Driving Business Online at AFENDS

In the final of the Driving Business Online case study series, AFENDS founders Declan Wise and Jonathan Salfield reveal how the internet turned their small screen printing business into a streetwear fashion label.

AFENDS was launched in August 2006 when its founders turned a small screen printing business into a streetwear fashion label catering to a niche lifestyle.

“In early 2010, we expanded operations online across Australia and internationally. Taking that step from bricks and mortar to an online presence took some fine tuning but with excellent staff and reliable systems our revenue from web sales has increased exponentially,” National Sales Manager Anthony Prince said.

International markets are emerging at a fast pace throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Challenges

AFENDS exists in a dynamic industry where the ability to foresee future trends and styles is paramount to the quality of its product. With a new range of clothing for each season, this challenging yet rewarding process ensures the label continues to develop innovative ideas while remaining true to its market.

“Solidifying our presence online as an efficient, secure service is one of our proudest achievements. This has taken the brand to new levels by allowing us to satisfy every customer regardless of geography,” Anthony said.

Technology & Distribution

“We used Business Catalyst as our initial e-commerce platform; it’s a great starting base but we have outgrown its functionalities and we’re developing our new site on Magento, which will go live very soon,” Anthony said

He also acknowledges online selling requires considerable resources.

“We have multiple full-time staff and we’re governed by our policies and procedures. Quality control is very important; when combined with timely freight distribution we’re able to offer quality products with superior service.”

Payments

According to Anthony, security is a concern for AFENDS as “the relationship we have with our supporters is important to us. As cyber crime continues, having reliable services like PayPal to process all payments securely, improves our brand integrity and value.”

Marketing & Metrics

AFEND’s marketing campaigns have become much more commercial due to the growth and maturing of the label and its customer base. This has meant collaboration with new bands from different genres, sponsorship of upcoming skaters and surfers as well as the design of innovative products at the right price and sold in the right manner.

A key metric is the ‘abandon rate’ on its web store – how many people add an item to their shopping cart, and then don’t complete their purchase.  Anthony says “excellent web design and payment facilities mean this indicator is declining.” Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr have proven to be successful avenues for AFEND to communicate to its market and strengthen its underground reputation, so membership of these communities is also an important metric. Monthly sales volumes are also critical to track.

The future?

Anthony says “AFENDS’ destiny is to progress organically as a leader of the free-thinking revolution and be renowned as a global music brand.”

This case study was produced to support the Driving Business Online program, an initiative developed by PayPal Australia in partnership with Australia Post, Optus, Symantec, MYOB, eBay, Powerfront and The Australian Retailers Association. Driving Business Online has been developed to help small businesses throughout Australia achieve greater success online. The Driving Business Online program consists of an educational roadshow educating businesses across rural and regional New South Wales in addition to the Driving Business Online website.

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