About the brand
VRG GRL helps shoppers embrace their inner-cool girl.
In the late 2000s, two sisters in Brisbane—fed up with the same overpriced department store style—founded VRG GRL. Initially a brick-and-mortar venture, the brand has since transformed into a strong online business. Daniella and Natalia, the brand’s founders, remain committed to designing and curating summer-inspired, effortlessly-cool clothing that’s well-made, affordable, and different from everything else out there.
The result? VRG GRL has built quite the fan base. The brand has over a million followers on Instagram and TikTok combined, and its collections sell out in the blink of an eye. VRG GRL also designs all clothes in-house, giving the company more control of its supply chain and sustainability goals.
Recently, Tapcart sat down with Cale Suesskow, the company’s Co-CEO, to learn more about how VRG GRL uses its mobile app to connect with customers like never before.
The brand needed an efficient way to reach customers—without relying on paid SMS or social.
In 2020, VRG GRL was toying with the idea of an app as a customer experience platform, but at the time, the brand was unaware of Tapcart, so developing a mobile app on its own felt out of reach.
Fast forward 18 months to when the company was comparing the cost per acquisition (CPA) on traditional digital marketing channels with that of owned media. This time around, when VRG GRL realized a mobile app could bring customers closer to the brand and engage with those customers at no additional cost, the company came straight to Tapcart for app development.
“We thought it would be good to allow our customers to have a way of experiencing the brand a little bit closer. You know, having a brand that you love on your home screen where you can engage with them more frequently and get access to content that might be more exclusive.”
According to Cale, VRG GRL saw a mobile app as an excellent opportunity to bring the brand to its customers' home screens, where VRG GRL could engage with them more frequently. In return, those customers would get access to exclusive content, discounts, and early drops. And best of all, all that brand-building and engagement could happen in the app and via push notifications… which means the brand did not have to spend a dime on SMS or social media advertising.
VRG GRL created an on-brand mobile experience that their top shoppers will love.
One thing Cale and the rest of the VRG GRL team were sure about? That they only wanted an app if it truly added value. "If we didn't really focus on making something that's going to add value to the customer, then why is the customer going to use it? If we just set up a carbon copy of our website and leave it at that, then we're just basically paying for something that our website already does".
To ensure the mobile app genuinely offered a different and remarkable customer experience, VRG GRL added its Girl Guide content section full of educational articles and The Group Chat a loyalty driver that hosts exclusive content and giveaways. App customers can also download limited-edition aesthetic wallpapers, go behind-the-scenes, and score early access to VRG GRL’s most-anticipated drops before the collections sell out online.
After all, VRG GRL had always been awesome at creating content. Why not create a holistic, exclusive, on-brand platform to showcase it? With Tapcart, VRG GRL was able to quickly design a fully-branded mobile app that works both alongside its website and as its own unique platform.
So, how did VRG GRL market the platform and get people to download it? To encourage app adoption, VRG GRL offered sign-up discounts, advertised app-only discount days, and showed off app-only features (such as behind-the-scenes interviews, exclusive giveaways, and early access to drops) to encourage website users to tap download. With these creative app adoption campaigns, VRG GRL also made sure to add QR codes to its website and email marketing.
All of these little, strategic lifts can easily turn casual shoppers into brand advocates once they have the app on their phones. Ultimately, that makes the app a win for both the brand and its loyal customers.
“It’s all about trying to give the customer extra content and extra value that they can't get just from your website. And in return, what we find is that this grows and grows, and you have better engagement around launches”
VRG GRL also staggered its app launch, initially offering the platform only in Australia. This particular strategic choice created a buzz back in the United States. Before VRG GRL’s already-engaged American customers could even get their hands on the app, they’d seen the app-only features and benefits Australian shoppers had unlocked.
According to Cale, this anticipation is one of the key reasons VRG GRL had such a strong uptake of subscribers and users from the get-go. VRG GRL customers couldn’t wait to get their hands on this new, exclusive way of experiencing a brand they already loved.
VRG GRL makes sure the app is valuable to customers, and now the app channel is a content home for the brand.
Since launching, VRG GRL has continued to reap the benefits of engaging with its customers over its mobile app. It’s all about leveraging the app as a holistic solution that combines content-driven efforts like brand building with sales-oriented retention techniques.
“We like to try lots of different stuff. We don't just rely on one thing because then it also gets a bit boring to the customer. And different customers have different reasons. Some people purely want a discount code, some want early access, and some might be interested in getting more behind-the-scenes content or just feeling a closer connection with the brand.”
The way Cale and the VRG GRL team see it, a truly effective mobile app is the perfect platform to bring customer experience (CX) and sales together. After all, when you’re selling something customers love in a way that speaks to them, the two go hand and hand. As long as you strategize right, an app isn’t competition for your website but an outstanding opportunity to boost your VIP customers’ experience and their lifetime value (LTV).
“The more channels you can drip little bits of information about an upcoming sale or a collection launch, the more likely you are to engage that customer with what you’re trying to educate them about,” Cale said.
On a similar note, Cale revealed that VRG GRL customers are discovering the brand in a new way when they leave the website for the mobile app. When customers visit the website, they arrive at the home page, then browse the latest collections. But on the app, customers are open to doing things a little differently, so they explore more and find new merchandise and content they haven’t seen before.
What’s more, when customers act on a link from SMS, email, or another platform, integrations allow them to land in the app, not on the website. That’s a stronger user experience—especially because customers convert better, spend more, and linger longer within the VRG GRL app. The stats back that up, too:
- App customers convert 184.9% better than mobile web customers 136.8% better than desktop customers.
- App customers' average order value (AOV) is 13.3% higher than traditional website AOV.
One final benefit? Everything that happens in the app provides VRG GRL with crucial customer insights.
“The difference with the app is we can gain insight into what the customers are actually doing once they land. You're getting session duration again, conversion rate, retention rate, and average order values. So it's not just a marketing channel like SMS and email. It's a sales channel. It's a marketing channel. It's a retention strategy. It's a loyalty strategy. It's kind of a bunch of different things rolled into one.“
What advice does Cale have for other businesses on the fence about developing a mobile app? Start by sitting down and making a strategy. Take a look at your customers and figure out what it is they want and what features they’re looking for. Find out what things excite them about your brand. And then determine whether an app can fill any of those spaces.
“If you're going to grow, it's because you can get more sales, and the only way you're going to get more sales is if you feel that you know the customer's needs and wants better.”
With Tapcart, you get access to a team of mobile experts that help you create a mobile app marketing strategy that’s custom-tailored to suit your business strategy. From launch and design to push notification engagement and integrating your tech suite, our team is literally here to help you every step of the way.
Find out how VRG GRL and top brands are breaking boundaries and sales records with Tapcart. Let's chat.