JackThreads, the Thrillist-owned men’s shopping community, is seeing some insane mobile growth and conversion rates. But it has also found something surprising: some of its customers have been discovering the company for the first time on mobile. They never shopped the site on the web. The company isn’t even sure yet who these people are, or why they’re connecting with the brand on mobile, but they can see the results of that change. And it’s good.
“Trust me, I need to know,” says Thrillist CEO Ben Lerer, when asked who these new mobile users are. “That’s the question: who are these people that aren’t finding us on the web, but when we reach them on mobile they’re our absolutely [redacted] perfect customer?!,” he exclaims, using, ahem, colorful language. These customers, he tells us, have helped the app go viral. They buy immediately and forward immediately. “They sink their teeth in and adore the brand right out the gate,” he says.
The company shared some numbers to back up its claims. Since launching on iPhone and Android around a year ago, the iOS app has been downloaded half a million times on iPhone. It’s No. 3 in the lifestyle category, and #61 in the top free charts. (Note: app charts fluctuate, see screenshots below). On Android, the app has another 100,000 or so downloads.
On the web, mobile traffic, including from the iPad, has been climbing, too. Visits to the mobile website have tripled (up to 1.8 million visits, 12 million pageviews monthly), which now accounts for 30 percent of the site’s overall traffic. Even better, mobile shoppers are the better customers – 70 percent are repeat buyers, a higher percentage than on the desktop web.
Mobile revenue has also climbed by 425 percent, going from 7.5 percent to 20 percent year-over-year. In January, mobile revenue was in the high twenties, percentage-wise. This month, it’s in the thirties. On some days, it has shot over 35 percent. To give you an idea, last year the company did somewhere between $40 million and $50 million in commerce revenue, Lerer says. (That’s as it previously projected). So we’re talking about mobile revenue that’s in the double-digit millions. It’s not Fab-sized mobile revenue (i.e. around a quarter of Fab’s $150 million+ total revenue is mobile), but it’s not bad, considering that JackThreads only targets one gender: young, urban men.
And the mobile explosion?
Legit, says app analytics firm Distimo*, which helped us fact-check JackThreads’ claims.
The app reached the No. 3 spot in the Lifestyle section a few days ago, Distimo confirms, and has been fluctuating in Top Overall Free charts where it has been in the 60s and 70s, ranking-wise. It had been seeing around 1,000 downloads per day, spiking to 20,000 on January 30. This could be related to recent paid promotional efforts on JackThreads’ part to get more users on mobile, something Lerer says the company has been “experimenting with in small doses.”
But Lerer adds he’s not interested in the app’s download figures. “I don’t care about getting someone to install, I care about getting someone to engage,” he says. “When we think about installs, we only think about people who convert and become members or who buy something through the app.”
Within that portion of mobile installs who convert to paying customers, JackThreads is finding their kind of guy. The company, which offers hundreds of apparel brands including a couple of its own private labels, has found its mobile users to be some of the most engaged, Lerer says. They’re evangelizing to friends, sharing, and converting in days not months.
What’s also interesting here is that these mobile users are not just the company’s web users making the mobile transition. Something else is going on – and even the CEO isn’t quite sure what it means.
“Mobile is…mind-boggling. There are days now where, literally, over a thousand orders will be placed just on an iPhone. There’s real volume behind the iPhone now – it’s not just a toy,” he says. “The most important part is that it’s not cannibalizing web. We’re way ahead of our projections and our plans because of this mobile growth…it’s not just a shift, it’s found money and found business on top of what we had anticipated the business to do.”
Although the company is still figuring out how it’s reaching this new class of user, it has been getting better at targeting them once they have the app in hand. JackThreads has invested significantly in its data and analytics team over the past year, and has been improving the way it targets its mobile users. Instead of spamming everyone with the same push notification, for example, it’s targeting audience segments based on preferred brands, time of day and other qualities, in order to increase engagement. And, says Lerer, “it’s working.”
As for what’s next, JackThreads is looking to tap into the viral channels even more with plans to add Facebook Open Graph sharing in a few weeks to a month or two, and will be adding the ability for customers to “Want” products, making JackThreads almost like the men’s version of Pinterest…well, one with a checkout button. An iPad app is planned for Q2, meanwhile.
In terms of fundraising, they’re not interested in that right now. “It’s a pain in the ass…and we really don’t need the money,” Lerer says.
That’s a pretty good place to be.
* FYI, Distimo Methodology: Distimo AppIQ provides download and revenue estimations for any app worldwide, based on daily sampling of transactional app data (>2.5 billion downloads / quarter) and publicly available information. When calculating downloads and revenues for individual apps, Distimo’s methodology excludes that app’s transactional data from the analysis to preserve the confidentiality of their users’ data.