From abroad, Cupshe hit $50 million in annual sales by earning trust in the U.S. market

A woman leaning against a blue building at the beach warms in the sun wearing her Cupshe bathing suit.

Swimwear brand Cupshe was a quick start in fast fashion: $1,000 per day in sales after one month in business; $3,000 per day in sales after two months; $10,000 per day in sales after three months.

Indeed, the future was bright. But growth is not without its complications, and even the best companies are not afraid to seek help reaching a next level of growth. In Cupshe’s case, the question was how to take this international brand and penetrate the valuable U.S. market. With Shopify Plus, Cupshe has enjoyed:

  • An 83% increase in U.S. traffic
  • A 101% increase in U.S. revenue
  • More than $50 million in total annual sales

Challenge

It was the curse of growth, a meteoric rise in business followed by the anxiety to keep it going. In 2016, here sat Mike Zhao, the international entrepreneur behind a hit fashion brand, feeling the pressure to build it even larger.

Cupshe had become an online darling, once a four-product website having blossomed into a full catalog company that, at its peak, had moved $150,000 of swimwear in a single day. The company was thriving, but there was also more to attain. Cupshe had by then captured only a fraction of the global market it aspired to.

The target was North America. The lucrative U.S. sector, specifically, had largely eluded Cupshe, so the company required a specific solution to expand its worldwide presence. Zhao sought help to create a robust presence in the English-speaking world, creating content, creating a user base, and creating a trusted brand name.

It had to do all this without losing sight of what it was, at its heart: a fast, nimble lifestyle company that could pivot on a dime, outpacing its competitors in its product offerings without sacrificing an inch of quality or craftsmanship.

“Our edge is our quickness. If an item is popular we’ll keep it online and let it sell. If it’s not, we kill it quickly and try again.”

Mike ZhaoFounder and CEO, Cupshe

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Solution

Born on Shopify, Cupshe upgraded to Shopify Plus through its work with Shopify Plus Agency Partner BVAccel. It was the first move in a broader strategy: find the ecommerce platform to best exhibit its brand ideals and best handle its high-growth forecast. Then, drive demand so great that it would push the limits Zhao had dreamed Cupshe would one day achieve.

Cupshe’s earlier days of customer acquisition featured a pay-per-click model — meaning that to start out, Zhao had to endure great financial pain to attract shoppers to his swimwear brand. Yet now things were changing. Cupshe utilized Shopify Plus Technology Partner Yotpo to generate English-language content by way of real, personal customer reviews, which proved to be incredibly valuable means of driving shoppers to Cupshe’s site.

Some 150,000 reviews flooded into Cupshe — “Perfect fit,” read one; “happy happy happy,” exclaimed another — and the proof points were hard to ignore. The company doubled-down, implementing real photos of its customers alongside their reviews on live Cupshe product pages.

The Cupshe website and customer reviews, displayed on tablet, mobile, and desktop.

It was a conversion dream: real North American customers doing the very real work of advocating Cupshe’s brand, then completing their transactions on a Shopify Plus site that stood up to demand, ensuring checkouts were processed smoothly, efficiently, and without friction. When it came to breaking into a new market, the company couldn’t have positioned itself any better.

“We drive highly-targeted traffic, and we know Shopify Plus plays a big role in our conversion rate because there are no technical barriers to checking out.”

Mike ZhaoFounder and CEO, Cupshe

Results

Cupshe’s American arrival was legitimate. Just one year after partnering with Shopify Plus, U.S. traffic to Cupshe’s site was up 83%, according to Yotpo. Sales? Those increased 101%.

In this new market, it was all about proving Cupshe’s concept to a swath of shoppers who had no reference point for its brand. With curated and authentic reviews, Cupshe created something of a community, a smart band of consumers that interacted with one another and shopped when they felt secure to do so.

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The reviews were not just for vanity. By Yotpo’s measure, those who interacted with Cupshe’s reviews spent 99.5% longer on its site than those who did not, and those who interacted with Cupshe’s reviews spent 10% more in their average order value than those who did not.

One way to look at Cupshe’s results was to consider how far the brand had come in its international expansion, a remarkable return in itself. Another was to consider the staggering sales: with its American triumph, Cupshe was now a $50 million per year business. It’s almost enough for Zhao to sleep soundly at night. “Maybe one day,” he cracked. “But right now there’s too much to do.”

“I love Shopify Plus because it makes my life so much easier. I can adjust quickly and move as fast as I want because I know I can trust the platform to keep up.”

Mike ZhaoFounder and CEO, Cupshe

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Previous Platform
Born on Shopify
Industry
Fashion and apparel
Use Case
Online store, Global

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