IPO better positions Borderfree for digital mission
Borderfree is a digital company focused on helping retailers sell to anyone anywhere and last Friday the company sold itself to investor’s by completing an initial public stock offering.
The company priced its offering of five million shares at $16 and enjoyed a 32% pop at the open when shares began trading at $21. The upward momentum proved to be unsustainable and by the close shares had receded to $20, registering a still respectable first day gain of 25%.
New York City-based company views itself as market leader in international cross-border e-commerce solutions, operating a technology and services platform that enables U.S. retailers to transact with customers in more than 100 countries and territories and more than 60 currencies worldwide. The company manages all aspects of the international shopping experience including such as site localization, multi-currency pricing, payment processing, fraud management, landed cost calculation, customs clearance and brokerage, and global logistics services. And says it does it all while maintaining the integrity of its customers’ brands and the consumer experience.
Borderfree is eyeing a huge market opportunity with cross-border consumers are expected to spend $24 billion on physical goods from U.S. online retailers in 2014, based on a study conducted on the company’s behalf by Forrester Research. Despite the large volume, Borderfree asserts that the market remains significantly under-monetized by U.S. retailers, many of whom view international expansion as important to their overall business strategies.
The company counts retailers and brands such as Aeropostale, J.Crew, Lands’ End, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Under Armour, Warby Parker and Williams-Sonoma among its customers. As of December 31, 2013, Borderfree said its platform was being used by 91 customers operating 158 Web sites and processed sales volume of $448 million. Founded in 1999, Borderfree didn’t launch its e-commerce platform until 2008. It now appears to be on the path to profitability, generating net income of $5.7 million last year, including a $6.7 million one-time gain on the sale of a business, a $200,000 profit in 2012 and a $700,000 loss in 2013.
Big and Tall retailer takes on Big Apple
Destination XL Group plans to open its first store in Manhattan this June and promises the city’s big and tall men an upscale experience at its store on 699 Sixth Avenue.
Located in the heart of Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, the store will be in the company’s superstore format and feature more than 40 premium brands including True Religion, Michael Kors, Lacoste, and Brooks Brothers, as well as Destination XL’s extensive range of private label products. From a design standpoint, the store will feature manly attributes such as wider aisles and larger fitting rooms, as well as sofas, chairs and flat-screen televisions.
“We’re thrilled to be opening our first Manhattan store,” said Destination XL president and CEO David Levin. “As we continue to reinvent and modernize the retail experience and merchandise offering for today’s savvy big and tall consumer, our new Chelsea location offers the ideal space to serve our diverse customer base.”
The company currently operates 359 stores, of which 102 are in the destinational XL format. The company also operates stores the banners of Casual Male XL, Rochester Clothing, B&T Factory Direct, ShoesXL and LivingXL. The new Manhattan store is one of 40 Destination XL stores the company plans to open this year.
Coke goes old school while upping digital ante
The “AHH Effect” advertising campaign Coca-Cola launched last year with a social and digital first philosophy is getting a dose of old fashioned television this spring.
The campaign’s first dedicated television ad began airing recently on teen-favorite networks, including Adult Swim, MTV and MTV2. The 30-second “Feels Like AHH” spot is designed to recreate the feeling of drinking a Coke through a fun montage-style music video highlighting a collection of the interactive games, videos and GIFs found within AHH.com. A second television commercial, “This is AHH,” will premiere at the end of April, and will be the first-ever spot produced by Coca-Cola to exclusively feature user-generated content.
Both efforts are a continuation of a campaign begun last Spring when Coke sought to bring to life the feeling of happiness, uplift and delicious refreshment people experience while drinking an ice-cold Coke. That feeling, something Coke refers to as “The AHH Effect,” was found within the campaign’s 61 different AHH.com URLs where each URL contained an additional H.
To generate content for the April spot, Coke has given teens until April 10 to submit a short video clip showing what it feels like when they take a sip of Coke and feature their own personal expression of AHH.
“Our efforts to connect with teens through ‘The AHH Effect’ exceeded our expectations in 2013. With digital still at the core, we’re now expanding into real-world activations and TV as the next phase of its evolution,” said Andy McMillin, vp, Coca-Cola Trademark, Coca-Cola North America. “‘The AHH Effect’ will be everywhere teens will be and we’re going to connect with them in ways that appeal to their natural curiosity and love of fun, bite-sized content.”
Coca-Cola enlisted some of teens’ favorite online celebrities at AHH.com with content featuring viral dance sensation Marquese Scott and YouTube stars Joe Penna and Kurt Hugo Schneider.
In addition, AHH.com has been redesigned and features new experiences that follow the same unique recipe of randomness, creativity and delight that caught teens’ attention in the campaign’s first year. One of the most popular experiences called “Cat or Not” has transformed into the new “Laser Cats,” which challenges users to keep a laser beam from an ever-increasing herd of laser-hungry cats. Another, “Fortune Cookie,” reminds teens that a refreshing sip of Coke makes you feel like the luckiest person in the world with an endless supply of fortunes.
“Our mobile-friendly approach really resonated, but we believe it was our willingness to try something new and speak to teens in their language that’s the real success story here,” said Jennifer Healan, Group Director, Integrated Marketing Content and Design, Coca-Cola North America. “The content was at times quirky and light-hearted, but was absolutely crucial to starting a dialogue. And we’re listening by adding more levels and functionality to the games they love and constantly introducing new content based on their suggestions.”
Offline, behind-the-label content featuring “AHH” moments will appear on 20-ounce Coca-Cola products and at partner locations like AMC Theatres, 7-Eleven, McDonalds, Domino’s Pizza, Simon Malls and Six Flags. Customer experiences are designed to drive fans to various “AHH” URLs.
Coke worked with Wieden+Kennedy in Portland, Ore., to create the campaign.