From an outside perspective, the rapid and ever-growing success of MVMT — the LA based e-commerce juggernaut of watches and accessories — might seem like an anomaly to those well-versed in the watch industry. Cultivated from decades of watch snobbery and an inclination towards the finer things, the sleepy luxury-forward industry wouldn’t seem like the fairest place for a fresh, bright-eyed millennial brand to lay tracks and take flight.
That’s why MVMT didn’t even try to compete in or pander to its predecessors market. In fact, they decided to carve out their own market entirely.
Enter: the new purveyors of cool for millennial and Gen-Z watch consumers.
In 2013, the brand’s twenty-something co-founders, Jake Kassan and Kramer LaPlante, saw not only a lack of reasonably-priced watches in the industry, but also a lack of authenticity and aspirational edge that their younger consumers craved. So in June of 2013, they launched a crowdfunded Indiegogo campaign to create “affordable, stylish, high quality watches” that started at $95.
By August, when the campaign ended, the people had spoken. Kassan and Kramer had raised almost a quarter million dollars from more than 2,800 backers, exceeding their original goal by 1,466%.
Of course, there’s a big difference between getting a successful crowdfunding campaign off the ground to building a successful brand, but MVMT worked smarter, not harder. In the wild west of social media marketing, MVMT trail-blazed their way to Instagram stardom by cultivating a mutualistic relationship between a loyal community of talented content creators and their growing, coveted platform.
By 2017, MVMT had long since skyrocketed to earn its place as the fastest growing watch brand in the world, and they closed out the year with more than $90 million in revenue. In October 2018, Movado acquired the grassroots brand for more than $100 million, in a move that reflected the analog watch giant’s “new emphasis on e-commerce and digital communication."
So how did the team take the social media front by storm to transform themselves from IndieGoGo to big business?
Much of that success must be attributed to MVMT’s innovative use of their platforms and e-commerce to sustain their initial success while growing their business at a seemingly impossible clip. As CEO Kassan said, cultivating a true community, not just a sea of fans, is paramount.
Getting people truly involved with your brand is the most valuable thing you can do. You don’t just want customers, you want supporters, members and advocates; people who feel like they are a part of something will stick with you and spread the word."
- Jake Kassan, CEO, MVMT
User-generated content proved indispensable for the company’s brand building, especially in earning consumer trust where a low price point doesn’t equate to an inferior product. The company solicited user reviews whenever they made a purchase, soon racking up thousands of five-star reviews. They also avail themselves of their most loyal customers when it comes to answering customer questions, forgoing the typical FAQ route.
MVMT’s influencer marketing campaigns have also provided the company with that authentic voice of advocacy when it was especially crucial to introduce new audiences to their brand. Through the likes of more established platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and through more underground communities like Tumblr and Pinterest, MVMT flourished.
MVMT’s commitment to optimizing the user experience at every touchpoint ensures that they aren’t losing customers at any stage in the purchase funnel. The company built out their online store with Shopify, prioritizing a mobile first experience, as well as implementing Amazon Pay to offer a seamless checkout to their shoppers. MVMT’s optimization efforts are paying off, more than doubling their mobile conversion rates in 2017 after turning on the responsive storefront and services.
The exponential success of MVMT might make the retail business look rather uncomplicated and simplistic, but, just like a well-made wristwatch, you only have to look inside to appreciate just how finely-tuned and precise their operations are.
Learn more about MVMT.