Online watch and accessories retailer MVMT says shoppers are veering away from functional products and back to fashion-focused items, which is driving up its average order value. With 50% of total sales expected in Q4, the giftable brand is expanding holiday promotions while maneuvering a rocky global supply chain.

An empty wrist is an opportunity, says Spencer Stumbaugh, chief brand officer for watch and accessories retailer MVMT. This year, MVMT shoppers are shifting away from items such as blue light reducing glasses and back to the brand’s flagship watches and other accessories like bracelets made from ocean plastic—and they’re spending more.

MVMT’s collaborations with brands such as boot manufacturer Taft, or athletes like U.S. Olympic skateboarder Nyjah Huston, and sustainability-focused lines like its Ocean Plastic Designs, have customers spending about 21% more in average order value year over year (as of October 2021), Stumbaugh says.

MVMT Spencer Stumbaugh

Spencer Stumbaugh, chief brand officer, MVMT

Collaborations are driving revenue, he says. “We’re seeing these more special, higher price point items be the trend,” Stumbaugh says. “Whereas last year it was more about what’s functional. I think things are getting a little bit more back to normal.”

Back to normal means customers are buying more sunglasses and other accessories that indicate people are getting out of their homes as they resume some parts of pre-pandemic life, he says.

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Responding to supply chain hiccups

An effective holiday strategy is integral to the giftable brand, as Q4 typically brings in about 50% of MVMT’s total yearly revenue.

In response to supply chain disruptions, MVMT once again expanded the time period in which it offers “Black Friday” discounts to several weeks as it did last year. MVMT is offering a site-wide pre-Black Friday 25% discount code for all shoppers Nov. 1–21.

“It’s something we did last year and has carried over to this year,” he says. “I remember six years ago when Black Friday was three days, not anymore. Shipping concerns certainly seem to have played a role in brands pulling up promotions a bit earlier in November this year.”

The longer promotional period is also an attempt to grab more sales, as MVMT anticipates stronger competition from other accessory brands. “I think you’re going to see steeper discounts across the board [from other brands] and a wider timeframe to really allow a global audience to get their gifts on time and have their expectations met,” Stumbaugh says.

MVMT still offers free shipping worldwide and processes orders within 24 hours of placing an order during business hours (excluding weekends and holidays). It also offers free worldwide returns on orders over $50. MVMT is owned by Movado Group Inc., No. 316 on Digital Commerce 360’s Top 1000 list.

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MVMT’s merchandise planner keeps track of shipments, plans around delays and the person in this role works closely with the brand’s marketing team to keep everyone informed of inventory delays, says Allison Duda, director of brand partnerships.

“MVMT has a smaller core team with access to the Movado infrastructure, which is really supportive, but we still have autonomy, which has allowed us to be as flexible as we need to be,” Duda says. “We are able to pivot our strategy to whatever is going to work and get us through our busiest time of year.”

Operating within its parent company’s supply chain, MVMT can tap into Movado’s established network of legacy relationships with suppliers—which has aided in alleviating shipping-related headaches.

“We are seeing delays. We have boxes caught up in shipping yards and we’ve had to make adjustments and bear things over and be more thoughtful,” Stumbaugh says.

Sustainability and social strategy: social first, mobile first

The accessories retailer established itself as an international brand when it launched in 2013 as a crowdfunded endeavor geared toward a younger professional demographic. Since then, MVMT has gained popularity in the U.S. due in large part to its storytelling through social media platforms, Stumbaugh says.

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“This was back when our marketing team consisted of three or four of us working out of a kitchen,” Stumbaugh says. “At that time, Instagram was still being figured out—there wasn’t a term called an ‘influencer.’”

Instead, MVMT was working with adventure-minded “ambassadors,” who appealed to MVMT’s target customers. MVMT’s presence on Instagram grew as its ambassadors traveled and posted adventurous photos with MVMT products.

Currently, MVMT integrates its products on Instagram by tagging them, allowing consumers to tap and be re-directed to buy from MVMT’s website without leaving the Instagram app. MVMT has a “fair amount of conversions” on social platforms, Stumbaugh says without revealing more.

Social media continues to be a driver for MVMT, and the brand is now focused on creating its marketing materials for social media and mobile devices. This is a switch from just six years ago, as back in 2015, 75% of MVMT’s orders were placed by customers using desktop computers, Stumbaugh says.

“We were optimizing our website and all our experiences for desktop,” he says. “Now it’s completely the other way around. The majority of our sales now come from mobile. We’re now thinking, social first, mobile first.”

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Currently, MVMT is working on how to best market to consumers on TikTok.

“It’s a lot harder to have these grassroots, organic movements because everyone is fully integrated with social media,” Stumbaugh says. “So, when TikTok came along, we saw it as a huge opportunity to be a little less polished.”

Stumbaugh says it’s the story behind MVMT’s products that appeal to shoppers. “We don’t want to just flip flop discounts to manage inventory,” he says. “We want to showcase products instead of being super promotional. We want to show the why behind why you should buy our beautiful ceramic watch made from high-tech ceramic.”

Showcasing products ranges from high production value videos complete with CGI technology, to point-and-shoot demonstrations filmed by someone using an iPhone, which has been particularly popular on TikTok.

“Our strategy this year has been to go to both ends of the spectrum and that’s what we’ve been seeing sell on TikTok from a marketing standpoint,” Stumbaugh says. “Can you really sell on TikTok? Is that really brand building? And we found that yes, it is.”

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Sustainability is also a pillar to it products lines, and MVMT also works to showcase these elements of its products. For example, MVMT’s new Ocean Plastic Line—which is helping to drive holiday sales this year—is a collaboration with Tide Ocean SA (#Tide), which upcycles plastic from the shores of South East Asia. Upcycling is defined as creative reuse, the process of transforming byproducts, waste materials, or otherwise unwanted products into new materials recognized as having higher artistic or environmental value.

#Tide is a Switzerland-based vendor that creates premium raw materials from ocean-bound plastic. The watches are solar powered and 1% of all revenue MVMT makes from these products goes to the Surfer Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans, beaches and waves, according to MVMT’s website.

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