Shein is one of the fastest growing eCommerce platforms. Its revenue grew by 398% from 2019 to 2021 and is now one well-known name among Zara, Topshop and FashionNova. Its rise to popularity seems to be very surprising to many but many familiar with Shein’s marketing strategy have seen this coming.
Shein is one of the most successful eCommerce stores on Tiktok and adds over 6000 new products every single day. You can imagine what a nightmare this must be for their bookkeeping and accounting firm but definitely a good problem to have! They’re constantly trending online and have somehow managed to emerge as a winner in this incredibly competitive market with tons of fashion brands.
Shein uses social media marketing in the form of try on hauls
Shein uses a lot of social media marketing to promote its brand. That isn’t surprising since many of its competitors like FashionNova use social media marketing too. But one thing that Shein did differently was that it was one of the first movers on Tiktok marketing. In the early stages of Tiktok, many fashion companies weren’t aware of the virality of Tiktok. Shein took advantage of this and started sponsoring Tiktokers with free clothing who then created a 15-second try on hauls.
Many Shein customers first heard about the company through TIktok. Right now, Shein has grown to Youtube and Instagram try on hauls too, but they started on Tiktok at its rise.
Shein advertises has a ton of promotions that are only available to account holders
There’s a lot of debate as to collecting emails at checkout. This is one of the favourite debate topics among eCommerce website developers. Some say that emails slow the checkout process and that it’s unnecessary to force a customer to create an account on a website that they may never visit again. Others say that accounts help with stickiness to a business.
Shein requires customers to create an account and offers a lot of coupons and promotions to only those with an account. This allows Shein to retarget customers via their email and phone number. In addition, Shein has a live chat feature for those looking for help or customers with an issue with their order. Shein helps customers with accountants and is also able to use abandoned cart features to collect up customers who add items to their cart and leave their eCommerce platform.
Shein uses it’s clean and modern website to attract customers
Finally, Shein uses a clean and modern eCommerce website design to attract customers. Clearly, the company spent a lot of time and resources on eCommerce website designing and using machine learning to A/B test everything.
Shein is based in China but unlike its competitors like Aliexpress, it has a clean and modern website. Everything is in black and white (its company colours) and its eCommerce platform is really easy to use. There’s a ton of photos and product reviews and its search functionality is extremely intuitive. Looking at their website, it may not seem like anything special but a lot of time has definitely been spent on their eCommerce website designing process and everything has been thought out meticulously.
Shein’s website is scalable to accept a large number of orders
This is all done in the backend so it may not be obvious. This is an important part of Shein’s marketing strategy since they wouldn’t be able to have large scale marketing efforts without the proper infrastructure to accept a huge number of orders.
For example, Shein needs to be able to accept tens of thousands of orders and potentially refunds everyday. This means that they need to have accounting software like Xero that’s integrated with their website. They also need a trustworthy accounting firm to help them with bookkeeping. They will also have to process refunds, as is the case with any eCommerce business, which means that they need to have a proper ERP and refund process set up. This needs to be liaised with their accounting firm too.
Many eCommerce companies have also started offering accounting training to their customer relationship managers because of the nature of refunds in eCommerce. When a refund is processed, the accounting department or firm is notified and this is recorded in the accounting software. But additional notes are often required to be given by the customer relationship representative that gave the approval for this refund. This is where a good intuition of bookkeeping comes in and accounting training may be necessary since this isn’t something that every customer representative knows.