When we started Fab all of 15 months ago we set out on an ambitious mission to help people better their lives with design.
As designers ourselves, we also put a heavy burden on us: To try to build the world’s best-designed online shopping experience. We told ourselves that if we were going to sell the world’s best designed stuff from the world’s most exciting designers, we ourselves needed to step up to the plate and design some pretty amazing and seamless shopping experiences. I’d like to say I knew we could do it, but the truth is we were nervous as hell. We had a whole lot, “we’re not worthy,” and “will they like us?” going on for a while. I mean, come on, our website had to be good enough to host the likes of Milton Glaser and Kartel and Herman Miller. Design legends. A tall order, indeed.
We started in June 2011 with the Fab website and then we added to that with our mobile apps in October 2011.
Our design philosophy was inspired by the late great ceramics designer Eva Zeisel. When asked once how to make something beautiful she replied, “You just have to get out of the way.” That’s our design approach at Fab. Our website and our apps try to fade into the background while putting the primary focus on the designs and the designers. It’s not about us. We try to just get out of the way and help people discover great designs. To this day, even with nearly 500 Fab employees and with a team of some of the most talented user experience designers and web/mobile developers on earth, I still personally review every new user experience, and I do so always with an eye towards making it simpler and just making sure we are getting out of the way of the user. As you add features that gets harder and harder. But, it’s that important. It’s everything. We’re only as good as our own design.
Now, to be 100% honest and transparent about it, our mobile apps to-date have mostly been just smaller versions of our website. We took the best of what worked for Fab on the web and just form-fitted it as best possible into the iPhone, iPad, and Android formats.
And to be equally honest, it’s been just incredible to see how people have taken to Fab on mobile. We never could have predicted just how important mobile would be to our future. And, how quickly mobile would take on such importance. After launching in October of last year, mobile usage quickly grew to 15% of our overall usage by year-end 2011, then 20% earlier this year, 25%, and then 30%. And, mobile is carrying the same weight in terms of orders and in terms of revenue. Yep, we’re getting 30% of our sales from mobile less than 1 year from launching our mobile apps.
iPad has been particularly out performing. We have half the iPad users and daily logins as iPhone users, BUT, iPad is almost neck-and-neck with iPhone in terms of orders and revenue. iPad conversion rates are off the charts. 6% to 7% of all Fab iPad visits result in a purchase. Think of that. Around 6.5% of every time someone opens the Fab iPad app they make a purchase. And, they buy more than two items per order on average.
Sometimes I feel like I should just buy everyone an iPad with the Fab App loaded on it. Hmmmm.
And, it’s been a thrill to watch how users have responded to the design of our mobile apps. Again, they’ve just been mini mobile-app-optimized versions of our website, but we’ve updated and enhanced them about 10 times in the past 10 months, trying to deliver regular updates in response to users’ feedback and suggestions.
We were humbled and honored to win the world’s best mobile shopping app Webby. And the best mobile shopping app Crunchie. And we thought to ourselves: Really? For what is just a smaller, app-optimized version of our website? Really?
And we recently have been astonished to find that less than a year after launch, Fab’s app is the #10 bestselling of all free iPad Lifestyle App and #18 for iPhone.
Again, we’re not worthy!
Ok, we’ll take it.
But we can do better.
At Fab, we believe that the future of shopping is in your pocket and on your tablet.
And, for the past 6 months we’ve been hard at work rebuilding Fab’s apps from the ground-up as mobile-first apps. We’ve rethunk (love that word) the entire Fab experience for the mobile user. We’ve designed a new experience special for iPad users.
And, if all goes swiftly with the Apple approval process, before the end of September, we’ll show it to you.
And we hope you’ll like it.
And we promise to absorb your feedback and to keep making it better and better and better.
You see, 30% of visits and sales coming from mobile might be cool, but we’re still at just the very beginning of mobile commerce and Fab hopes to be a leader. We see a day when mobile is more than 50%. And, we want to be the world’s leading mobile commerce innovator. A driver. A visionary. That’s a lot to sign up for, but we’re confident yet humble enough to do it.
When it comes to mobile commerce, we’re on the cusp of huge huge market disruptions. And, we really are just getting started.
Smile, you’re designed to.
Fab’s new mobile experience hits the app store in just a few weeks.
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