HiSmile eclipsed $130 million through influencer marketing and going global
It began at the dining room table, in 2014 — two young Australian men, their mothers friends long before either of them were, sharing a solitary vision. They wished to dominate an oral care market they felt was ripe for disruption.
Such were the early stakes for Nik Mirkovic and Alex Tomic, who had no history or particular knowledge of dentistry but nonetheless sunk $20,000 of their own money into the launch of their teeth-whitening brand HiSmile. With Shopify Plus, HiSmile has:
- Eclipsed $130 million in total sales
- Sold $5 million in one week alone over the 2018 holidays
- Reached a brand valuation of $300 million
- Shipped globally to customers in 182 countries
HiSmile’s products were launched into the stratosphere through a legion of popular social media influencers — up to 2,000 brand ambassadors at any time promoting the company’s catalog.
But in the early days, the strategy worked almost too well. As HiSmile’s awareness peaked, so also did the traffic to its website. One crash became many, and when larger influencers came on board, Mirkovic and Tomic soon learned they could no longer trust HiSmile’s website.
Before the company could consider selling globally the right way or boosting its social business strategy, HiSmile had to secure its most basic web function. “That’s,” Tomic says, “when Shopify Plus came about.”
Justin GagginoChief Operating Officer, HiSmile
“One of the biggest advantages of Shopify Plus is that peace of mind that we get being with the biggest platform with the biggest players on it.”
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With a shored-up backend, HiSmile was ready to put its new Shopify Plus site to the test. After what the Australian press noted were “dogged negotiations,” HiSmile reached promotional agreements with three of social media’s landmark influencers — mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor, and the Jenners themselves, Kylie and Kendall.
If HiSmile’s products were popular before, they became certified white-hot when shared through a trio of Instagram’s most notable accounts. HiSmile’s site held the demand that followed, and as it withstood waves of customers flooding in the company found further ways to bolster its business.
For measuring and strategizing its social selling, HiSmile turned to its Shopify Plus backend, where information directly tied to its sales funnel was at the ready to be transferred and communicated across all apps in its ecommerce ecosystem. “The plugins that we use to fast-track implementation of our pixel tracking with Facebook, Instagram, and Shapchat has allowed us to get the data we need to make specific, actionable data decisions on paid social,” says Gaggino.
HiSmile was catching on though social media, but the next step was for the company to truly capture its growing global footprint. In its earlier days, HiSmile’s site did not allow for shopping in multiple currencies. Once on Shopify Plus, the brand launched an additional four global storefronts on top of its Australia site, allowing customers across the globe to place orders in currencies that made more sense for them.
Social selling and influencer marketing propelled HiSmile from kitchen table dream to worldwide force. Its Instagram campaign with Conor McGregor alone scored a 5X return on ad spend, the popular Irish fighter helping HiSmile reach a whopping 14 million 18- to 24-year-olds in its campaign — plus an additional 90% increase in total male customers captured.
To date, HiSmile can claim more than three million social media followers, 5.5 billion social media impressions, and more than 1.5 billion total views of its social videos. Those numbers suggested HiSmile was reaching an audience far and wide, but its global sales numbers quickly proved the point without dispute.
According to Gaggino, HiSmile has shipped products to nearly 95% of the countries on earth, and in its key markets sales have grown even stronger. With a total of five online storefronts now, HiSmile has found providing customers with the option to buy in a currency familiar to them to be a tremendous boon.
Nik MirkovicCo-founder, HiSmile
“We initially went global on one website, but our sales multiplied by 10 (in each market) as soon as we sold our products in Australian dollars, U.S. dollars, in the euro, and in the Great Britain pound.”
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