In March 2019 the D2C site AugustMcGregor was launched as a partnership between Irish UFC champion Conor McGregor and custom clothier David August. The men’s wear label offers modern suits designed to appeal to Millennials who want to follow the fighter’s confident sartorial style. Conor Mc Gregor’s Celebrity Marketing appeal and huge social media following in the MMA area gives the e-commerce site the opportunity to become an online fashion retail juggernaut. We talked to Michael Montanez, director of marketing at August McGregor, about what moves the sales needle at the site.
Make luxury fashion more accessible to a broader audience.
A Product suited for Celebrity Branding
August McGregor (AM) is a 100% DNVB (digitally native vertical brand). “A small offering of premium fight related wear has worked very well with core consumer base who are Connor followers”, says Montanez, who oversees all marketing and operations for the site. Later AM introduced casual shirts, dress shirts, sweatshirts, joggers and suits.
An ideal Target for Celebrity Marketers
Male Milennial that are making well under US $100,000. McGregor’s audience is price sensitive. “For August McGregor, it’s a genuine affinity for all things Conor McGregor, “Montanez notes.
The site is built on BigCommerce. Most of the theme is intact, except for some enhancements/modifications for checkout, UX matters. The site offers alternate checkout methods through PayPal, Apple Pay and Amazon Pay to better accommodate the mobile-first customer base, and the use of global shipping solution EasyShip enables the brand to reach its international demand with ease. On average, the site experiences close to 100k uv/mo. Revenue is growing at a compound monthly growth rate of 24%.
Connor McGregor has more than 35 million social followers on social media. Just on Instagram, with more than 33 million followers, McGregor has almost double the number of Instagram fans as the next MMA fighter Khabib Nurmagomodov and nearly eight times the number of third-place Jon Jones. At the end of 2019, the August McGregor site itself (@AugustMcGregor) had the below social follower numbers.
(Facebook; 11,000 , Twitter: 12,000, Instagram 411,000).
Celebrity Marketing, Not Influencer Marketing
Montanez does not really see McGregor as a typical social media influencer because, for him, Influencer Marketing is more about a wide reach of social influencers activating the brand through various partners. “At AM everything is spearheaded through McGregor and his efforts, there is no intermediary component in the sense of traditional influencer marketing as Conor is the principal player. McGregor is used to drive traffic. Its a tactical deployment of a personality driven brand.”
What Moves the Sales Needle?
“We are constantly looking at how to increase our key performance Indicators. Conversions are improving month over month,” Montanez notes. Through ongoing tests they saw that increased volume sets up a lower price point. “We look at bounce, where exactly the consumer is jumping, how much are they consuming, how much are they converting. We’ve run a number of tests and have a good idea of what drives volume and what’s compelling to the consumer. There’s so much more to explore with CX/UX, but development is costly and in our infancy, we’re having to be responsible with spend and priorities. We notice a slight lag in decision making, but typically the conversion occurs within a week,” McGregor concludes.
“At the moment, we track leads and bundle influencer reach with attributed sales from social. We keep tabs on this through Google Analytics and the backend of the ecommerce platforms,” Montanez notes. “As a fashion brand, Instagram is the primary social channel that drives engagement and conversion. It’s no surprise that it contributes 53% of social revenue and has the lowest bounce rate compared to the other platforms”. Montanez is eager to up weight Facebook and Youtube in the new year to capitalize on in-channel shopping and video branding respectively.”
Celebrity Marketing Anchored Mix
“It’s a very modest spend to build the case for increased spending. Right now, it’s more of an organic, slow build. Our digital mix is mostly made up of retargeting, paid, display and email. We’re about to launch new channels like affiliate and Google shopping in Q1. Other than that, we heavily rely on Conor to drive the traffic of his engaged audience and through that effort, we have multiple referral sites that help promote.
Montanez adds that PR will be a big driver for acquisition in 2020. In 2020, AM “will be increasing its efforts working with younger, rookies in sports – not just MMA, but major sports, i.e. NFL, NBA.” AM will not be paying for influencer marketing as the cost of merchandise for seeding is expensive, “so we’re working with individuals who genuinely have an interest with the brand and affinity with Conor and his passion.”