Mode Store offers gaming merchandise, accessories, and tech for a niche but fast-growing market of young and adult customers, stocking a range of products from Fortnite, Minecraft, Call of Duty, Cyberpunk 2077, Assassin’s Creed, Bitty Boomers, and much more.
The brand launched on 23 September in time for the popular Comic-Con Expo and while online initially, they will also be launching two stores soon – a modern kiosk space in Fourways Mall and a flagship store in Canal Walk in Cape Town.
Head of Marketing, Karl Klöpfer, explains that “MODE is brand new but the people behind it have been in the industry for many years. Our parent company’s primary business is to supply retailers, but those retailers can’t focus on the full range we have available; fans find it difficult to find the products they’re looking for. That’s how the Mode brand was born – to be able to offer a full, diverse range of products to those who are looking for them.”
Why did you get into eCommerce?
It was always our primary strategy – especially in these strange times - to make the product accessible to people no matter where they are in the country.
But we also realise that while it’s easy to build a website and offer the product online, it is also important to focus on the brand and build a long-term relationship with our customers.
How have sales been during lockdown?
Who launches a new business during a pandemic and an economic downturn, right?
Impressive, and we’ve impressed many customers as our focus on service is at the forefront of our business. We see consumers are looking for value, unsurprisingly, and have quickly been surprised by many repeat customers, varying basket values, a wide mix of products being sold and a mix of gamers and non-gamer customers – it’s all over the place and this is exciting!
Why did you decide to use Peach as your payment gateway?
We were in touch with a number of payment gateways and asked a lot of questions. We also knew that we wanted Mobicred because that was important to expand our customer reach. Through a process of elimination, the spotlight was left on Peach, who I have worked with before anyhow. It is quick and easy to set up and we know there is a support team who respond urgently when we need help. For the customer, we needed a seamless, safe experience as well as a good UX and UI - which you get with Peach. We don’t want to worry about needless disputes.
The back end is so easy to use and you get all the reports you need. Their service is commendable – even if you are not a large commerce player, which seems to be something some other providers are very arrogant about.
Do you have plans to sell globally?
It is in our plan, at some point! We want to develop and establish our brand at home first and the next stage is to develop into the SADC countries and then other markets. We want to walk well before we start running, so first we want to ensure our online store does really well and we grow our customer base and revenue. Opening more stores across the country is in our strategy and growing into other areas too may follow. We have customers from all over the country and we will use our sales data to build insights that will guide us as to where to focus marketing efforts and to consider opening up physical stores.
What do you have in store for Black Friday?
We will run aggressive deals that will offer more than just 10 or 20% off. We have a really good deal on licensed t-shirts to look out for, starting nice and early offering deals when customers buy two units is so important. Bitty Boomers Bluetooth speakers for example, are so collectable but also allow for stereo sound when you pair two together and they make ideal festive gifts. Mode customers can score when buying two Bitty Boomers.
We are also putting together Cyber Monday deals so look out for those.
Do you have some advice for businesses wanting to go into eCommerce?
Don’t be too scared or conservative. Technology changes so quickly and if you don’t move quickly you will get left behind. Why would a customer want to buy from you rather than another online retailer? You have to find a special and unique way to offer customers value. Go and find a way to be special and stand out from the crowd. Offer impeccable service Once a customer is on your site, make sure the experience is a good one.
What do you have planned for the future?
We’re having fun with the word “mode” - which is really part of the brand, but we’re milking this in many ways. An upcoming new feature on our website will be quite unique and fun, so keep a lookout for that in the new year! Watch this space.