eCommerce success: the story of We Are Knitters (2)

  • Let's get right into the analysis of the online store and the strategy. Pay attention to the story of We Are Knitters, it is a special case of success.

  • Wait a minute: do not read on if you have not taken a look at the first part of this article yet. Do it and you will have a clear idea of who We Are Knitters are and how they have become a real reference in the DIY niche.

    And the fact is that this Spanish company, through material and kits for knitting, has managed to make a place in the very prominent niche in the national and international eCommerce.
    Their product is living a new golden age as it has become a trend within a new segment of the public. Precisely, having anticipated this trend has led them to consolidate a company that has just turned a decade old.
    10 years that show some interesting numbers:
    • More than 400,000 customers in their eCommerce.
    • A third of these customers had never knitted before, so more than acquired, they have been "evangelized".
    • Over 6 million balls of wool have been sold and shipped to 200 countries.
    • They have marketed 1,500 different kits for all levels.
    • 500 events have been created in 10 different countries.
    • They have grown from two entrepreneurs with very limited resources to a 40 member team.
    But let's see how they have achieved such positive records starting from an investment of only 10,000 euros obtained from a contest to which they submitted their project.
  • We Are Knitters is a digitally native business

  • This is something that both founders were very clear from the very beginning. Their conception of We Are Knitters was absolutely digital. At no time did they contemplate the creation of their own stores, but neither did they contemplate selling through third parties.
    There are several reasons why they saw their business model in this way. The first is a budgetary issue: the investment will always be lower than if we have to pay store rents and all the associated costs.
    In addition, their internationalization vocation was present from the first minute, so it was more agile to scale a digital business than a physical one.
  • INSIGHT: The fact that a business is decidedly and completely digital does not imply that it cannot resort to certain formulas to also move into retail in a timely manner. In fact, WAK in 2019, did an experiment after opening a pop up store.
  • We Are Knitters´eCommerce

  • This eCommerce has some peculiarities, but in general it is not particularly complex in terms of functionality.
    The store as such has an important variety of products. It sells balls and needles, but there are different types of fabrics and different techniques that require totally different tools.
  • INSIGHT: When you work in a very specific niche, as in this case, the best thing to do is to offer a lot of variety within the verticality of the inventory. At WAK you will not find electronics (to give an extreme example), but you will be able to buy everything for knitting, embroidery, macramé... They are specialists.
  • One of the most revolutionary aspects that has helped to spread this hobby is the creation of kits that we can find on their website filtering by the type of material, technique or type of garment you want to make (scarves, hats, sweaters, blankets).
    The kits involve selling a product from the raw material, which is really interesting when we talk about DIY that tends to be too abstract or general ("do with this whatever you want" constrains some potential customers).
  • INSIGHT: Besides, let's not forget that kits offer "all the happiness" as they say, but they are still bundle products with all the advantages that this entails, such as increasing the average ticket.  
  • The marketing strategy of We Are Knitters

  • One thing they learned in their initial research was the importance of community. This stream of new knitting is much more social than one might imagine from an individual activity. Knitters want to share their creations, but also the experience itself.
    That is why, being WAK an online store, it was clear from the beginning that they had to support their marketing strategy on social media.

    Their Instagram account has a marked inspirational character, all publications show a coherence in terms of look and tone.
    They have a more than respectable amount of followers which, at the time of writing this post exceeds 688,000, but we would almost highlight more the use made of the hashtag #weareknitters. We could almost define it as massive since it has a figure over 360,000 publications.
  • INSIGHT: When planning a social media strategy, the best segmentation is to choose the right one for your audience. In WAK's case, there is no doubt that Instagram seems to be tailor-made for lifestyle and inspiration (although I would not rule out Pinterest at all despite having a smaller reach).
    On the brand's own website, specifically in the product sheets, we see how they encourage the publication of each person's work with a simple copy: "Others have already done it and it is easier than you think #weareknitters".
  • We have said that community is a priority, but not only through social networks. They also have a newsletter to which you can subscribe to keep up to date with all the news and, incidentally, provide them with your data so they can offer you their products.
    We have already mentioned many times the importance of newsletters. It is a direct, customizable and automatic communication with a conversion rate that can be decisive.
  • INSIGHT: They very cleverly use a section in which free patterns are offered. The only thing they ask in return is that you subscribe to that newsletter.
  • We have already said that this is a digital business, but the community also meets physically. For the uninitiated it may come as a surprise, but there are real knitters' gatherings and events.
    In this aspect, they have also been ambassadors of the trend and, instead of taking a passive or sponsorship role, they have started to promote the events and get involved in a corporate way. This is how knitting parties organized by the community itself are born, but with a brand ambassador and a single pattern that is given to all participants.
  • INSIGHT: The figure of the ambassador is, by itself, an exercise in branding and community. Let's add to this fact that the event itself is capitalized from the social proof to the social media itself with its own hashtag and the photos of the event uploaded to the We Are Knitters website.
  • Keys to success of We Are Knitters

    • Knowing how to read trends: it is vital for your business to know how to understand and extrapolate a trend to another context.
    • Internationalization: the problem of many niches is that there is not enough critical mass of buyers in one country, but this can be overcome by adding other markets.
    • Community: we have already emphasized this throughout the two posts that have been dedicated to this eCommerce success story. The best way for WAK to grow has always been through people and teaching those who do not know but are interested. Community and didactics are two pillars of their strategy.
    • A bit of luck at critical moments: we are not saying it, Pepa herself has commented on more than one occasion that the confinement has made her business grow and, as they were coming from a worse year than they had estimated, that overstock helped them not to run out of supplies.
    • Learning everything: there are a thousand examples in which the business model arises from a passion for a specific area. WAK is not like that, its creators knew nothing about knitting, but that has not prevented them from being true encyclopedias (and they have surrounded themselves with specialists).
  • Don't you find the story of We Are Knitters very interesting? Surely you can also find out something from which to build a fruitful business.

  • Images | We Are Knitters, Unsplash.

Miguel Nicolás

Miguel Nicolás O'Shea is a life-long copywriter (more than 15 years working in agencies) and a specialist in Search Marketing (SEO and PPC). From now on, he will contribute with his online marketing experience to Oleoshop, publishing regularly.

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