep it simple. Our mobile UX philosophy is to just get out of the way. We try to make it as simple and easy as possible for our members to discover the Fab products. The functionality of our apps is intended to just fade into the background, not occupy the foreground. It’s not about us. It’s about the products.
- Build mobile experiences, not mobile shopping. Yes, Fab is a retailer. But our entire mobile experience is designed more for browsing and discovery than it is for buying. We want people to want to take their mobile out of their pocket hourly just to see what’s hot on Fab right now. We believe that if people enjoy browsing and discovering on Fab, plenty of sales will happen over time.
For my fellow business numbers geeks, here’s some additional data on Fab mobile:
- Fab’s mobile customers purchase 20% more items per order than our web customers.
- Fab’s mobile customers also have much higher lifetime value.
So, with that, we just released a set of new features for the Fab App.
Navigation-less browsing. As the Fab member scrolls on the app, the navigation elements fade away so that they user can focus entirely on the Fab products.
Browsing (Nav elements fade away).
Dramatically improved search, browse, and filtering.
Search, browse, and filter by product type or color.
Sort by Price, Best Selling, Most Faved, Availability.
Bookmark your faves and purchases with your own new Fab profile.
Here you see my profile which shows all of the items I’ve Faved and Purchased. Yes, I really did buy the unicorn poop!
As always, we’re still just getting started. More improvements coming regularly to the Fab App.